Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rediscovered: Weinhaus Bluhm in Mainz, Germany - A Cosy and Basic Wine Tavern Serving World Class Wines from Germany

Picture: Roland Ladendorf and Christian G.E. Schiller

I used to live in Mainz between 1973 and 1982, first as a student and later as an Assistant Professor at the University of Mainz. Student life was great there. We would finish up basically every evening in one of the many wine taverns, where you could have a couple of glasses of decent German wine and some basic regional food at reasonable prices. One of the many favorite hang-outs was Weinhaus Bluhm.

The following nearly 30 years, I spent as an international civil servant at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC and at external posts in Madagascar, Croatia and France. When being stationed at headquarters in Washington DC, my work consisted of doing technical assistance, economic review or program negotiations missions to the 180 plus member countries of the institution. These missions took me basically once every other month on a stop over for a couple of days to the Frankfurt International Airport. In addition, we spent a considerable part of our annual leave in Germany. So, I had plenty of opportunities to stay in touch with the wine scene in the greater Frankfurt am Main area, including Mainz. But Weinhaus Bluhm became one of the wine taverns I would not visit anymore on my stop-overs or when on annual leave in Frankfurt.

Pictures: Washington DC, Frankfurt am Main, Mainz

This changed radically, when I retired from the International Monetary Fund and partially relocated to Germany. I soon got the tip that Weinhaus Bluhm had a new owner and had become the Wine Mecca of Mainz. After several decades, I rediscovered Weinhaus Bluhm in Mainz.

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Mainz, Germany
Weinhaus Bluhm in Mainz: A Cosy and Basic Wine Tavern Serving World Class Wines from Germany

Weinrallye # 60: Wiederentdeckt - Rediscovered

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 "Wiederentdeckt" (Rediscovered). Weinrallye is the brainchild of Thomas Lippert, a winemaker and wine blogger based in Heidelberg, Germany. This month's wine rally is organized by Julia Richter from the food blog German Abendbrot.

The Place

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.

Pictures: Weinhaus Bluhm

Remember, all tables in wine taverns are communal tables. You sit with strangers at the same table and are expected to communicate with everyone at the table. Therefore, people also choose a wine tavern for the people they expect to meet and talk to in the tavern.

The People

Weinhaus Bluhm used to be a popular hang for young people with little money and the fans of the local football club Mainz 05, not necessarily interested in wine. This has changed over the past years since Silvia and Roland Ladendorf have taken over and shifted the focus to top class wines. It has become popular with people from the regional government (Rheinland Pfalz), professors of the Mainz University and journalists of the ZDF (one of the two large state channels in Germany). My hunch is that the quota of these people is rather high. The quota of out of town people and tourists appears to run close to zero.

The Food

The food at Weinhaus Bluhm is simple and very 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. I can recommend the Mainzer Spundekaes for Euro 4.80, with lots of Bretzels. My wife had the Fleischwurst mit Brot for Euro 4.80 and our friend ate the Handkaes mit Musik for Euro 4.90. Only cold food is served, with the exception of the Rippchen mit Kraut for Euro 5.80. All is prepared in the small kitchen and served by Silvia Ladendorf.

Pictures: Handkaes, Spundekaes, Fleischwurst

The Wines

This leads us to the wines served at Weinhaus Bluhm. Here it really stands out, it is a class of itself. Nowhere else in a wine tavern in Mainz you can get wines from German wine stars like Weingut Klaus Peter Keller or Weingut Kruger Rumpf or Weingut Teschke. Roland 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.

Pictures: Weinhaus Bluhm

Of course, you can have a decent white wine in a typical Mainzer Stange, i.e. in 0.25 liter glass for around Euro 2.50. But you can also have the entry-level wine of Klaus Peter Keller in the 0.2 glass for Euro 4.50. And, you can have, for instance, a Klaus Peter Keller top wine in the 0.1 glass for Euro 4.50.

In addition to the large selection by the glass, Weinhaus Bluhm offers about 150 wines by the bottle. “I have all the wines of Klaus Peter Keller and Philipp Wittmann on my wine list” says Roland Ladendorf.

Silvia and Roland Ladendorf

Roland Ladendorf is a wine enthusiast. He has put much thought into his selection of wines which includes both famed and lesser known producers. Most of the producers he knows personally. He is very passionate about his wines and this is one of the reasons that make Weinhaus Bluhm a very special place. Before taking over Weinhaus Bluhm, Roland Ladendorf was a fruit and vegetable importer in the Frankfurt Grossmarkthalle. He was born in Gonsenheim, a suburb of Mainz.

Pictures: Roland Ladendorf

Roland is really passionate and a loves his wines. He can guide you through the evening or afternoon. When I go there, I just let him choose the wines. He would start at an entry-level wine and then during the course of the evening take me to his high-end wines, all by the 0.1 liter glass, the Piffchen as the people in Mainz say.

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1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic post. This makes me really curious about the Weinhaus Blum. Since I live in Wiesbaden this is just around the corner! Thanks for participating in this months' Weinrallye. Just one note: Cucina Casalinga is not my blog even though I like it a lot. My blog's called German Abendbrot. Just in case you wanna change this.