Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Berlin, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller in front of the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin

Planet Wein and Schiller’s Top 3

Practically at the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin Mitte, in the Hilton Hotel building (on the side), there is a very good wine shop, Planet Wein, owned and run by Anja Schroeder and Matthias Martens. When I was in Berlin recently, Anja Schroeder confirmed what my impression were: There is a large number of wine bars in Berlin, but 3 of them - Rutz, Cordobar and Einstein – stand out.

Anja knows what she is talking about. Anja Schröder and her partner in live at the time Lars Rutz opened in 2000 Weinbar Rutz. Three years after the opening, Lars Rutz died of cancer. In 2005, Anja opened with her new partner in life Matthias Martens Planet Wein.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Anja Schröder at Planet Wein

Planet Wein is an excellent wine shop and also has some wine bar elements. There is space for 20 to 25 people, 4 to 5 wines are always open and you can order small bites. And you can order any bottle from the wine shop. Planet Wein closes at 8 pm. Thus, it is not a proper wine bar. Still, an excellent place for an aperitif before the Opera or to go into the internet with Planet Wein’s free WIFI during the day.

Schiller’s 3 Top Favorites

Rutz 

Mitte
Chausseestraße 8 10115 Berlin

Whenever I am in Berlin, I try to stop at the Rutz Weinbar and enjoy their outstanding wines. Rutz Weinbar is not only a top wine bar—it is also a top restaurant and a top wine store, but I go there for the wine bar.

Rutz Weinbar has an extensive wine list, about 800 or so wines, largely from Germany and other European countries. About half of them are Riesling wines.

You can also eat at the bar from the exciting bar menu; I love the “Rinderroulade”—a German specialty. The kitchen and the main part of the restaurant, including an outside deck, are on the second floor. The restaurant is one of the best in Berlin.

One of the pillars of Weinbar Rutz, Sommelier Billy Wagner, has announced that he will leave Weinbar Rutz in early 2014 to open his own place in Berlin.

See:
Weinbar Rutz and Restaurant Hot Spot, both in Berlin, Germany, on the Newsweek List of 101 Best Places to Eat in the World, 2012 
Billy Wagner Invited to the 10th Bottle Party at Wein Bar Rutz in Berlin

Pictures: Rutz Sommelier Billy Wagner Pouring

Cordobar

Mitte
Großen Hamburger Str. 32

Cordobar opened in September 2013. It serves excellent wines and is a good place for a light dinner. It is owned by four friends - two Austrians and two Germans. Two of them are well known Sommeliers. The restaurant takes its name from the legendary 1978 football game between West Germany and Austria, referred to as the Miracle of Cordoba; it was the first time in 47 years that Austria defeated Germany. Its excellent wine list contains only top German and Austrian wines from about 40 producers.

Picture: Cordobar

Weinstein

Prenzlauer Berg
Lychenerstr. 33

A well known wine institution in Berlin. Roy Metzdorf opened Weinstein - German for the harmless crystals of tartaric acid precipitated in some wine bottles - in 1993.

The only 2 German wine journalists, who have a weekly column (Stuart Pigott in the FAZ and Manfred Klimeck in the WELT), both like to go there. Nick Lander (Financial Times), the husband of Jancis Robinson, had a long column in the Financial Times about Weinstein

The wine list includes about 200 wines. Popular is also the "Prix Fixe Menü" for Euro 22, with 3 courses and 2 wines.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Manfred Klimeck at Weinstein, with Marc Metzdorf

Schiller’s Other Favorites

Mitte

Habel Weinkultur

Mitte
Luisenstrasse 17

Wine store (500 wines) and bistro located under the arches of an S-bahn station. The wine store below the restaurant was a concept that was begun by Johann Simon Habel, who created the first Habel Wine cellar in 1779 for Frederick the Great. Today, his descendants run the Habel Weinkultur. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, all of which comprise of local specialties. This is where you are sure to find some German politicians, artists and economists having discussions over a meal.

Les Climats

Mitte
Hannoversche Strasse 1

An unpretentious wine shop and bar focusing on wines from the Bourgogne. Owner Roland Kretschmer: “It is the ambition of Les Climats to represent a full range of Burgundy ́s diverse appellations, sourced from the growers through individual visits and imported directly from Burgundy to Berlin. This personal approach penetrates the professional philosophies of Burgundy ́s hundreds of family based wine growers and négociants, while at the same time offering the customer a very attractive pricing structure.” Les Climats serves several wines by the glass, small snacks and meals. A suitable accompaniment for your evening tipple is, for example, a plate of cheese (three to five raw-milk French cheeses) or charcuterie (cured ham from Morvan, rillettes, Rosette de Lyon, etc) arranged in various plates.

Rebkeller

Mitte
Zionskirchstr.16, Tram M1, 12 Zionskirchplatz

Cosy, small wine bar in the basement. Small menu for a light dinner. Sunday morning from 11:00 to 13:00 champagne breakfast.

Maxim Weinbar

Mitte
Gormannstrasse 25 10119 Berlin

Recommended by Paul Truszkowski – new place. New Winebar in town: Maxim - Vins Naturel & Charcuterie with a supreme #cheese selection #berlin #wine #winebar. Vins + Cochonneries.

Kreuzberg

Hammers

Kreuzberg
Körtestraße 20 10967 Berlin

Stuart Pigott: Before Hammers’ Weinkostbar opened in 2007 as a purveyor of wine and sundries, the location was a butcher shop. An 80 year-old “Fleischerei” sign still hangs above the door and, apart from adding a little of that Kreuzberg character to the place, it also seems to suggest that when you enter Hammer’s you are to treat it like a respectable neighborhood butchers. This may seem out of place for a wine-bar, but Hammers, like your local butcher, doesn’t want to be considered fancy. Instead, it would like local residents to view it as an easy place to drop in, have a chat, a glass of wine and a little snack. The Hammers motto is “Unkompliziert und Kompetent,” or, Uncomplicated and Competent.” And if they served beer, this model would be simple for Berliners to understand. The city is chock full of cozy little bars where you can stop in at the end of your work day, sidle up to your usual table, and leisurely enjoy a pint and the evening paper before heading home. But wine—no matter how easy it is to access, and no matter how cheap—still carries connotations of wealth and social snobbery.

Enter Jurgen Hammer in his Levis, work boots and zip-up sweater. He looks as far from snobby as one can get and that look, along with his very casual approach to customers, immediately puts people at ease. I entered the bar on a Monday at 6 p.m. and was greeted by Jurgen, his wife and business partner Manuela, and the gruff crooning of Johnny Cash. I felt immediately as if I’d found my bar.

One of the best things about Hammers is their selection of Spatburgunder, which translates directly to “Late Burgundy” but which is more famously referred to as Pinot Noir. The bar sells t-shirts emblazoned with the message, “es ist nie so früh für spätburgunder,” or “it is never to early for Late Burgundy,” and they even sell a house-blended Frühburgunder, a close cousin to Pinot Noir, which ripens earlier than the classic varietal. I drank a glass of the 2008 Hammer’s Frühburgunder Trocken Gutsabfullung, which was grown in the Nahe region and then blended by Jurgen Hammer himself. The result is just stupendous table wine, a term that I’m sure connotes lesser quality, but which I am using to denote a preferred daily wine. I drank a glass along with a little Wurststulle (a simple sausage sandwich on brown bread with lots of spicy mustard).

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Stuart Pigott in Washington DC

That a man like Jurgen Hammer—who sports a large tattoo with the words “Riesling Rules” on his right arm—should become a player in the German wine scene, is a testament to the wine revolution taking place in this country. This year, Jurgen will become the director of the Berlin branch of the German wine and Sommelier school (Hammer@weinschule-b.com) and I’m sure his approach, though no less knowledgeable, will differ greatly from his predecessors.

Noer Weinhandel und Bar

Kreuzberg
Falckensteinstrasse 10

Wine store and wine bar. 100 wines at favorable prices. A rather basic, fun place.

ottorink Weinbar

Kreuzberg
Dresdner Straße 124 10999 Berlin
U1, 8 Kottbusser Tor, Mo.-Sbd. 18-o.e

A relatively new wine bar, owned and run by winemaker and Chef Andreas Rink and named after his grandfather Otto Rink. 50 to 80 top (and changing) wines are written on a large blackboard, which can all be ordered by the glass. In addition, Andreas has another 100 bottles or so in the cellar. The red wine selection is dominated by France and Italy. The food menu includes a cheese plate, antipasti, etc. for a light dinner.

Die Legende von Paula und Ben 

Kreuzberg
Gneisenaustrasse 58 10961 Berlin

In this great bar cocktails are made to traditional recipes using only the finest ingredients. Wine lovers will be impressed by their selection of red, white and sparkling wines available by the glass or the bottle. Paula and Ben allows smoking on the premises and has a pretty decent cigar list so if you are sensitive to smoke you should either go early or perhaps find another bar.

Comes highly recommended for wines by the German Wine Blogger Philipp Erik Breitenfeld (Direttore).

not only riesling

Kreuzberg
Schleiermacher Strasse 25 10961 Berlin

Wine store cum wine bar.

Neukoelln

Vin Aqua Vin 

Neukoelln
Weserstr. 207, 12047 Berlin

Stuart Pigott: Jan Kreuzinger may only be 31, but he possesses just the right mix of arrogance and drinker’s belly to survive in the Berlin weinladen market. I stopped into his recently opened Neukölln shop, Vin Aqua Vin, on a warm Saturday this August, lured by the giant rough-hewn wood table that can be seen from the street, laden with wine and glasses, as if it were suggesting to potential customers the casual and rustic qualities of wine itself.

Kreuzinger truly believes that wine is no big deal and a very big deal at the same time. Born in Cologne and raised by a solidly middle-class family that encouraged their children to really enjoy food and wine, Jan moved to Berlin 7 years ago with stars in his eyes and very expensive knives in his knife-fold. He worked as a chef and consultant at Kirk Royal, taught cooking classes at Goldhagn and Sampson, and continues to organize small dinners at the Private Roof Club in Mitte. But, as many would-be Berlin chefs quickly come to realize, the potential for creating a culinary atmosphere that embodies the elegance of fine-dining with a price tag that suits most of Berlin’s residents, is actually really hard. Restaurants are usually owned by uptight assholes that want to preserve very old notions of class, and young chefs, like Kreuzinger, are constantly being told to adhere to the status quo.

So Kreuzinger changed tracks and began working full-time at die Weinerei, Berlin’s famous ‘honor-system’ wine-bar, where really good bottles are drunk thoughtlessly by Australian tourists itching to get as drunk as possible for as little as possible. It was there that Kreuzinger learned some very valuable lessons about wine and how to sell it to a younger demographic.

Prenzlauer Berg

Sorsi e Morsi

Prenzlauer Berg
Marienburger Str. 10

“Love this place... Great wines, cosy atmosphere and loads of wonderful people. And Johnny, the owner... just one of a kind.”

Tiergarten

Mesa im Grand Hyatt Berlin 

Tiergarten
Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 2, S1, 2, 25, U2 Potsdamer Platz

Mesa is an official Riesling Lounge of the German Wine Institute. Very good selection of wines of German elite winemakers.

Schöneberg

WeinGut

Schöneberg
Vorbergstr. 10a, U7 Eisenacher Str.

Restaurant and Wine Bar. The Weinbar works closely with Weinhandlung Goltz23, which focuses on small producers. Many wines are from the Pfalz. The daily changing food menu focuses on seasonal and regional products.

Charlottenburg

Weinstube Garage

Charlottenburg
Damaschkestr. 8-10, Charlottenburg, U7 Adenauerplatz

Formerly a car repair shop, the Weinstube Garage offers 12 wines by the glass and a range of wines by the bottle at reasonable prices, ranging from Saale Unstrut Riesling to Malbec from Argentina. In addition, there is an open kitchen which offers dishes like “Rinderroulade mit Staudensellerie” (14,50 Euro) from a daily changing menu.

Wilmersdorf

Lage 93 

Wilmersdorf
Lietzenburger Str. 93, U1 Uhlandstr., U7 Adenauerplatz

A modern-style wine bar cum bistro with a large wine list. Many of the wines, but not all, are sourced from the Moewenpick wine store next door. 30 wines are available by the glass.

Lage 93 calls itself Winebar and Restaurant. The food menu is limited but you can have a full (and very good) dinner there.

Kurpfalz Weinstuben

Wilmersdorf
Wilmersdorfer Str. 93

Stuart Pigott: Anyone of you who come to Berlin are strongly recommended to visit the Kurpfalz Weinstuben, not only because it has the best traditional German cooking in the city (be prepared for pork, although there are other things on the menu), but also because of the great selection of mature Rieslings on the list for friendly prices. For example, the now perfectly mature, super-elegant 2002 Berg Schlossberg Riesling from Georg Beeuer costs just under Euro 45 there! That’s also the result of a lifetime’s work dedicated to German Riesling, in this case by Rainer Schultz who’s been running the Kurpfalz Weinstuben since 1975. I don’t think he could live without running this wonderful place, but must be over 70 now, so you wonder how much longer he’s going to keep doing it. My advice is simple: HURRY TO BERLIN!

Stuart Pigott: The Kurpfalz Weinstuben is one of the world’s best wine restaurants and a very good reason to travel to Berlin (like I just did).

Nick Lander (Financial Times): Built in 1898, it is basically a series of dark, panelled intimate chambers - although there is an outdoor terrace in the warmer months - with simple wooden furniture, pegs for coats and historic memorabilia in every corner. It is the kind of setting that inspires comfort and good conversation. And that is even before the menu and two wine lists have arrived.

A Berliner described Schulz's food as 'the kind of food every German child grows up with, but it's rarely as well cooked as this'. As the menu hardly strays from this model, other than to incorporate Stilton cheese and port because of Schulz's former years working with a British club in Hamburg, it is a magnet for Germans, lured by the ham he imports from south Tyrol; venison brawn and sausage; and his excellent rendition of saumagen, ie pork mixed with herbs and wrapped in a sow's stomach lining (rather like haggis). The casing can easily be left but not the home-made sauerkraut.

The wine lists will attract any enthusiast. One simple card, about half a metre in length, lists the large range of wines by the glass, while the more formal wine list sets out the best from around the world and numerous, mature German wines from the most highly rated producers.”

Steglitz

Chateauneuf

Steglitz
Curtiusstrasse 12 12205 Berlin

Wine bar and wine store. Since 2009 meeting point for lovers of French wines. The wine list includes 40 or so wines, mainly from the Rhone area and the South of France. All wines by the glass and bottle. In addition, there is a small French food menu.

Wine Writer Ralf Kaiser … Berlin

Ralf Kaiser issued these comments on Foursquare recently:

Grill Royal: Steaks sehen und gesehen warden
First Floor: Sterne Kueche und Weinbegleitung von einem der besten Sommeliers Deutschlands
Weinstein: Reife Weine
Cordobar: Bestes Angebot an offenen Weinen
Rutz: Weinbar mit Sternerestaurant im 1. Stock
Hot Spot: Sensationelle Weinkarte

Wine Writer Manfred Klimeck … Berlin

Wine bar is of course a narrow concept and there are a number of good restaurants which shine in particular – or also – because of their wine list. Royal Grill and Pauly Saal are Manfred Klimeck’s favorite places.

Weinwelt .... Berlin

The latest issue of the German Wine Journal Weinwelt includes a list of Berlin Wine Bars: Rutz, Cordobar, Hanmers, ottorink, Lage 93, Vin Aqua Vin, Not Only Riesling.

Schiller’s Favorites

This posting is part of the Schiller’s favorites series.

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Berlin, Germany

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in New York City, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Seattle, USA

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Washington DC, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Restaurants, Brasseries, Bistros, Cafes and Wine Bars in Paris, France

Schiller’s Favorite Crab Houses in the Washington DC Region, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in New York City, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in London, UK

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars and Other Wine Spots in Vienna, Austria

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in San Francisco, USA

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux (City), France

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Budapest, Hungary

Schiller’s 12 Favorite Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Schiller’s Favorite Spots to Drink Wine in Vienna, Austria (2011)

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Mainz, Germany

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars and Other Places Where You Can Have a Glass of Wine in Healdsburg, California  

schiller-wine: Related Postings

18 US Distillers at Bar Convent Berlin 2013, Germany

Weinbar Rutz and Restaurant Hot Spot, both in Berlin, Germany, on the Newsweek List of 101 Best Places to Eat in the World, 2012

Billy Wagner Invited to the 10th Bottle Party at Wein Bar Rutz in Berlin

10 comments:

  1. Hi, I would just like to thank you for such a great list of wineplaces in Berlin. I went there on my own two weeks ago and printed this list to try some good wineplaces. I have now found two new favorites of red wine, as I visited Rutz. Such a great place and tasty beef tartare. I also loved Ottorink for its cozyness and great whites and tasty cheese- and meatplatter. Thank you again.

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  2. Star Sommelier Billy Wagner recommends: Maxime Boillat, Jürgen Hammer, Andreas Rink (November 2014)

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  3. Michael Rauscher Nett ist auch "Briemarken - Weine", eine italienische Weinbar in der Karl-Marx-Allee 99 (U Weberwiese), mit tollen Weinen, die man nicht unbedingt auf dem Radar hat. Hammers Weinkostbar kann ich bestätigen und auch Otto Rink in der Dresdner Straße 200 m vom Kottbusser Tor ist zu empfehlen.

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  4. Billy Wagner's excellent recommendations: http://punchdrink.com/articles/the-best-places-to-drink-wine-in-berlin/

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  5. Wine Retailer GD from Ffm went here: Maxim Bar a Vin, Schmidt Z & Ko, KDW, Planet Wein, Cordobar, Weinstein, Weinladen Schmidt, Konopke (Currywurst) - good selection.

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  6. Recommendations for Wolfgang Fassbender on facebook (restaurants): Martha, Horvath, Bandol, Trois Minutes and the wine bar (new): Thal Weinbar

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  7. Martin Tesch, Weingut Tesch: There is a new wine bar in KaDeWe Feinschmeckerabteilung

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  8. Willi Igel Es fehlt Lavida am Gendarmenmarkt. Rutz finde ich weniger gut, weil unseriös, da versucht das Personal dauernd, den Gästen überteuertes Zeug aufzuschwatzen. Weinstein natürlich genial! Planet Wein - einigermaßen gutes Sortiment aber schwache Probeabende. Probier auch mal die Briefmarkenweine in der Marx-Allee! Menü im Weinstein gibt es in der Form nicht mehr.

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  9. Stuart Pigott's recommendation (published in Der Feinschmecker) http://www.manager-magazin.de/lifestyle/genuss/stuart-pigott-der-weinkritiker-ueber-seine-lieblingsbars-in-berlin-a-1066078.html

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  10. Falstaff July 2016 https://www.falstaff.de/nd/top-10-der-besten-weinbars-in-berlin/

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