Pictures: Mainz Cathedral and Christian G.E. Schiller with Mainz Winemakers (from left to right) Eva Vollmer, Tina Huff and Mirjam Schneider
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Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Mainz, Germany
Mainz in the wine region Rheinhessen in Germany is, along with Bilbao in Spain, Bordeaux in France, Cape Town in South Africa, Christchurch in New Zealand, Firenza in Italy, Mendoza in Argentina, Porto in Portugal and San Francisco in the US, one of the 9 wine capitals in the world.
But there is not a single wine bar in Mainz, as I know them from London, New York City, Berlin or Washington DC. However, there are a large number of wine taverns in Mainz. Typically, wine taverns do not have an elaborated list of wines, nor do they serve fancy and sophisticated food. They serve local wines, at very reasonable prices, typically from a handful of local winemakers that you do not find in the wine guides such as the Gault Millau.
My favorite Wine Tavern: Weinhaus Bluhm
Starting with the setting and atmosphere, Weinhaus Bluhm is a dark, a bit smoky, very basic tavern. It looks today the same as it looked when I first set foot into the Weinhaus Bluhm as a student of macro-economics at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. The furniture is functional, used, a bit worn down. Weinhaus Bluhm offers a feeling of well-being and it has a lot of charm. In the summer, you can sit on the cobble stone road outside the tavern on communal benches. It cannot get better. The food at Weinhaus Bluhm is simple and good. It does not reach out for some sophistication, as some of the other wine taverns do. It stays at the more basic range, but at the highest quality level.
Pictures: Weinhaus Bluhm - Roland Ladendorf and Christian G.E. Schiller
When it comes to the wines, however, Weinhaus Bluhm really stands out. It is a class of itself. Nowhere else in a wine tavern in Mainz, you can get wines of German wine stars like Weingut Klaus Peter Keller or Weingut Kruger Rumpf or Weingut Teschke. Owner and Manager Roland Ladendorf is a wine aficionado and extremely knowledgeable about the wine scene. And what is most important, you can get a fair number of his world class wines by the glass.
Other Wine Taverns I Like
Beichtstuhl: The food is rather sophisticated by wine tavern standards. The wine list contains 30 wines by the bottle or the glass, of which 6 are red wines. These are typically very decent entry level wines, ideal for a couple of glasses in a wine tavern with some good hearty food. Almost all wines are dry and from Rheinhessen. I have reported about the Beichstuhl here.
Spiegel: Has mainly wines from Weingut Ernst in Eltville, Rheingau, on its menu. The food is rather uncomplicated and good.
Loesch: Known for its excellent steak. Good, basic wines. My former assistant goes there every Tuesday evening for her “Stammtisch”. Just opposite: Weinhaus Michel. Weinstube Bacchus next door has turned into a French Bistro.
Augustinerkeller: In the basement, with a bit of a wine cellar atmosphere. Historical vaulted cellar, 100 seats available.
Hottum: I used to love their egg and ham sandwich with mayonnaise (Eibrot), but it is no longer on the menu. Open also on Monday, when many wine taverns are closed. One of the best of the Altstadt wine taverns, Hottum has a cosy, traditional atmosphere, delectable wines and a menu - half of which appears on a tiny slate tablet - with regional dishes such as Saumagen (pig's stomach stuffed with meat, potatoes and spices, then boiled, sliced and briefly fried) and Winzersteak (vintner-style pork steak).
Specht: Thanks to its ancient wood beams, smoked walls and Fastnacht (carnival) medals, 'Woodpecker' has a 19th-century feel, though the building itself dates from 1557. It serves German and regional cuisine made with fresh products from the nearby market.
Weinhaus Wilhelmi: Mainz's oldest - and very popular - wine bar.
Weinhaus Schreiner: A rather large and well known wine tavern with a broad selection of wines, on the main road close to the Rhein river.
Deutsche Riesling Lounge in Hofgut Laubenheimer Höhe: Not a traditional wine tavern. A new place, a bit outside of the city of Mainz that offers various flights of wines from Mainz, Rheinhessen, Germany and the Great Wine Capitals.
Geberts Weinstube: A fine dining restaurant. Popular for its excellent, typical regional cuisine and its extensive wine list.
Bootshaus: The second restaurant of Michelin star chef Frank Buchholz. While at his Restaurant Buchholz in Mainz Gonsenheim, Frank Buchholz cooks at the highest level, the Bootshaus is a more basic place, wonderfully located right at the Rhine river, with good regional wines.
Restaurant des Weinguts der Stadt Mainz in Harxheim: Excellent food and wines in ane old mansion dating from 1725. Local products with game and poultry are just as much the focus of attention as the wines from Weingut Fleischer and Weingut der Stadt Mainz; the Fleischer family has long-term leased the Weingut der Stadt Mainz.
There are about 2 dozens of winemakers in Mainz. Many of them have a Strausswirtschaft, where they offer the wines of the winery and homecooking 4 months a year (or longer). They are located in the suburbs or rural areas directly adjacent to Mainz City, often right where the vines grow.
The top winemaker of Mainz is without doubt Weingut Fleischer/Weingut der Stadt Mainz. In particular the red wines of Michael Fleischer are remarkable. Following are two young women, who are good friends. Eva Vollmer of Weingut Vollmer, Gault Millau Discovery of the Year 2010, and Mirjam Schneider, who runs Weingut Lothar Schneider und Tochter. I have reported about Eva here and Mirjam here.
Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Eva Vollmer, Michael Fleischer,and Mirjam Schneider
Marktfruehstueck on Saturday Morning
A good place to get to know the winemakers of Mainz is the Mainz Farmer's Market Breakfast on Saturday morning. There, during the warmer months of the year, the winemakers of Mainz have a booth where one of them presents his or her wine. Even with unpleasant weather conditions, there is always a large crowd hanging out for a couple of hours after having done the food shopping on the farmer’s market.
Two Producers of Sparkling Wines
Germans enjoy sparkling wine, both as whites and rosés. Mainz hosts two of Germany’s producers, Goldhand in Walpodenstrasse 3; and, the highly ornate, fin-du-siècle Kupferberg Cellars on the Kupferbergterrasse.
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