Monday, May 31, 2010

A Cult Paris Wine Bar - Juveniles

Picture: Tim Johnston and Christian G.E.Schiller

I was in France in Paris recently and visited a couple of places where you can have a glass of wines. I will report on this in a posting “A glass of Wine in Paris”. In the meantime, today and in a few days, two postings on two wine bars which I found particularly attractive.

Picture: The Seine River in Paris

Tim Johnston and Mark Williamson

One of the best wine bars on the contemporary Parisian wine scene is Juveniles, a cosy wine bar cum wine shop in the 1st Arrondissement on the Left Bank, at 47 rue de Richelieu, very close to Palais Royal, the Louvre and the Grands Boulevards further north.

Juveniles was started by a Scot and a Brit a few years ago, Tim Johnston and Mark Williamson. Tim Johnston worked at Mark Williamson's (the Brit) Willis' Wine Bar from 1981. They created a wine dealership under the name of Great Grape Traders in 1984.

In 1987, they opened the Juvéniles shop, selling wine and serving some tapas with wine. Juveniles became an outlet for off the beaten track wines that they would dig up from all over France.

In 1998, the two long-time associates separated and Tim took the wheel on Juvéniles and Great Grape Traders. By that time, Juveniles had asserted itself on the Paris wine bar scene and began sourcing wines from further away. In the early 1990s, Tim made two trips to Australia and started to import wine from there. Juveniles became, with Willis' Wine Bar, the only place in Paris at the time to sell Australian wines, causing quite a stir.

Juveniles is today a 'cult' Parisian wine bar and a fabled pit stop on the international wine bar circuit. Not only does it offer a wonderful selection of both French and other Old World, but also New World wines; and it maintains an excellent kitchen. Mark Williamson continues to run the nearby Willis' Wine Bar and also neighboring Maceo Restaurant.

Tim Johnston

Tim Johnston is a highly likable wine-loving bon vivant. It is fun to talk with him. And, of course, he speaks French and English.

The Place

The room is not very large; there are a bit more than a dozen small tables. It is a very personal place with naive paintings of a friend of Tim on the walls.

The Wines

Last week, when I was there, Juveniles offered about 2 dozen wines by the glass, including a sparkler from Australia, but overall surprisingly little New World wines; the list is basically comprised of off-the-beaten track Old World wines. One thing to note is that since 1990 Tim doesn't sell any reds from Bordeaux or from Burgundy any more. He likes the Rhone wines, dating back from the time he was living in Aix en Provence, before working at Willis.

Juvéniles is also a wine shop where you can choose among about 60 different wines and pay to go as you would do in your usual wine shop. The wines on the shelves have both prices displayed, the one to go, and the one to drink on the spot.

The Food

The menu is not extensive and not small; you have a good choice of dishes. Juveniles' menu includes starters such as homemade duck foie gras and crostini of prosciutto, tomato confit and sliced parmesan. Hearty main dishes include tuna steak, duck flank and rib steak. I had some cheese, which included a Colston Basset English Stilton and a Montgomery unpasteurized English farmhouse cheddar. Desserts include roasted figs in red wine and "Donald's chocolate cake".

Tim Johnston’s Own Wines

Tim Johnston makes his own wines. In his previous life before 1984, he vinified for example at Chateau Montelena in Calistoga and Jordan Winery in Healdsburg. He also vinified in Margaret river in Australia, a region he considers the only one in Australia to make great Cabernet Sauvignons.

Together with celebrated Rhone Valley winemaker Marcel Richaud, he blends a red table wine. The blend I had – purple 12 – comprised Grenache, Shiraz and Corrigan; it had 14.5 percent alcohol and was fermented and aged in stainless steel. Tim explained since it is a table wine, it cannot carry the vintage on the label (?), but the number 12 indicates that this was the 12th vintage. If you know the first one, you know that this one is a 2009.

My tasting notes: full ruby in the glass, attack of strawberries and gooseberries with some wet stone on the nose, a full-bodied wine, good structure, very fruity on the palate, lingering finish.

47 rue de Richelieu
75001 Paris
Metro Palais Royal (line 1 & 7)
phone 01 42 97 46 49

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

In the glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

Wine Bar: Paris Bar and Cafe in Frankfurt am Main

In the Glass: 2007 Rheinhessen with Oysters at the Ten Bells in the Lower East Side in Manhattan

Wine Bar: Paris of Alexandre-Balthazar-Laurent Grimod de la Reyniere

Wine bar: Paris, Berlin, New York, London

Wine bar: Paris --- Le Petit Monceau, Willi's wine bar and Lavinia

Wine Bars in London: Vats Wine Bar, the Cork and Bottle, the Providores and Tapa Room

Here are reviews of wine bars that I posted in the past couple of months on my Blog in

Paris, Berlin, London, New York
Frankfurt am Main/Germany

Manhattan Wine Bars - Bar Boulud, Ten Bells, Terroir, Clo

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Wines of Argentina's Cult Winemaker Achaval-Ferrer

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Marcelo Victoria, director of wine Achaval-Ferrer

I was thrilled when I heard that the Sales Director of one of Argentina’s finest boutique wineries – Achaval-Ferrer - would be in Washington DC to show his lineup. The Achaval-Ferrer wines have developed a cult following in the US in recent years.

Wine Country Argentina

Argentina has always been a giant wine producer. But historically, Argentine winemakers were more interested in quantity than quality with the country consuming 90% of the wine it produced. For most of the 1900s, Argentina produced more wine than any other country outside Europe, though the vast majority was consumed at home. Argentine wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity, making Argentina now the second biggest wine exporter in Latin America, behind Chile. The devaluation of the Argentine peso in 2002, following the economic collapse, further fueled the wine industry.

Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world, following Spain, France, Italy and the US. Like much of the new world, Argentina owes its first vineyards to the Catholic church and its Holy Communion. As early as 1556, missionary priests crossed the Andes from the Spanish colony in what is now Chile, to Argentina.

The wine industry grew rapidly, as the Spanish and Italian immigrants brought with them the habit of having a bottle of wine with every meal. In the 1920s, Argentina was the 8th richest nation in the world. Domestic wine consumption was as high as 90 liters per person.

Yet it is only very recently - perhaps over the last ten or fifteen years - that the wine industry has really begun to develop the methods, attitudes and will to become a serious player in the international wine market.

Wine regions

The Andes Mountains are the dominant geographical feature of Argentine wine regions, with the snow cap mountains often serving as a back drop view in the vineyards. Most of the wine regions are located within the foothills of the Andes. The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently Southern Buenos Aires are also wine producing regions. The Mendoza province produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine and is the source of an even higher percentage of the total exports.

Picture: Argentina's Wine Regions

Due to the high altitude and low humidity of the main wine producing regions, Argentine vineyards rarely face the problems of insects, fungi, molds and other grape diseases that affect vineyards in other countries. This permits cultivating with little or no pesticides, allowing even organic wines to be easily produced.
Argentina, like Chile, is unique in the wine world for the absence of the phylloxera threat that has devastated vineyards across the globe. Unlike Chile, the phylloxera louse is present in Argentina but is a particular weak biotype that doesn't survive long in the soil. Because of this most of the vineyards in Argentina are planted on ungrafted rootstock.


Mendoza is the leading producer of wine in Argentina. The vineyard acreage in Mendoza alone is slightly less than half of the entire planted acreage in the US and more than the acreage of New Zealand and Australia combined. Located in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, the average vineyards in Mendoza are planted at altitudes of 1,970-3,610 feet (600-1,100 meters) above sea level. The soil of the region is sandy and alluvial on top of clay substructures and the climate is continental with four distinct seasons that affect the grapevine, including winter dormancy.

Grape varieties

There are many different varieties of grapes cultivated in Argentina, reflecting her many immigrant groups. The French brought Malbec, which makes most of Argentina's best known wines. The backbone of the early Argentine wine industry were the high yielding, pink skin grapes Cereza, Criolla Chica and Criolla Grande which still account for nearly 30% of all vines planted in Argentina today.

While the historic birthplace of Malbec is Cahors in France, it is in Argentina where the grape receives most of its attention. The grape clusters of Argentine Malbec are different from its French relatives; they have smaller berries in tighter, smaller clusters.


Achaval-Ferrer is a small winery, committed to the production of limited quantities of top red wines. Achával Ferrer is arguably Argentina's first "cult" winery, commanding prices in excess of $100 a bottle in both the U.S. and Argentina. They export 85% of their production, 40% to the USA.

The vineyards are located in the province of Mendoza. The region’s desert climate and soil conditions are ideal for the development of Malbec and other red varieties. Low yields, significant thermal gradients (warm days, cool nights), poor alluvial soils, low rainfall, high altitude and the pure Andes irrigation water, all work together to mature grapes that can be transformed into complex, deep and structured wines.

Picture: The Vineyards of Achaval-Ferrer with the Andes in the Background

A group of Argentinean and Italian friends started this adventure in 1998.Santiago Achaval and Manuel Ferrer are the Argentinean partners. The Italian partners are Roberto Cipresso, (the winemaker), and Tiziano Siviero. Both Italians also own La Fiorita Winery in Montalcino. The other key people in the company are Diego Rosso (Vineyard and Winery Operations), and Marcelo Victoria (Sales), who I had the pleasure to meet in Washington DC.

Achaval Ferrer’s Quimera blend has an average yield of 18 hectoliters per hectare. The Finca Altamira single-vineyard Malbec has a yield of 12 hectoliters per hectare. Achaval Ferrer harvests only until mid-morning for the grapes to be very cool when they arrive in the winery. They do severe triage both on the grape bunches before desteming and on the grapes themselves after desteming, to assure that only the best go into our tanks. After fermentation (7 to 10 days), the wine is pressed and barrel-aged. Achaval Ferrer uses 95% French oak (Taransaud) and 5 % American oak (Canton). The wines stay in barrel until the winemaker decides they have the appropriate balance. No formulas or rigid time frames, just tasting. Achaval Ferrer bottles without fining or filtering, to preserve aromas and flavors. Achaval-Ferrer holds the honor of being the first Argentine winery to receive a score of 96 in Wine Spectator magazine.

What Marcelo Victor Poured

2008 Malbec, 91 WS, $22.99

Tasting notes: Ruby in the glass, delicious, pour purple fruit develops on the nose, a full-bodied wine, raspberry and pastis notes on the palate, long finish.

2007 Quimera, 92 WA, 91 WS, $36.99Tasting notes: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot, interestingly, the blend occurs before racking into barrels, of which 40% are new (10% American oak and 90% French oak), ruby in the glass, attack of blackcurrant and ripe plums on the nose, a full-bodied wine, good structure, subtle herby complexity and some minerality on the palate with a smooth finish.

2007 Finca Mirador Malbec, 94 WA, 94 WS, $107.99

Tasting notes: good full ruby in the glass, attack of wet stone, toast and blackberry on the nose, a full-bodied wine, outstanding concentration, impeccable balance, long, mouthwatering finish.

2007 Finca Altamira Malbec, 95+ WA, 95 WS, $107.99

Tasting notes: good full ruby in the glass, the nose displays sweet fruit with a savoury, herbal edge, a full-bodied wine, the palate is lush and intensely concentrated with good acidity and a bit of minerality, a delicious wine.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Impressions from the Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 in New York

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Ernst Loosen in New York

The Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 came to San Francisco and New York City

The Riesling & Co World Tour with its mostly German Riesling producers was back in the US in May. In San Francisco, the event took place at the Westin St. Francis on May 11th and featured 28 tables of German wines, representing over 40 German producers. Notable attendees included Jon Bonne of San Francisco Chronicle, Claude Kolm of Fine Wine Review, sommeliers Noah Drano and Tony Cha from Michael Mina and sommeliers Ian Conroy, Bob Moore and John Vuong from Gary Danko.

In New York City, the event took place at the TriBeCa Rooftop on May 13th. The trade and media portion of the tasting attracted over 280 attendees, including Howard Goldberg of The New York Times, Bruce Sanderson of Wine Spectator, Joe Czerwinski of Wine Enthusiast, Josh Green of Wine & Spirits, Lindsay Ronga of Cork'd, David Rosengarten of Saveur and myself. Top trade attendees included Paul Grieco and Matt Stinton of Hearth & Terroir, Bob Paulinski, MW of Winn-Dixie Stores, Aldo Sohm of Le Bernardin, Peter Sichel of BVG Management, and consultant Fred Dexheimer, MS. Following the trade and media tasting, the doors opened for over 190 consumers that were anxious to sample and learn more about the numerous German Rieslings at the

Pictures: View of the Event and of TriBeCa from the Rooftop

Wine Producer Germany

With about 102,000 hectares (252,000 acres or 1,020 square kilometers) of vineyard, which is around one tenth of the vineyard surface in Spain, France or Italy, wine production in Germany is usually around 9 million hectoliters annually, or to 1.2 billion bottles, which places Germany as the 8th largest wine-producing country in the world. White wine accounts for almost two thirds of the total production.

The German wine industry consists of many small wine producers, totaling about 70.000. If you exclude the about 40.000 operators of less than 0.5 hectare who should probably be classified as hobby winemakers, you are down to 30.000 wine makers. Then, it gets a bit complicated. Many smaller winemakers do not pursue wine making as a full-time occupation, but rather as a supplement to other agriculture or to hospitality. It is not uncommon that a small family-owned tavern or restaurant has its own wine. If we move up to a minimum of 5 hectares, we get down to about 6.000 wineries, accounting for about 60 percent of Germany's total vineyard surface, and it is in this category that the full-time winemakers are primarily found. However, truly large wineries, in terms of their own vineyard holdings, are rare in Germany. Hardly any German wineries reach the size of New World wine making companies. Most wineries present at the show were in the 10 to 20 hectar range, or 7000 to 14000 cases.

There are 13 German wine regions: Five large regions - Rheinhessen 26000 hectares, Pfalz 23000 hectares, Baden 16000 hectares, Wuerttemberg 12000 hectares, Mosel 10000 hectares. Three medium-size regions - Franken 6000 hectares, Nahe 4000 hectares, Rheingau 3000 hectares. Five small regions - Saale Unstrut 700 hectares, Sachsen 500 hectares, Hessische Bergstrasse 500 hectares, Mittelrhein 500 hectares, Ahr 300 hectares.

Picture: Germany's Wine Regions

Classification of German Wines

Germany’s wine classification system is very complicated. Basically, the sugar content of the fruit at the point of harvest is at its heart. The riper the fruit,the higher the sugar content in the grapes, the higher the classification of the wine. The content of the fruit at the point of harvest, however, has nothing to do with the sweetness of the finished wine. With the exception of the noble sweet wines, at all quality levels, German wine can be bone-dry or sweet.

The Germans measure the sugar content of the grapes with the Oechsle scale. Based on the Oechsle degrees, German wine is classified into nine quality groups, ranging from Tafelwein with the minimum Oechsle degree of 44 to Trockenebeerenauslese with a minimum Oechsle degree of 150. The minimum Oechsle degrees differ somewhat between Germany’s wine regions and between red and white wine. The numbers indicated below are those for the white wines from the Mosel valley.

Tafelwein (Table wine) - the lowest German quality class; has to have at least 44 degrees of Oechsle in the vineyard.

Landwein (Country wine) - 47 degrees of Oechsle at the minimum.

Qualitaetswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA wine) means a quality wine from one of the thirteen specified German wine regions; close to half of German wine is QbA wine - 50 degrees Ochsle.

Kabinett - 67 degrees Oechsle.

Spaetlese means late harvest but this are simple wines made from grapes with a higher level of Oechsle - 76 degrees, not necessarily wine made with grapes harvested late in the season.

Auslese - 83 degrees of Oechsle.

Beerenauslese - 110 degrees of Oechsle.

Eiswein - icewine, the same minimu level of 110 degrees of Oechsle.

Trockenbeerenauslese - 150 degrees of Oechsle.

Same basics, which are often not well understood, but which are fundamental to the issue: The fermentation of grape must is a complex process in which sugars are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the action of yeasts. During fermentation, the sugar content of the must declines and potentially disappears completely, while the alcohol content increases. This process stops automatically when the alcohol level in the wine has reached around 13 to 15 percent of the volume. Typically, wines are then bone dry, because all the sugar is gone; this is certainly true for Germany, being a rather northern wine producer.

Three issues arise. First, in reality you have sweet German wines at all quality levels. How do winemakers do this? There are two methods used by German winemakers to generate residual sugar in such wine: (1) Stopping the fermentation at the desired level of sweetness and (2) letting the wine first fully ferment and then adding to the dry and fully fermented wine sterilized grape juice (called in German "Suessreserve"). In the first case, you get a wine that is sweet and low in alcohol. In the second case, you get a wine that is sweet and has a normal alcohol content.

Second, the noble sweet wines. They are a different story. The fruit has such a high sugar level at harvest that there is nothing you can do preventing the wine to remain sweet. These noble-sweet wines are produced either from botrytised grapes or grapes that were harvested during frost. In both cases, the sugar content of the grape is exceptionally high at the time of the harvest and mother nature is unable to ferment all the sugar. Thus, natural sugar remains in the wine and makes the wine sweet. These are the famous sweet dessert wines in Germany: Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein.

Third, chaptalization is legal and normal, but only for wines in the Tafelwein, Landwein and QbA categories, which accounts for about 60% of German wine. From Kabinett wines upwards, chaptalization is not allowed. It is obvious that chaptalization is not a means of increasing the sweetness of the wine but of the alcohol content, as in neighboring France.


Of all the grapes of Germany, the premier grape variety is the Riesling — a variety that can do well even in stony soil and can subsist on a minimum of moisture. It is a very dependable bearer of high quality grapes which have a high acidity level that gives the wine a racy freshness and contributes to its long life. To reach its full potential, Riesling needs extra days of sun; ripening is very late, usually not until the latter half of October. Riesling produces elegant wines of rich character with an incomparable fragrance and taste, often reminiscent of peaches, or when young, apples.

Germany alone is home to more than 60% of the world’s Riesling vineyards. But German wine is not only Riesling. There are many other interesting grapes.

Participants in New York

There were 46 tables. At many tables, the winemaker himself or herself, or the owner were present and poured the wines. At other tables, the wines were poured by the importer, representing the Weingut. In a number of cases, the winemakers were indicating in the catalogue that they were seeking an importer. I have indicated these winemakers in the listing below.

Picture: Participants of the Riesling and Co Wine Tour 2010 in New York

Weingut Becker-Steinhauer, Mosel, 6000 cases,, Karsten Becker presented 6 classic Mosel wines, ranging from QbA to Auslese, seeking importer.

Weingut Kerpen, Mosel, 5000 cases,, Martin Kerpen is a reliable 2 Gault Millau Grapes producer from Bernkastel-Wehlen, present 2 excellent Kabinett wines.

Weingut Meulenhof, Mosel, 6500 cases,, 2 late harvest wines.

Weingut Carl Loewen, Mosel, 8500 cases,, a 2 Gault Millau grapes producer from Leiwen, presented 2 wines, including an interesting premium dry Riesling with the name "1896" Alte Reben Riesling.

Click Wine Group, Mosel, 46000 cases,, presented 1 wine - 2008 Moselland Riesling Clean Slate.

Weingut Dr. Loosen, Mosel, 10000 cases,, Owner Ernst Loosen, Germany’s Riesling Ambassador, who does not need an introduction, poured the wines himself, including a 2006 Beerenauslese, he also produces wines in Oregon and Washington State, including the famous Eroica, in a joint venture with Chateau St. Michelle.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Ernst Loosen

Weingut Robert Weil, Rheingau, 42000 cases,, the leading producer from the Rheingau region with 3 wines.

Weingut Markus Molitor, Mosel, 20000 cases,, one of this year’s Falstaff winemakers of the year with 6 wines, including a Pinot Noir.

MO-RHE-NA GmbH, Rheingau and Mosel,, presented the wines of Hans Lang, Ulrich Langguth and Losen-Bockstanz.

Weingut Paulinshof, Mosel,, Christa Juengling from the 3 Gault Millau Ggrapes Paulinshof Estate poured a selection of mostly semi-dry Mosel wines, seeking importer.

Picture: Christa Juengling

Weingut Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler, Mosel, 10000 cases,, selection of 6 traditional Mosel wines from top vineyards in Bernkastel and Wehlen.

Weingut Max Ferd. Richter, Mosel, 10500 cases,, selection of traditional Mosel wines from a 3 Gault Millau grapes producer, including a 2008 Riesling Classic and a Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnuhr Auslese.

Schaefer-Reichart Selections, Mosel,, California-based importer and retailer, representing 7 wineries from the Middle-Mosel.

Weingut von Schleinitz, Mosel, 6000 cases,, presented 6 wines, including 2 Pinot Noir wines.

Weingut Oekonomierat A. Schmitt, Mosel, 9000 cases,, presented 6 wines, including a Sekt brut, a Riesling Classic and dry Riesling Hochgewaechs.

Weingut St. Urbans-Hof, Mosel, 20000 cases,, this top Mosel wine producer presented 6 wines, a classic Mosel collection from QbA to a Piesporter Goldtroepfchen Auslese.

Weingut Mathern, Nahe, 7500 cases,, owner and winemaker Gloria Mathern presented 6 wines with a clear focus on dry wines, seeking importer.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Gloria Mathern

Guenter Schlink , Nahe, 50000 cases, presented 12 wines, including a 2007 Dornfelder/Regent blend.

WINECONSALE, Germany-based WINECONSALE represents a number of top German winemakers world-wide, owner Joachim Binz poured the wines of Tesch, Dreissigacker, Groebe and Jacob Duijn, star winemaker Martin Tesch was present with 3 wines, including the famous “unplugged”.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Martin Tesch

Weingut Antony, Rheinhessen,, Christian Antony poured 6 wines, catchy winebottle design, most wines were dry, he also poured a 1999 Schreurebe Beerenauslese, seeking importer.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller and Christian Antony

Maison des Arcades, Rheinhessen,, a German winemaker with a French name, unusual bottle design, all wines are “green”, i.e. biodynamic or organic, seeking importer.

Weingut Magdalenenhof Bluemel, Rheinhessen, Sebastian Bluemel poured 6 rather unusual German wines, including a 2007 Regent “unfiltered” and a 2009 ChiSecco, seeking importer.

Weinhaus Jean Buscher, Rheinhessen,, Jean Raphael Buscher poured a selection of 6 wines, of which only one was a Riesling, others included Dornfelder, (red) Schwarzriesling and Muskateller, seeking importer.

Weingut Dr. Andreas Schreiber, Rheinhessen, 10000 cases,, Dr. Andreas Schreiber's portfolio had a strong "Co." focus, with an interesting Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon "Prestige" cuvee and a Sauvignon Blanc, in addition to 2 Rieslings, including a dry Spaetlese.

Weingut Fritz Windisch, Rheinessen, Windisch is known for his affordable noble-sweet wines, the selection included a Silvaner Eiswein and Siegerrebe Trockenbeerenauslese.

Winesellers, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Nahe, Mosel, and, Derek Vinnicombe and Valerie Lynch brought the wines of 9 winemakers to New York and several of the wine producers were present at the table, each winery presented 2 wines, they were mostly Rieslings in the Kabinett and Spaetlese range. The Weingueter were:
Weingut Dr. Heyden,
Weingut G.A. Schneider
Weingut Schaefer
Weingut Fitz-Ritter
Weingtu Paul Anheuser
Weingtu Karp-Schreiber
Weingut Dr. Fischer
Weingut Bollig-Lehnert
Weingut Dr. Thanisch

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Derek Vinnicombe and Karin Fischer

Braun-Nierstein, Rheinhessen, 10000 cases,, a selection of 6 wines, of which 4 were dry, all Riesling, except for one Rheinriesling, the focus of the Braun wines is on dry wines and noble sweet wines.

Weingut Heitlinger and Weingut Burg Ravensberg, Baden, 40000 cases,, an all dry selection of 6 wines, including a Erste Lage 2008 Riesling, Heitlinger uses catchy English terms like “Shiny River” for the label, seeking importer.

Weingut Adam Mueller, Baden,, Matthias and Nathalie Mueller poured a selection of dry or semi-dry wines focusing on red and white Pinots, seeking importer.

Christian G.E.Schiller with Nathalie Mueller

Weingut Lingenfelder, Pfalz, 10000 cases,, the wines of Rainer Karl Lingenfelder are well known and well regarded in the American market.

Christian G.E.Schiller with Rainer Karl Lingenfelder

Weingut Lucashof, Pfalz, 12500 cases,, Christine Lucas poured a selection of 5 wines, on the sweet side, including a sensational 2007 Rieslaner Beerenauslese from Forst.

Weingut von Winning, Pfalz, 21000 cases,, 3 good lower-end wines.

Weingut Deutzerhof, Ahr, 5800 cases,, one of Germany's leading red wine producers, Dorothee and Johann Hehle poured a selection of 3 red wines from the Ahr region, the Ahr region produces mostly red wines, seeking importer.

Metropolis Wine Merchants,, a selection of 3 wines from 3 smaller wine producer, all dry or semi-dry.

Weingut Friedrich Altenkirch, Rheingau, 8300 cases,, the unconventional German winemaker Ms. Tomoko Kuriyama from Japan makes these wines in Lorch, Katja Apelt, a "WineWorker" from Frankfurt am Main, presented a selection of 6 wines, all dry or semi-dry, all Riesling, including a semi-dry Auslese, seeking importer.

Picture: The table of Weingut Friedrich Altenkirch with Katja Apelt

Wein-Tainment, Rheingau,, the interesting selection of Franz Georg Eger included 3 classic Rheingau Riesling wines from the Winkeler Hasensprung vineyard and 3 unordodox wines under the label “Moog de Medici”; one of the “Moog de Medici’ was a dry Spaetlese, seeking importer.

Schloss Jahnnisberg, Rheingau, 20000 cases,, from the estate, where the Spaetlese was invented, 6 classic Rheingau Riesling wines on the sweet side, including an Esiwein.

Weingut Josef Leitz, Rheingau, 31000 cases,, one of the top German wine producers with a traditional Rheingau Riesling portfolio from a dry QbA wine to a sweet Spaetlese, the former one is the hugely popular 1-2-Dry wine.

Weingut Prinz von Hessen, Rheingau,, a selection of 5 classic Rheingau Riesling wines with a bone-dry Erstes Gewaechs premium wine and a sweet Auslese.

Weingut Balthasar Ress, Rheingau, 30000 cases,, a selection of 3 wines ranging from a dry Riesling to a sweet Spaetlese.

Weingut Wittmann,, 3 wines, all dry from one of the stars of German winemaking, a Wittmann wine was on the 2009 Top 100 Wine Spectator list.

Weingueter Graf von Schoenborn, Rheingau and Franken, 40000 cases,, 6 wines, all Riesling, except a typical Franken Silvaner Kabinett, a wonderful dry wine.

Sekthaus Solter, Rheingau, 6000 cases,, an all Sekt producer from Ruedesheim with 3 brut Sekts, Helmut Solter is seeking an importer.

Domchechant Werner’sches Weingut, Rheingau, 9000 cases,, Catharina Mauritz, the daughter of owner Dr. Michel, presented an excellent selection of 6 wines from Hochheim, ranging from a Riesling Classic to a bone-dry Erstes Gewaechs wine and a sweet Auslese write something about Hochheim.

Picture: Annette Schiller with Dr. Michel at the 30th Anniversary of the Hochheimer Weinfreunde, 2009

Karin Mueller Weinexport,, a new wine exporter from Nackenheim in Rheinhessen with a very interesting portfolio of mostly dry wines, Georg Mueller poured wines from Thoerle, A. Ziegler, Huff, Lubentiushof, Alexander Laible, Heyl zu Herrnsheim, seeking importer.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Georg Mueller

Palm Bay International,, an importer with a diverse portfolio including S.A Pruem from the Mosel, the brand “Blue Fish” and Schloss Rheinhartshausen in the Rheingau.

Wines of Germany had the most popular tables at the Riesling event - the table was called: 1990's - a Decade of Great Rieslings and it featured 18 wines, half of them in the Auslese category and one 1993 Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese from Weingut Buscher in Rheinhessen.

Picture: 1990's - a Decade of Great Rieslings

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

Best of German Dry White Wines and Winemakers - The Falstaff 2010 Ranking

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Wines - The 2009 Vintage

Germany's 15 Top Winemakers - the Feinschmecker 2010 Wine Guide

German Wine Basics: Schillerwein - A German Speciality

Wine Ratings: Riesling Cup 2009 - Germany's Top Dry Rieslings

German Wine Basics: Erstes Gewaechs, Grosses Gewaechs, Erste Lage

Germany's Best Red Wines: The 2009 VINUM AWARDS

Wine Ratings: Top 100 of the Wine Spectator 2009 includes Wittmann and Loosen

In the Glass: 2007 Rheinhessen with Oysters at the Ten Bells in the Lower East Side in Manhattan

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

Tasting Notes: German Wines imported into the US by Valckenberg

The 13 Top Dry German Rieslings - Feinschmecker Cup 2009 (Vintage 2008)

Wine Caravan from Germany Visiting the East Coast, US: Dr. Fischer, Fitz Ritter, Bolling-Lehnert, Schneider, Dr. Thanisch

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Italy's Top Wines - Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia 2010

One of the best, if not the best, Italian wine guides is Gambero Rosso’s Vini d’Italia. The 2010 issue includes 2,520 winemakers, divided by region. The best winemakers are awarded glasses, between 1 and 3, depending on the quality of their production and its continuity year after year. In this year’s guide there were 366 producers awarded glasses, of which 14 of them have been awarded 3 glasses.

Individual wines are also awarded glasses. 18000 wines were tested and assessed. Almost 400 of them got the top award of 3 wine glasses. For the first time, the Vini d’Italia has awarded Green Glasses for outstanding green wine. Green can mean many things in this context.

The winners are listed at the end of this blog posting.

Italian Wine

Italy is home of some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in the country long before the Romans started developing their own vineyards. Two thousand years later, Italy is world leader in wine, accounting for about 20% of world wine production. Italians also lead the world in wine consumption by volume, 59 liters per capita, compared with 8 litres per capita in the US. Wine is grown in almost every region of the country.

The Classification System

Italy's classification system has 4 groups of wine, with 2 falling under the EU category Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region (QWPSR) and 2 falling under the category of table wine. The 4 classes are:

Table Wine: (1) Vino da Tavola (VDT) - a basic wine, made for local consumption; the bottle label does not indicate the region or grape variety. (2) Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) - this appellation was created in 1992 for wines that were considered to be of higher quality than simple table wines, but which did not conform to the strict wine laws for their region.

QWPSR: (3) Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and (4) Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). Both DOC and DOCG wines refer to zones which are more specific than an IGT, and the permitted grapes are also more specifically defined. Presently, there are about 120 IGT zones, 310 DOC and 30 DOCG appellations.

Wine Regions

There is wine everywhere in Italy, from the Alps in the North to Sicilia in the South, clustered into 20 wine regions, which correspond to the 20 administrative regions. The about 30 DOCG wines are located in 13 different administrative regions but most of them are concentrated in Piedmonte and Tuscany.

The Piedmonte area of northwestern Italy is further divided into the two popular regions of Barbaresco and Barolo. The predominant grape there is the Nebbiolo. Northeastern Italy has the Veneto area. Soave and Valpolicella are two important regions that produce many local varieties.

Picture: Italy's wine regions

The large area in central Italy is Tuscany and is known for Chianti. The Sangiovese is the predominant red grape in Tuscany. The Chianti area of Tuscany is a large geographic area that is divided into eight zones. Each zone has a Chianti DOCG that regulates the Chianti made in that zone.

In Italy’s South are Puglia and the island of Sicily. The Negroamaro grape is widely grown in this area.

Italy’s Grapes

There are several hundreds of indigenous grapes in Italy. The following is a list of the most common and important ones.


Sangiovese - Italy's claim to fame, the pride of Tuscany. It produces Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese is also the backbone in many of modern-styled blends with Bordeaux varietals, typically aged in French oak barrels, to produce a wine for the world market: high-alcohol, fruity and jammy.

Nebbiolo - The most noble of Italy's varietals. Nebbiolo is difficult to master, but produces the renowned Barolo and Barbaresco. Traditionally produced Barolo can age for fifty years-plus, and is regarded by many wine enthusiasts as the greatest wine of Italy.

Montepulciano - The grape of this name is not to be confused with the Tuscan town of Montepulciano; it is most widely planted on the opposite coast in Abruzzo. Its wines develop silky plum-like fruit, friendly acidity, and light tannin.

Barbera - The most widely grown red wine grape of Piedmont and Southern Lombardy, most famously around the towns of Asti and Alba, and Pavia. Barbera wines were once considered as the lighter versions of Barolos. But this has changed. They are now sometimes aged in French barrique, intended for the international market.

Corvina - Along with the varietals rondinella and molinara, this is the principal grape which makes the famous wines of the Veneto: Valpolicella and Amarone.

Nero d'Avola - Nearly unheard of in the international market until recent years, this native varietal of Sicily is gaining attention for its plummy fruit and sweet tannins. The quality of Nero d'Avola has surged in recent years. Trader Joe’s sells a very good Nero d’Avola at a very reasonable price.

Dolcetto - A grape that grows alongside Barbera and Nebbiolo in Piedmont; a wine for everyday drinking.


Trebbiano - Behind cataratto (which is made for industrial jug wine), this is the most widely planted white varietal in Italy. It is grown throughout the country, with a special focus on the wines from Abruzzo and from Lazio, including Frascati. Mostly easy drinking wines.

Moscato - Grown mainly in Piedmont, it is mainly used in the slightly-sparkling (frizzante), semi-sweet Moscato d'Asti.

Pinot Grigio - A hugely successful commercial grape, known as Pinot Gris in France and Grauburgunder in Germany. Produces crisp and clean wines. Typically mass-produced wine in Italy.

Arneis - A crisp and floral varietal from Piedmont, which has been grown there since the 15th century.

Garganega - The main grape varietal for wines labeled Soave, this is a crisp, dry white wine from the Veneto wine region.

Gambero Rosso’s 2010 Awards

Winery of the year: Bruno Giacosa of Piemonte

Red wine of the year: Antoniolo, Osso San Grato 2005 Gattinara

White wine of the year: Clelia Romano, Colli di Lapio 2008 Fiano di Avellino

Sparkling wine of the year: Cavit, Altemasi Graal Brut Riserva 2002 Trento

Producer of the year: Gianfranco Fino of Puglia

Sweet wine of the year: Barattieri, Albarola Val di Nure Vin Santo1999 Colli Piacentini

Shooting Star of the Year: Gallegati of Emilia Romagna

Award for Sustainable winemaking: Elena Pantaleoni, La Stoppa, of Emilia Romagna

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Germany's Best Red Wines: The 2009 VINUM AWARDS

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hamburg's Red Light District and Wine

Picture: Hendrik Thoma, Lilo Wanders with Christian G.E.Schiller

I had the pleasure of participating in the production of one of Hendrik Thoma’s regular TVINO shows. This one was the debut TVINO Late Night show. TVINO is a very successful German version of Gary Vaynerchuck’s wine video show. The first TVINO Late Night Show was produced in Hamburg’s red light district and had very illustrious guests: a famous German travestite actor, a star sommelier from Berlin, and the owner of Hamburg’s top restaurant Old Commercial Room, who grew up in the red light district.

Picture: TVINO Late Night Show is Just Starting, Stephanie Doering in the Foreground and the 3 Star Guests in the Background

The Show is being released in 3 tranches. You can see them here.

Hendrik Thoma

Hendrik Thoma, the wine sommelier who has become a Web 2.0 sommelier, launched in collaboration with the wine retailer giant HAWESKO the internet TV series TVINO last year. There are on average two shows per week. With the backing of HAWESKO, they are very professionally done and very entertaining. Hendrik typically does the show either by himself, reviewing a couple of wines, or with a guest, tasting the wines with him or her. The guests have included such giant wine makers as the Antinori brothers from Italy, the German top wine maker H.O. Spanier from the Battenfeld Spanier Estate in Rheinhessen, and the French actor and super star Gerard Depardieu, who also produces wine.

Picture: Hendrik Thoma before the Show

This time, Hendrik introduced a new format, the TVINO Late Night Show: He was sitting with the three guests at a bar table for an hour and focused on each of them for about 20 minutes; only one of the guests was from the wine industry; there were about 30 people watching the show (I was one of them) and there was live music.

I have recently interviewed Hendrik Thoma via Skype. You can read the interview here and here.

Hamburg’s Red Light District St. Pauli

The show took place in Hamburg’s red light district St. Pauli. When I hear St. Pauli, several things come to my mind. First, it is a well known district of the city of Hamburg, Germany. Second, its soccer club, the FC St. Pauli has a long tradition and just qualified for Germany’s Bundesliga. Third, St. Pauli’s Reeperbahn has a long tradition as an amusement center. Hamburg has a big port and the Reeperbahn, the red-light district, is where the sailors were looking for amusement and relaxation. Prostitution is legal in Germany and this is the area, where you go, if you are looking for that kind of thing.

Picture: Hamburg's Red Light District

Fourth, there is not only sex at the Reeperbahn, but many other things. The Beatles lived and played in St. Pauli at the Star-Club before becoming famous. The singer and actor Hans Albers--the German Frank Sinatra--did the song "Auf der Reeperbahn Nachts um Halb Eins" (On the Reeperbahn half past midnight), which every German woman who is from that period can sing by heart.

Picture: Beatles at the Star Club in Hamburg

Fifth, ending on a personal note, a few years ago I spend a weekend in Hamburg with my son, just the two of us, first we saw Eintracht Frankfurt in a soccer match playing the HSV and then we saw amazing stuff at the Reeperbahn.

Restaurant Freudenhaus

The Restaurant Freudenhaus, which means "Brothel", is just in the middle of all this. This fun restaurant serves traditional German food with slightly naughty names. The interior is reminiscent of the more characteristic establishments of the district (red velvet, cupids on the wall), but it´s all in good humor. The food is excellent. You can get sinful schnitzel and kinky bratwurst, served with a pinch of irony. It also serves as the home of the St.Pauli Weinklub. I have reported about it here.

Pictures: Restaurant Freudenhaus Wirt Mathias Storm, Dirk Wuertz and Christian G.E.Schiller

Lilo Wanders

The undoubtedly most famous guest was Ernie Reinhardt, better know as Lilo Wanders, a famous German transvestite actor. From 1994 on until 2004 he was in his transvestite role as Lilo Wanders the host(es) of the German TV sex/erotic show Wa(h)re Liebe (a pun on true love and commodity love). He has described himself as being gay; nevertheless, he has a wife, two children and one foster child.

Pictures: Paul "Butche" Rauch, Billy Wagner, Lilo Wanders and Hendrik Thoma

Billy Wagner

Billy Wagner is the Sommelier of the Weinbar Rutz in Berlin. He has been in this position since June 2008, when he moved to Monkey's in Duesseldorf to Weinbar Rutz in Berlin. He is 28 and Berlin's sommelier of the year 2009. Whenever I am in Berlin, I try to stop at the Rutz Weinbar in the Chaussee Strasse 8 in Berlin-Mitte 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 their for the wine bar.

Pictures: Billy Wagner and Christian G.E.Schiller

Rutz Weinbar has an extensive wine list, about 1000 or so wines, largely from Germany and other European countries. For example, last time, Rutz offered 13 different wines from Weingut Kuenstler in Hochheim, Rheingau. The nice thing is that you can consume all wines for the wine-store- price plus a corkage fee of Euro 18. Winebar Rutz also has some excellent New World wines including about a dozen different vintages of Opus One.

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, with 1 Michelin star and 16 Gault Millau points. Chef Marcus Mueller offers a number of 5/6 courses menus for between Euro 55 and 105; you can also eat a la carte for Euro 20 to 30 per course.

I have written about Wein Bar Rutz here.

Paul “Butche” Rauch

He owns and runs the Old Commercial Room. This restaurant, founded in 1643, at the foot of St. Michael’s Church is so tied into Hamburg maritime life that many residents consider it the premier sailors' stopover. It is known in town for its Labskaus (sailor's hash), a local speciality of corned beef, potatoes, herring and beetroot;; if you order it, you're given a numbered certificate proclaiming you a genuine Labskaus eater. Fish dishes often include salted herring and roasted wild salmon. The restaurant's name speaks of the historic mercantile links between Hamburg and England.

Picture: Lilo Wanders, Paul "Butche" Rauch and Hendrik Thoma

Dirk Wuertz and his “Mein Wein”

Among the guests watching the show was also Dirk Wuertz. He poured his new wine “Mein Wein” for us.

Dirk Wuertz is an enigmatic winemaker from Rheinhessen in Germany, who exports a large part his wines to the US. Dirk is also one of the leading figures in Germany’s Web 2.0 scene. In January, Dirk launched his own internet TV show “100 Grad Oechsle”, the format of which is not very different from Hendrik Thoma’s TVINO Late Night Show.

My first indirect contact with Dirk was last year at the New York City top wine bar “Ten Bells” in lower Manhattan, where they sell his wine. It was a 2008 Riesling trocken "Bag in the Box" wine. Bag in a box wines are not yet very popular both in Germany and the US, but are rapidly gaining friends. Bag in a box wines – in a resealable plastic bag in a cardboard box – have many advantages. Unlike a bottle, which goes bad after a few days even when you pump the air out or spray preservers in it, wine in a box lasts. Inside the box, the wine bag collapses as you drink and the liquid doesn't get exposed to oxygen. It is also very advantageous in terms of carbon footprint. The hitch? Not enough winemakers are putting good wine in boxes.

Pictures: Dirk Wuertz and "Mein Wein" with Christian G.E.Schiller

Dirk Wuertz is one of the exceptions. In addition, he is good looking. He has taken advantage of this and has posed naked for the box of his “Mein Wein”, which he poured at the TVINO Later Night Show.

My tasting notes: straw color in the glass, attack of juicy green apple, pineapple and lemon on the nose, a light-bodied wine, fresh and crisp, good acidity, notes of nuttiness and muskiness with some petrol on the palate, refreshing finish, a very good party wine.

Web Sites

TVINO, Hamburg

Freudenhaus, Hamburg

Weinbar Rutz, Berlin

Old Commercial Room, Hamburg

Hendrik Thoma, Hamburg

Dirk Wuertz, Rheinhessen

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Friday, May 21, 2010

The Wines Served at President Obama's State Dinner for Mexican President Calderon

Picture: President Obama with President Calderón of Mexico and Mrs. Margarita Zavala and the First Lady Michelle Obama.

Following the Obamas’ 1st State Dinner, in November 2009 for India’s Prime Minister, on May 19, the Obamas welcomed President Calderón of Mexico and Mrs. Margarita Zavala to the White House. A State Dinner in Washington DC is supposed to reflect the best of American cuisine. But as an immigrant country, what is American cuisine? This dinner clearly had a Mexican soul, both the food and in particular the 3 wines. Two of the wines are made by Mexican-born winemakers who worked their way up to become America’s best. The sparkler is a French-Mexican-American joint venture, with even some German blood in it.

The Guests

Lots of celebrities were there, including Beyonce (who performed), Eva Longoria Parker, Whoopi Goldberg and talk show host George Lopez. The rest of the guest list was a mix of the usual crowd: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and other administration officials; members of Congress and various association types.

What Food and Wines did the First Couple Serve?

Jicama with oranges, grapefruit and pineapple citrus vinaigrette.
Wine: 2008 Ulises Valdez Chardonnay Russian River

Herb green ceviche of Hawaiian opah. Sesame-cilantro cracker.
Oregon Wagyu beef in Oaxacan black mole. Black bean tamalon and grilled green beans.
Wine: 2006 Herrera Cabernet Sauvignon Selección Rebecca

Chocolate-cajeta tart. Toasted homemade marshmallows. Graham cracker crumble and goat cheese ice cream.
Wine: NV Mumm Carlos Santana Brut Napa.

Chef Rick Bayless

Fittingly, award-winning chef-restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality Rick Bayless from Chicago prepared the meal; he has done more than any other culinary star to introduce Americans to authentic Mexican cuisine and to establish Mexican cuisine in the US. The first couple are no strangers to Bayless' cuisine, having dined out on his cooking in their hometown.

The Wines

2008 Ulises Valdez Chardonnay Russian River

From a remote village in Mexico to the elite winemakers in Sonoma County - this is the story of Ulises Valdez. He was borne in the rural areas of Mexico, quit school after third grade, went to Mexico City at age 10 to work with an uncle selling clothing at a flea market, and then moved to the State of Sinaloa to cut sugarcane. In 1985, he crossed the American border and made his way to Sonoma County, joining older brother Nicolas Cornejo to toil in the vineyards.

This year marks 25 years in the vineyard business in America for Ulises, first as field worker, then as a partner in the vineyard management business, and now owner of his own, Valdez & Sons Vineyard Management and Valdez Family Winery. He is now 37 and American citizen.

Sourced from Valdez's Silver Eagle Vineyard in Sonoma's Russian River Valley, the wine was released after the dinner with a suggested retail price of $50.

2006 Herrera Cabernet Sauvignon Selección Rebecca

Like Valdez, Rolando Herrera comes from Michoacan in Mexico. He began as a dishwasher in a Napa restaurant and now owns the highly regarded Mi Sueno Winery in Napa Valley. "Mi sueno" means "My Dream." In between, over a span of more than 20 years, he worked at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, moved over to Chateau Potelle and, Vine Cliff Winery, and became Director of Winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting.

The Seleccion Rebecaa, named after Herrera's daughter, is produced in very limited quantities, 100 cases, and sells for $125 a bottle.

NV Mumm Carlos Santana Brut Napa

The third wine is a Mumm Napa – not Mumm France – sparkler, which is produced by Mumm Napa in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning, Mexico-born rock super star Carlos Santana. It sells for $35. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Milagro Foun¬dation, Santana’s organization for underrepresented and underprivileged children around the world.

Santana Brut is the second collaboration between Santana and winemaker Dervin from Mumm Napa. Santana Brut contains only Napa Valley fruit. It is a classic blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Established in 1979, Mumm Napa is a partnership between France's Mumm Champagne family and American bourbon moguls Seagram & Sons. The Mumm family, whose lineage boasts barons and knights, can be traced back to the 12th century. In 1761, the German Peter Arnold Mumm started a wine production and distribution business in Cologne, Germany. Thanks to the good relations between France and Germany at the beginning of the 19th century, Peter Arnold Mumm’s three sons, Jacobus, Gottlieb and Phillip, were able to establish a Champagne house in Rheims in 1827 and the success story of Mumm Champagne began.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The 2010 World's Best 50 Restaurants

The 2010 World's Best 50 Restaurants

The annual "World's 50 Best Restaurants" list was released on April 25, 2010 in London, England, by the Italian water producer S.Pellegrino. It was the 9th edition of the much buzzed-about ranking of the international culinary landscape. For the past 4 years, Ferran Adria’s restaurant El Bulli in Spain had taken the No. 1 spot, but it was downgraded to second best this year.

The No. 1 spot went to Noma, a two Michelin star-rated restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark. Noma, helmed by chef René Redzepi, 32, who is half Danish and half Macedonian, ranked No. 3 in 2009. René Redzepi brought seven of his top 8 staff to London, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a picture of Ali, Noma's head dishwasher, who had fallen foul of Britain's immigration laws and wasn't granted a visa for the occasion.

Many commentators said that this promotion marks a shift away from laboratory cuisine toward cooking rooted in regional produce. Noma boasts that it does not use olive oil, tomatoes or nonseasonal garlic, as all of its produce is from Denmark and the neighboring Nordic countries. In addition, Ferran Adria had announced last December that the Mecca of molecular gastronomy was taking a break and will reopen as a nonprofit foundation -- a think tank of gastronomic creativity for 20 to 25 young chefs - in 2014.

This year’s most honored country is the US, with eight restaurants crowned: Alinea in Chicago, Illinois; Daniel, Per Se, Le Bernardin, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, wd~50 and Eleven Madison Park in New York; and The French Laundry in Yountville, California.

Britain’s The Fat Duck was downgraded to third for the first time since bursting onto the list at No. 2 in 2004.

Of the 50 top finishers, six are in France; Spain and Italy each have five. The best French restaurant is the Chateaubriand in Paris as No. 13 only. This provoked controversy, with French critics complaining that not a single French establishment made the Top 10, while there are 3 American restaurants in this group.

Gordon Ramsay, who has become a famous TV celebrity didn't have a restaurant in the top 50 this year. Leading French chefs Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon all had restaurants in the top 50.

Three German restaurants are on the list. Joachim Wissler’s Vendôme was promoted, while Harald Wohlfart’s Schwarzwaldstuben was demoted. And with the Aqua in Wolfsburg of Sven Elverfeld, there is a German newcomer on the list.

Here is the full list, including promotions and demotions:

1 Up 2 Noma Denmark Best Restaurant in the World
2 Down 1 El Bulli Spain Chef of the Decade
3 Down 1 The Fat Duck UK
4 Up 1 El Celler de Can Roca Spain
5 Down 1 Mugaritz Spain
6 Up 7 Osteria Francescana Italy
7 Up 3 Alinea USA Best Restaurant In N.America
8 Up 33 Daniel USA The Highest Climber
9 Down 1 Arzak Spain
10 Down 4 Per Se USA
11 Up 29 Le Chateaubriand France
12 Up 26 La Colombe South Africa Best Restautant in South Africa
13 Down 4 Pierre Gagnaire France
14 Up 2 L'Hotel de Ville - Philippe Rochat Switzerland
15 - Le Bernardin USA
16 Down 5 L'Astrance France
17 up 9 Hof Van Cleve Belgium
18 Up 6 D.O.M. Brazil Best Restaurant in South America
19 Up 10 Oud Sluis Holland
20 Up 29 Le Calendre Italy
21 Up 9 Steirereck Austria
22 Up 3 Vendome Germany
23 Down 2 Chef Dominique Finland
24 Down 4 Les Creations de Narisawa Japan Best Restaurant in Asia
25 Up 25 Mathias Dahlgren Sweden
26 Up 5 Momofuku Ssam Bar USA
27 Up 19 Quay Australia Best Restaurant in Australasia
28 Up 17 Iggy's Singapore
29 Down 11 L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon France
30 New Entry Schloss Schauenstein Switzerland
31 6 Le Quartier Francais South Africa
32 Down 20 The French Laundry USA
33 Down 4 Martin Berasategui Spain
34 New Entry Aqua UK
35 Up 7 Combal Zero Italy
36 Up 12 Dal Pescatore Italy
37 New Entry De Librije Netherlands
38 21 Tetsuya's Australia
39 New Entry Jaan Par Andre Singapore
40 New Entry Il Canto Italy
41 Re-Entry Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee France
42 Down 10 Oaxen Krog Sweden
43 Down 29 St John UK
44 Re-Entry La Maison Troisgros France
45 New Entry wd50 USA
46 New Entry Biko Mexico
47 Down 24 Die Schwarzwaldstube Germany
48 New Entry Nihonryori RyuGin Japan
49 New Entry Hibiscus UK
50 New Entry Eleven Madison Park USA

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