Monday, October 8, 2012

The Bistronomics Cuisine of Chef Christoph Kubenz and the Wines of Winemaker Christian Stahl at Restaurant schauMahl in Frankfurt, Germany

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Christian Stahl and Chef Christoph Kubenz

Sommelier and Maitre d’Hotel Pit Punda invited to a winemaker dinner at Restaurant schauMahl in Offenbach (near Frankfurt am Main) in Germany. This evening was a very special one, for at least 2 reasons.

First, Christian Stahl is Falstaff Winemaker Newcomer of the Year 2012. See here: Best German Wines and Winemakers - Falstaff Deutschland Wine Trophies 2012

Second, schauMahl offers what is now being called bistronomics cuisine – rather sophisticated cooking in a basic bistro-like atmosphere.

Winemaker Christian Stahl

Winzerhof Stahl is located in Auernhofen in the Franken wine area. Winemaking is only a recent activity in the Stahl family. Until the mid-1980s, Winzerhof Stahl did not exist. The Stahl family was doing farming and did not make any wine. Christian’s father then decided to acquire vineyards and to shift to winemaking.

Pictures: Annette Schiller (Ombiasy Wine Tours) and Christian Stahl

Today, the vineyard area totals 25 hectares, including 10 hectares under a long term lease contract. Winzerhof Stahl also includes a wine tavern/restaurant with 200 seats.

Christian has been in charge of Winzerhof Stahl since 2005. He started his education at Weingut Stein in Würzburg (apprenticeship), then spent some time with the biodynamic winemaker Jakob-Peter Kühn in the Rheingau and finished his studies with a Diploma at the Geisenheim University.

Winzerhof Stahl Wine Classification and Wine Portfolio

Christian Stahl belongs to the group of German winemakers, who go their own way in terms of classifying and naming their wines. Also, he does not sell his wines in the traditional Bocksbeutel bottle, as most of his colleagues do in Franken, but in regular bottles, as in the rest of Germany. Right from the beginning when he took over, he has been using screw caps only. He also produces brandies and liqueurs.

Picture: The Stahl Family (facebook)

With regard to classifying his wines, Christian disregards the German (standard) classification of 1971 and markets all his wines as Qualitaetswein b.A. But he is not in the group of winemakers, who have instead adopted the VDP approach to classify their wines. He has developed his own, innovative classification system, playing with his name Stahl (= steel).

Christian Stahl groups his wines into 3 categories:

Top: Edelstahl (= precious steel)
Middle: Damaszener Stahl
Entry: Feder Stahl

Also, Christian rejects the terroir principle. You will never find a vineyard name on his bottles. Instead he gives his wines colorful names, such as Literweise (by the liter), Rauschgift (drugs) and  Rosenrot (red like a rose).

Bistronomics Cuisine

Bistronomics food is generally referred to as high-end cuisine served at reasonable prices in a nice bistro-style outlet. A smart mix of economy, variety and seasonality. In Paris, bistronomics include Frenchie, Saturne, Le Chateaubriand, Rino, Yam’Tcha*, La Bigarrade** and Passage 53**. Some of them are even starred. Le Chateaubriand is on the famous San Pellegrino list, but at Le Chateubriand the five-course mystery menu is still at Euro 45. In Frankfurt, André Rickert at Weinsinn and Christoph Kubenz at schauMahl are showcasing bistronomic food.


Situated in a renovated Art Nouveau building, the interior of the restaurant schauMahl combines a cozy living room atmosphere with the world of One Thousand and One Nights, coupled with modern illumination. Intensive red light is coming out of a white corner. There are brick walls and furniture in a colonial style. In the window niche is a Buddha.

Pictures: schauMahl

Pit Punda

Host Pit Punda is well known in the Frankfurt gastro scene from his day at Emma Metzler, Cyrano and Zarges. I glanced at the wine list: About 100 bottles, mainly German and Spanish wines.

Pictures: Pit Punda

Christop Kubenz 

Christoph Kubenz is an Amador disciple. His cooking  - or better plating – is obviously influenced by Amador in that dishes are plated in a precise and transparent manner to let the main product be in focus.

Pictures: Christoph Kubenz and Christian G.E. Schiller

Christoph Kubenz is among the best chefs in town. These include Valery Mathis at Erno’s Bistro, Patrick Bittner at Francais, Mario Lohninger at Lohninger, Carmelo Greco at Carmelo Greco, Matthias Schmidt at Villa Merton, Uwe Weber at Emma Metzler and Andre Rickert at Weinsinn.

The Dinner

Aperitif - feder Stahl prickelnd

Greetings from the Chef

Lachs, Aubergine Ponzu

2011 Damaszener Stahl – Pinot Cuvee (Grauburgunder + Weissburgunder)

Poulet, Brokkoli Melone

2011 Edelstahl Riesling

Adlerfisch mit Mirabelle

2011 Damaszener Stahl – Herrschaftsberg Mueller Thurgau

Kalbstafelspitz, Erbse Zwiebel Kartoffel

Edelstahl Silvaner Best of 2011

Tete de Moine, Blaubeere, Parmesan
Johannisbeere, Lavendel Rosa Pfeffer

2011 Scheu im Heu (Sonderfuellung Roy Metzdorf, Berlin)

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