Friday, August 31, 2012

Drinking RS Rheinhessen Silvaner - and other Wines of Weingut Alwin Schmitz - with Alwin Schmitz - and other Members of the Mainzer Weingilde - at Weingut Alwin Schmitz in Mainz, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller, Alwin Schmitz and Bertram Verch, President of Weingilde Mainz

A few weeks ago, when I was in Germany, I was able to participate in one of the monthly or so events of the Weingilde Mainz, which is a wine brotherhood in Mainz, Germany. This time, we did a vineyard walk and then stopped at Weingut Alwin Schmitz, where we had dinner, with wines of Weingut Alwin Schmitz. One of the wines we had was RS Rheinhessen Silvaner.

Weinrallye #54 Region im Glass – Region in the Glass

This posting is being published as part of the Weinrallye, a monthly blog event in Germany. Participating wine bloggers - mainly in Germany - are all releasing postings today under the heading “Region im Glass – Region in the Glass”. Weinrallye is the brainchild of Thomas Lippert, a winemaker and wine blogger based in Heidelberg, Germany. The first wine rally took place in 2007. Thomas Lippert is the author of the wine blog Winzerblog.

This month's wine rally is organized by the Weinreich Blog, which is run by the Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH,  an institution that is charged with promoting the wine “Land” Rheinland-Pfalz. Six of Germany’s 13 wine regions are located in this State: Pfalz, Rheinhessen, Nahe, Mittelrhein, Mosel and Ahr, which combined account for 70 percent of German wine production.


Rheinhessen is the largest viticultural region in Germany. Every fourth bottle of German wine comes from Rheinhessen. About one third of Rheinhessen’s agricultural area is cultivated with vines, more than 26000 hectares. The high-yielder Mueller-Thurgau accounts for about 1/5 of the vineyards, and Silvaner and Dornfelder both for 1/10. Riesling is on the backburner. Unlike in other German wine regions, where monoculture of the vine is the norm, here the many rolling hills are host to a wide variety of crops grown alongside the grape. Rheinhessen also has the rather dubious honor of being considered the birthplace of Liebfraumilch.

Pictures: In the Vineyards of Rheinhessen with Bertram Verch, where the Weingilde Mainz has its own vineyard, which is under the supervision of Eva Vollmer. See:"Winemaker Eva Vollmer is Germany’s Discovery of the Year 2010" and "International Women's Day 2012: Meeting the Wine Amazones Tina Huff, Mirjam Schneider and Eva Vollmer of Mainz, Germany"

At the same time, Rheinhessen is at this time among Germany’s most interesting wine regions. A lot is happening there. This is not because of the terroir, but because of the people. There is an increasing group of young, ambitious and dynamic winemakers who want to produce and indeed do produce outstanding wine and not wines in large quantities.


The absolute classic among Rheinhessen's white wine varieties has been cultivated in Germany for over 350 years. Silvaner is a cross between Traminer x Österreich-Weiß. The first Silvaner vines in Germany were planted in Castell am Steigerwald. Not long after that they were found all throughout the country, and in the middle of the last century every second vine was a Silvaner - owing to its secure yields and reliability. For more than a century Rheinhessen has been the largest cultivation area for Silvaner in the world, with around 2,500 hectares.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Alwin Schmitz 

There is no „typical“ Silvaner, but rather a lot of room for innovation with various styles: fine filigree variations from stainless steel tanks and full-bodied, aromatic-creamy wines from large wooden barrels. Silvaner is a part of Rheinhessen's identity and is being increasingly taken up by its young and innovative vintners. With reduced yields and careful winemaking it really brings out the individual characteristics of whatever soil it grows in.

The RS Rheinhessen Silvaner

The RS Rheinhessen Silvaner is a kind of a brand that was created in the mid 1980 with a view of promoting Silvaner and Rheinhessen. It is supposed to be an expression of a Silvaner made in Rheinhessen. The wine has a clearly defined taste profile – it is a 100% Silvaner QbA with no more than 4 grams/liter residual sugar and a minimum acidity of 5 grams/liter. The RS Rheinessen Silvaner production is subject to strict quality controls.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller, Alwin Schmitz, another member of the Weingilde Mainz and Bertram Verch, President of Weingilde Mainz

The following wine producers currently make RS Rheinhessen Silvaner. They all use the same labels.

Arndt F. Werner – Ingelheim
Hubert Schreiber – Gundheim
Stefan Leber – Mainz-Hechtsheim
Anton Escher – Gau-Bischofsheim
Thorsten Eller – Oppenheim
Albert Ackermann – Harxheim
Roland Doll – Stadecken-Elsheim
Dominik Merl – Großwinternheim
Matthias Bungert – Ockenheim
Manuel Engelhard – Hillesheim
Hans-Jürgen Dexheimer – Saulheim
Alwin Schmitz – Mainz-Ebersheim
Simone Schmitt-Rieth – Mainz-Hechtsheim

Weingut Alwin Schmitz

Weingut Alwin Schmitz is a small, family-owned winery in Mainz-Ebersheim. Alwin’s Great Grandfather started to make wine in the 1890s. Weingut Alwin Schmitz is not one of the 1000 or so wineries that make it to the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland, but one of the say remaining 40.000 producers of very good wines in Germany at reasonable prices. The wine is all sold at the winery to wine drinkers who live in the area and buy their wines at local producers. Weingut Alwin Schmitz has a very nice tasting room.

Pictures: Weingut Alwin Schmitz

The vineyard area totals 3.9 hectares. Annual production stands at about 4000 cases. The top vineyard of Weingut Alwin Schmitz is the Zornheimer Mönchbäumchen

Wine Portfolio

The Wine Portfolio of Weingut Alwin Schmitz comprises about 36 items. Most of the wines are around 4 to 5 Euros. The 2010 RS Silvaner costs Euro 5,50. A 2010 Riesling Spaetlese trocken is available for Euro 4,50. About one third of the Portfolio is accounted for by white wines, another third by red wines and the final tjhird by sparklers and, brandies and juice. The wine list contains a number of interesting barrel-aged red wines, which are in the Euro 5 to 8 range.

Pictures: The Wines of Weingut Alwin Schmitz, including RS Rheinhessen Silvaner


Weingut Alwin Schmitz

Dalbergstraße 29 (Harxheimerweg 17)
55129 Mainz-Ebersheim

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Visiting Agnes and Fritz Hasselbach at their Weingut Gunderloch in Nackenheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

The Wines of the Roter Hang (Red Slope) in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

An Evening with Lindsay Morriss: The Wines of Weingut Georg Albrecht Schneider and her Ideas on How to Raise the Profile of German Wines in the USA 

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness

A New Fixture in the Reemerging Red Slope of Nierstein - Visiting Kai Schaetzel and his Weingut Schaetzel in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

Celebrating Riesling and my Birthday at Weingut Schaetzel in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose
Winemaker Eva Vollmer is Germany’s Discovery of the Year 2010

Weinfest im Kirchenstueck: Meeting the Winemakers of Mainz-Hechtsheim and Tasting Their Wines, Germany 

In the Glass: Mirjam Schneider's 2007 Merlot No.2 from Rheinhessen, Germany

International Women's Day 2012: Meeting the Wine Amazones Tina Huff, Mirjam Schneider and Eva Vollmer of Mainz, Germany

Surprising the World with their Pinot Noir: Johannes and Christoph Thoerle, Winzerhof Thoerle, Rheinhessen, Germany

Thursday, August 30, 2012

World Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2012: Cabernet Sauvignon in Virginia - Dinner at Breaux Vineyards with Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Virginia, US

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller, Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Today (August 30) is World Cabernet Sauvignon Day. I recently had a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon at a dinner in the tank room of Breaux Vineyards with Jennifer Breaux Blosser in Virginia, US. Not a place that immediately comes to mind when you think of Cabernet Sauvignon, but Virginia is increasingly producing premium wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon.

This evening was part of TasteCamp 2012. TasteCamp was created in 2009 by Lenn Thompson, of The New York Cork Report. Its goal is to get journalists and bloggers together in a specific region to taste as much wine as possible, and speak to as many winemakers from that region over the course of a weekend. In 2012, TasteCamp was held in Northern Virginia.

This posting is also part of a series of postings on TasteCamp 2012. I have already issued the following postings:

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont  

Boxwood Winery in Virginia: Lunch with Wine Makers Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggert in the Chai between the Tanks – TasteCamp 2012 East Kick-Off, USA

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

Walking Tranquility Vineyard and Tasting 8 Chains North Wines with Ben Renshaw, Virginia, USA

Tasting the “German” Otium Wines with Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw at Otium Cellars, Virginia, USA

More postings will follow over the next couple of months on schiller-wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon Day

The Cabernet Sauvignon Day is organized by Rick Bakas, social media director of St.Supery in Napa Valley. The first Cabernet Sauvignon Day was celebrated 3 years ago.

It’s believed that Cabernet Sauvignon originated in Bordeaux – Armand d’Armailhacq, of Chateau d’Armailhac (now owned by Mouton Rothschild) and his neighbour Baron Hector de Brane of Chateau Mouton were important figures in establishing Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1850s as the Médoc’s primary grape. Chateaux Mouton, d’Armailhac and Brane Cantenac were the first to have actively grown the variety.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at the Dinner with Kirsten, aka Wine Woogie, from Cellarblog

From France, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World. Today, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties and grown in nearly every major wine producing country. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990s.

Wine Producer Virginia

Virginia is the 5th largest wine industry in the US, with nearly 200 wineries and 2,500 acres of vineyards. Over the past 50 years, Virginia wines have experienced a tremendous development - to elegant and balanced, mostly European vinifera-based wines. Recently, Donald Trump bought a Virginia winery and AOL founder Steve Case is in the process of buying one.

Pictures: Jennifer Breaux Blosser at the Reception

As far as white wines are concerned, the European vinifera grapes Chardonnay and Viognier are the leading varieties today. Increasingly they are made “naked” or with little oak only, with the objective of retaining natural acidity and freshness. It appears Viognier is on its way to becoming Virginia’s official “signature grape”. 

For French-American hybrid varieties, Seyval Blanc is still popular, but resembles now the fresh and crisp wines from France’s South West. Vidal has become the backbone of the artificially frozen ice wine (cryoextraction), which I am not a great fan of.

The first ice wine was reportedly produced in Germany in 1794. Today, ice wines are highly prized wines that are made not only in Germany, but also in Austria and Canada as well as other countries, including the United States. Canada has experienced an amazing ice wine boom in the past decades. See about German and Canadian ice wine here. In the context of ice wine, some wine regions, including Virginia, are pushing cryoextraction. This is an approach, which kind of simulates the frost in the vineyard in the wine cellar. It was developed by the French. Instead of waiting for mother nature to produce frosty temperatures in the vineyard, the winemaker subjects the grapes to frosty temperatures in the cellar and presses them while frozen.

Pictures: Jennifer Breaux Blosser, her new Spanish Winemaker David Pagan Castaño, her Husband and General Manager Chris Blosser and Christian G.E. Schiller at the Reception

As far as red wines are concerned, there was a shift in top Virginia reds from straight varietal wines to blends. And blends have gone from being dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with a significant amount of Petit Verdot. There is an increasing focus on neutral oak and clean, vibrant fruit, mirroring the evolution of Virginia white wines.

Tannat, Uruguay’ signature grape from the South West of France, is showing up in more Virginia wines, usually as a blend. The only red French American hybrid which has performed consistently well in Virginia is Chambourcin, which, with its bright cherry aromas and flavors, crisp acidity and low tannin, resembles the Gamay grape of Beaujolais.

Finally, Claude Thibault, a native from France, has now been producing premium sparkling wines in Virginia. While respectable sparkling wines have been made in Virginia in the past, sparkling wines have been taken to a new level in Virginia by Claude Thibault. His NV Thibault-Janisson Brut, made from 100 percent Chardonnay, which President Obama offered his guests at his first state dinner, is as close as you can get to Champagne outside of France.

Breaux Vineyards

Breaux Vineyards is owned by Paul Breaux, who made his money with a real estate company specializing in sales and property management on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and is managed by Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Paul’s daughter, and her husband Christopher M. Blosser.

What began as a small hobby in the carriage house of the original 1750's Log Cabin on the far side of the property, the winery has grown into what the Washington Post describes as "Loudoun County's most impressive wine undertaking." Featuring the finest of European winemaking equipment, Breaux Vineyards is often credited with standard for winemaking facilities in Virginia.

Today, the 404 acre estate has over 100 acres planted in 18 different grape varieties. Breaux Vineyards produces 10.000 to 12.000 cases per year. 90% of it is sold on the premises. Paul Breaux purchased this land in 1994 with only three acres of grapes, and in April 1997 produced his first vintage and opened to the public. By the following year, they were already producing 3,500+ cases of wine.

Breaux Vineyards is one of the few VA wineries that is represented overseas, with a fairly healthy export market in the U.K. In fact, last year Breaux Vineyards was even awarded three medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

I visited Breaux Vineyards last year, see:

Touring Virginia Wineries - Fabbioli Cellars, 8 Chains North and Breaux Vineyards - with Virginia Wine Expert Allan Liska

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA


As we pulled up to Breaux Vineyards, we were greeted by Jennifer Breaux Blosser, her husband Chris Blosser and her new Spanish winemaker David Pagan Castaño.

Hors d’ouevres

Seared Scallops on Lavosh with Fennel Salad and Orange Glaze
Roasted Pear and Caramelized Onion Tartlets
Compressed Melon with Feta and Sherry Gastrique.

The Wines

2010 Breaux Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Breaux Viognier
2010 Breaux Jen’s Jambalaya
2002 Breaux Reserve Merlot

Dinner in the Tank Room

We were then moved into the tank room for dinner.

Pictures: Dinner in the Tank Room

Many of my fellow bloggers have already provided a summary of the feast that followed. I am taking the liberty here of reprinting the excellent comments of Antony Marocco of Virginia Pour House.

Picture: At #Winechat at Capital Grille in Washington DC with Fellow Wine Bloggers and Virginia Wine Producers, USA - Antony Marocco is the fourth person from the left, standing in the corner behind me

Pictures: Chef Patrick Dinh

Local and Organic Greens - First Course

Crumbled Goat Cheese with Walnuts and Balseto Vinaigrette
2011 Breaux Rosé

“The first course was now ready: a light and sensual Crumbled Goat Cheese with Walnuts and Balseto Vinaigrette. Of course, what better to serve the opener with a newly released glass of 2011 Breaux Rosé! This ‘Old World Spanish Style’ Rosé offered up a gentle strawberry nose, caressing the palate with much of the same strawberry qualities but adding light oak to the mix, and finishing with a buttery finish that was very light in acidity for such a young release. A very good Rosé, and for $19, well worth the purchase."

Spiced Angus Beef Medallions - Main Course

2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

"The main course was absolutely AMAZING! Savory Spiced Angus Beef Medallions with Bacon Fig Sauce scented with Chocolate, Gorgonzola Rosotto Studded with Currants and Almonds; a concoction that I could NEVER have dreamt in a million years. This dish pleased my taste buds with a completely uncomparable flavor. Chef Patrick absolutely NAILED this dish and took it to a whole new level by pairing it with the 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve and the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. There couldn’t have been a better match made in heaven. The Cabernet Franc was peppery on the nose, and added some light spice and notes of white pepper throughout, carrying a lengthy finish with notes of light mocha. The Cabernet Sauvignon had a higher alcohol aroma with oak and spice from start to finish and floral flavors nudging upward on the palate, finishing with slightly higher tannins than the Cabernet Franc. My favorite of the two however, was the Cabernet Franc, and in my opinion, was a better pairing that the Cabernet Sauvignon with the main course. By pairing with the Rosotto with the Cabernet Franc actually enhanced the spice in the meat and enhanced the mocha notes that I detected on the finish of the wine."

Variety of Cheese

Morbier, Valdeon Blue, Mahon, Quince, and Hazelnut-Onion Marmalade

2001 Nebbiolo
2002 Nebbiolo
2005 Nebbiolo
2007 Nebbiolo (Barrel Sample)

"The next course was a Variety of Cheeses including Morbier, Valdeon Blue, Mahon, Quince, and Hazelnut-Onion Marmalade. The cheese course was paired with a vertical tasting of the Nebbiolos. The vertical consisted of the 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2007 Nebbiolo, of which my favorites were the 2002 and the 2007. Being that it is still in the barrel, this 2007 favorite exhibited some dry blackberry notes on the nose and palate, mixed with a little licorice and finishing with a jammy tart burst as expected with its youthful qualities. I actually paired the Valdeon Blue and a piece of the tostada, which brought the fruit forward qualities down to an acceptable level, and really excited me for this 2007 release! The 2001 Nebbiolo was potent on the nose with oak and a highly alcoholic aroma, soothing out with black clove and tobacco on the palate, with high tannin structure, leather, and licorice notes smoothing out the finish. The 2005 Nebbiolo exhibited cotton and super light notes of spice and pepper on the nose. The palate had an almost Djarum Clove cigarette taste bearing a very full bodied structure, and finishing with dark cherry flavors. Saving my favorite for last, the 2002 Nebbiolo, wafted aromas of black cherry and spice. It has very well balanced tannin structure, with huge notes of licorice on the palate, that finishes with an almost velvety fashion. LOVE IT! Paired with the Morbier cheese? Euphoria! Perfection! Ok, I ran out of adjectives, though it was pretty epic I will say that."

White Chocolate-Apricot Cake - Dessert

2010 “Chére Marie” or Vidal Blanc
2006 Soleil

"The final course of the evening consisted of a White Chocolate-Apricot Cake with Lychee Sabayon, paired with 2010 “Chére Marie” or Vidal Blanc, and the 2006 Soleil. The Vidal Blanc gave aromas of tropical fruit, and carried flavors of candied fruits, finishing relatively clean for a wine with 2% residual sugar. The 2006 Soleil was a rock star wine especially paired with the dessert offering. It is made of 100% late harvest Vidal, Viognier, Semillion, and Sauvignon Blanc and gave a punch of peaches in the nose and palate. The finish was a bit syrupy but with the cake it was the perfect compliment.”

schiller-wine: Related Posting

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

The Wines of Veramar, Virginia, US

The 2010 DrinkLocalWine Conference in Virginia, US

Thomas Jefferson, 3. President of the United States, Visited Hochheim, Germany on April 10,1978

Norton and Other Wines of Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia

Fine Virginia Wines from Corcoran Vineyards

As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar

Touring Virginia Wineries - Fabbioli Cellars, 8 Chains North and Breaux Vineyards - with Virginia Wine Expert Allan Liska

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Visiting Wine Maker Doug Fabbioli and his Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

Tasting the “German” Otium Wines with Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw at Otium Cellars, Virginia, USA

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Schiller's World of Seafood

Picture: A Plateau des Fruits de Mer in Bordeaux

I have written this posting more for myself than for the readers of schiller-wine. It first outlines the usual classification of seafood and thensheds some light on seafood that I like in particular.

A. Seafood - Fish, Crustaceans and Shellfish

Seafood is any animal that lives in the sea and is regarded as food by humans. Seafood can be grouped into fish, crustaceans and shellfish.

1. Fish

Fish is the first main seafood group.

2. Crustaceans

The second main group is crustaceans: The aquatic analogs of insects, found in both fresh and salt water. This group includes crabs, lobster and shrimps.


Crabs are 10-legged crustaceans and there is a variety of them. There are freshwater and salt-water varieties. After shrimps, crabs are the second most popular crustacean.

Lobster and Langouste

Lobsters are salt water creatures and come in two general varieties:  the spiny lobster (common in France) and the smooth shelled lobster (Maine). The French (Germans) call the spiny lobster Langouste (Languste) and the smooth shelled lobster Hommard (Hummer). Even though the word Langouste is French, it is used in English as well because true Langouste do not exist in North America.

The spiny lobster and the smooth shelled lobster resemble each other, but the spiny lobster (Langouste) does not have claws (Scheren in German); instead it has long antennae.

Langoustes/spiny lobsters are warm water crustaceans that can be found in the south Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and off the coasts of South America, Australia and the West Indies.

(Crayfish - Even though they resemble spiny lobsters, crayfish (crawfish) does not belong to seafood, as they are fresh water creatures. Louisiana supplies 98% of the crayfish harvested in the United States. Crayfish in French are Ecrivesses and in German Flusskrebs. )


Shrimps are small crustaceans that have ten legs and long antennae. Shrimps have a thin-segmented shell covering a tapering body, and a large head about the size of the body. Caught in great numbers and the most popular seafoods.

Shrimp is the English/American name of this creature and Crevette the French; large shrimps are called Prawns in the UK and Langoustines in France. In Germany, shrimps are called Garnelen and the very small Garnelen from the North Sea are called Krabben. When they are larger, they are called Scampis in Germany. In Spain, shrimps are called Camerones and the large versions Gambas. The Italians call shrimps Gamberettis.

3. Shellfish

The third group includes clam, conch, mussels, oysters, scallops (Jakobsmuscheln), snails (escargot), octopus (pulpo, Krake) and squid (calamari, Tintenfisch).


I distinguish 4 types of oysters:

The Pacific

Originally from Japan, the Pacific or Japanese oyster is the most widely cultured oyster in the world. It accounts for 75% of world production. In France, it has crowded out the Belon and now accounts for 99% of oyster production there. Gone are the days of the Belon in Paris. The Pacific oysters are marketed under a variety of names, often denoting their growing area. The Kumamoto is one of the most famous Pacific oysters. I tend to think of a Pacific oyster as a creamy oyster, with a mineral note.

The Olympia

The Olympia is a very small oyster seldom exceeding 2 inches. For comparison, in Massachusetts, oysters must be a minimum of 3 inches to be sold. Olympia is a native American oyster, which once flourished on the West Coast, before the Pacific took over. Olympias are hard to find today as they grow very slowly and are difficult to transport. They hold very little liquid and dry out quickly. The Olympia has a very full flavor with a distinct aftertaste.

The Atlantic

Another American native, there are many varieties of Atlantic oysters, such as the Malpeque from Prince Edward Island in Canada and the Blue Point from Long Island in New York State. Bluepoints were originally named for Blue Point, Long Island but now the term is generally applied to any Atlantic oyster two four inches long. These two are now the most common restaurant oysters in the US. Also called Eastern oyster, the Atlantic has a thick, elongated shell that ranges from 2 to 5 inches across. It's found along the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico in the US.

The Belon

The Belon, or European Flat, is Europe’s native oyster. The Belons are round and shallow. That’s why they are called Flats. They are also not very liquid and dry out fast. They have a long history. They used to grow in Brittany, Normandy, England, Spain, Holland, Greece and the Black See. But a disease is wiping them out worldwide. The Flats from the Belon river in Brittany were at some point the connoisseur’s top choice and the name was soon adopted by all oyster growers, a bit like the Blue Points from Long Island. The Belon oyster grows in limited quantity in Maine on the rocks of the Damariscotta river bed.

B. Seafood I Like and Eat Regularly

1. Fish

I eat much more fish than meat but have nothing in particular to report.

2. Crustaceans

Maryland Crabs

The blue crab is a crustacean found in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Coast of Central America and the Gulf of Mexico. Male and female blue crabs can be distinguished by their "aprons", or their abdomens. Male crabs have a long, narrow apron, while mature female crabs have a wide, rounded one. The Chesapeake Bay, located mainly in Maryland, is famous for its blue crabs. There are four ways to eat Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs:

Picture: Map of Maryland

Steamed Hard Shell Crabs: Blue crabs are most often eaten in the hard shell. Steaming them in large pots with water, vinegar and seasoning is the norm on the East coast. The cooked crabs are cracked by hand, but most diners will use a small knife to pry the shell apart and cut the unwanted parts from the crab. The meat is pulled out and eaten directly.

Picture: Steamed Hard Shell Crabs

Soft Shell Crabs: Robert J. Parker recently tweeted: “Maryland’s greatest culinary delicacy – blue channel soft-shelled crabs are starting to arrive … lightly floured and sautéed in butter.” As crabs grow larger, their shells cannot expand, so they molt the exteriors and have a soft covering for a matter of days when they are vulnerable and considered usable. Crabs caught just after molting are prepared as soft shell crabs: first cutting out the gills, face, and guts; the crab is then battered in flour, egg, and seasoning, then fried in oil until crispy. The entire crab is consumed, legs and all.

Picture: Soft Shell Crab

Maryland Crab Soup: This is a kind of an Italian Minestrone with crab meat.

Picture: Maryland Crab Soup

Crab Cake: A crab cake is an American dish that looks like a Hamburger but is composed of crab meat and various other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, milk, mayonnaise, eggs, yellow onions, and seasonings. Crab cakes are traditionally associated with the area surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, in particular the State of Maryland. I participated in the sixth annual “I Love Crab Cakes!” competition in Washington DC.

Picture: Chef Shannon Overmiller, The Majestic, Alexandria, Virginia

See more on Crab Cakes: Wine and Crab Cakes: Amy Brandwein from Casa Nonna and Chris Clime from PassionFish win the 6th Annual Crab Cake Competition in Washington DC, USA

See more on Maryland Blue Crabs: Maryland Crabs and Wine, USA

Main Lobster

Interestingly, in North America, lobster did not achieve popularity until the 19th century, when New Yorkers and Bostons developed a taste for it. Prior to this time, lobster was considered a mark of poverty or as a food for servants. The lobster industry became global, once the transportation industry could deliver live lobsters to urban centers. Fresh Maine lobster became a delicacy exported all over the world, in particular to Europe and to Japan. See: New Hampshire, USA: Cheese ….and Lobsters and Oysters … and Wine!

Nordseekrabben (Small Shrimps)

In Germany – tiny and very tasteful shrimps I like to eat with dark bread and German beer.

Camerons de Canal de Mozambique

Camerons are giant shrimps. Just the opposite of what I love to eat, when I am in northern Germany: “Nordseekrabben”. The latter are tiny and I like to eat them cooked with dark bread and a glass of “Warsteiner” beer; the former are large and I like to eat them grilled with a baguette and a glass of white wine (see above).

Camerons are readily available at the east coast of Madagascar (Canal de Mozambique) and inland in the larger towns.

Camerons Grillees in Mahajanga (Coast)

Pictures: Camerons Grillees de Canal de Mozambique in Mahajanga at the Canal de Mozambique

Camerons Grillees in Antananarivo

Pictures: Camerons Grillees de Canal de Mozambique at Tsiky in Antananarivo, Madagascar: Tsiky – Charming Restaurant in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Serving Good Food and Malagasy Wines

3. Shellfish


Oysters are found all over the world. They are readily available in Washington DC in many oster bars, mainly east coast oysters. I recently had delicious oysters in South Africa and Madagascar, which are typically not on the radar of the mainstream oyster eater, and in Seattle.

Oysters in South Africa

Pictures: In the Glass: A Rust en Vrede 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon With South African Oysters in Stellenbosch

Oysters in Madagascar

Pictures: Oysters in Madagascar with Patrick Rajaonary: Fine Wine and Fine Oysters in Madagascar: Oysters from Fort Dauphin and Wine from Clos Nomena

Oysters in Seattle

Picture: In Seattle with Oyster Guru Jon Rowley: West Coast Oysters and Wine with Jon Rowley in Seattle, USA

Jon Rowley orchestrates every year the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition - an event that attmepts to find the perfect oyster wines. The 10 winners of the 2012 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition were announced recently: The 2012 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition - 10 Oyster Wines

Scallops/Coquilles Saint Jacques

Scallops - or Coquilles St. Jacques - are a kind of a daily staple and very reasonably priced at the East Coast in the US. By contrast, they are a rarity and very high prized in Europe. I have never understood why. We regularly have Scallop dishes at home, when we are at our home in the US. 

Pictures: A simple salad with Coquilles Saint Jacques, prepared by Annette Schiller and wine from Weingut Kuenstler.

C. Plateau des Fruits de Mer in Bordeaux

A dish that I like very much and that brings togather many of the different kinds of seafood is the famous Plateau des Fruits de Mer that you get in France. My most recent  experience in this regard was in the City of Bordeaux in France.

Picture: Plateau des Fruits de Mer in Bordeaux

See: A Plateau des Fruits de Mer and a Pessac-Leognan Wine in Bordeaux City, France

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A Plateau des Fruits de Mer and a Pessac-Leognan Wine in Bordeaux City, France