Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hattenheim (Germany) Goes Stellenbosch (South Africa): Howzit Shiraz

Pictures: Paul Barth, Mark P. Barth and Alexander Jung with 2011 Howzit Shiraz at The Ivory Club in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Howzit is slang in South Africa (and Hawaii) for: hello - what's up? It is a contraction of "how is it”.

Howzit is also the name of a new wine – a Shiraz – made by 4 men from South Africa and Germany in Stellenbosch in South Africa. The first vintage, 2011, is now ready for sale and was introduced to the German market (and the world market) at a steak dinner at The Ivory Club in Frankfurt, one of Frankfurt’s current “in” restaurants.

Paul Barth, Mark P. Barth, Alexander Jung and Jacques Fourie

Present were 3 of the 4 men: Owner Paul Barth and winemakers Mark Barth and Alexander Jung. The latter two are up-and-coming winemakers from the Rheingau, who have both some work experience in South Africa and are “the next generation” of two well-established family-owned and -run wineries in Hattenheim. Obviously, their involvement in the actual production of Howzit Shiraz in South Africa has to be limited. The main – and fourth - protagonist is based in Stellenbosch: seasoned vintner Jacques Fourie, “a laid-back South African who has worked for well-known wineries such as Delaire or Wildekrans”, according to Paul Barth. His philosophy is simple: "Never forget that winemaking is working with the senses i.e. look, small, taste, fee, and listen."

Pictures: Paul Barth, Mark P. Barth and Alexander Jung with 2011 Howzit Shiraz at The Ivory Club in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Fabulous Steak Dinner at the Trendy The Ivory Club in Frankfurt am Main

For the German premier of the Howzit Shiraz, we were treated to an outstanding wine dinner, at a very special restaurant. As starters, we had such delicacies as “Spicy Pakora Prawns” and “Tuna Tartar with Raita-Egg”, to name 2 of the 5 fabulous starters, accompanied by wines of Mark Barth and Alexander Jung made in Hattenheim, including the Weingut Jakob Jung, 2010 Erbacher Siegelsberg Riesling Erstes Gewächs and the Wein- and Sektgut Barth 2011 Riesling Singularis (aged in barrique).

For the main course, we had a choice of meat. What else at the Howzit premier? In choosing between Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand, Prime Rib Eye Steak and New York Strip Sirloin, I ordered the New York Strip Sirloin. And of course, the wine accompanying the meat was the Kap Vino Estate 2011 Howzit Shiraz.

Picture: New York Strip Sirloin and Kap Vino Estate 2011 Howzit Shiraz

Paul Barth: You prefer dry-aged prime rib to tofu sausages? You read Playboy instead of Vogue? And your steak comes from an open fire and not out of a microwave? If you answer these questions with a straight forward „Yes!“ then Howzit is going to be your wine of choice.

I liked very much the initial intense fruity flavors of the 2011 Howzit Shiraz that gave way to spicy peppery notes after you had it in the mouth for a few seconds. The 2011 Howzit Shiraz is a very drinkable, enjoyable wine. Sometimes, Shiraz can be on the fat, thick side, but this one is not. It was a perfect match for my steak.

We finished the dinner with dessert. I picked the Ivory Mousse au Chocolat and stayed with the 2011 Howzit Shiraz. It went very well with the chocolate mousse. Alternatively, Alex poured his Weingut Jakob Jung 2013 Erbach Michelmark Riesling Spätlese, but I preferred the Shiraz.

Picture: Ivory Mousse au Chocolat and Kap Vino Estate 2011 Howzit Shiraz

The Ivory Club

The Indian-fusion restaurant The Ivory Club markets itself as ‘contemporary colonial cuisine’, and serves a wide range of variations on traditional dishes from the ‘sword of fire’, a marinated beef skewer, to the ‘booombastic Bombay blast’, which is a chicken curry with ginger. They also offer a number of steak dishes, such as the ‘Ivory Club Signature Cow’, a prime filet which the restaurant has dubbed the ‘best in the world’. The dark wood décor gives the feeling of a gentleman’s club to the interior, while the ornamental, carved elephant’s heads refer back to the restaurant’s colonial theme. This is an unusual find in downtown Frankfurt which is frequented by a diverse and international clientele.

Pictures: The Ivory Club

Kap Vino Estate and Paul Barth

Paul Barth is a cousin of Norbert Barth, the father-in-law of Mark P. Barth. While his cousin established one of Germany’s leading wineries – Wein- und Sektgut Barth – Paul Barth established a leading construction company in the area.

Over recent years he has been dreaming of his own winery in South Africa – his second home. And his dream came true. He is now owner of a wine estate in Stellenbosch, Kap Vino Estate. Surrounded by rugged mountains Paul grows 100% Shiraz vines on his 3 hectars vineyard. Overall, the Shiraz vineyard area in South Africa has increased substantially over the past years and now accounts for more than 10% of the total.

Pictures: Paul Barth, Mark P. Barth and Alexander Jung

Besides Jacques Fourie, Paul also teamed up with two German winemakers to create an outstanding intercontinental wine. Mark Barth und Alexander Jung belong to Germany’s young vintner elite. They love South Africa and its exceptional wines. Both have made South African wine before during internships. At home, in Germany’s Rheingau region both of them produce outstanding Riesling, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. They are involved in Howzit’s winemaking process. Furthermore they are presenting Howzit to the German market.

2011 Howzit Shiraz in Germany

The wines are currently available in Germany through Mark Barth and Alexander Jung.

Euro 15.90 per bottle.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Alexander Jung at the Weingut Jakob Jung

Picture: With Mark P. Barth, Sekt- and Weingut Norbert Barth

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