The Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 2007
Bauhaus's resident wine expert, Alan Koller, is back with another tale about life, wine, and foie gras.
My German father was trained as a mechanic by Mercedes Benz back in the '50s. I remember growing up listening to his stories about how Mercedes did things. To say they were a little obsessive compulsive is an understatement. One of the things they did was have all the apprentices get their driver’s license, but the testing was to be done with instructors from the Mercedes race team. The first time my dad took the test he failed. Why? Because he failed to shift between 2nd and 3rd gear in the proper RPM range. Slightly different rules than our driving exams. With that, you have a bit of a vision of what childhood was like for me with a Mercedes-trained OCD father. The good news is, my mother was Canadian so I am well-balanced, just like the wine I am talking about. - Joh Jos Prum.
Fine wine in Germany is an exact science. It is the only country in the world that takes its signature varietal and creates 8 sweetness levels on top of its other classifications. There is never a harvest where pickers go into a vineyard and simply pick all the grape clusters. Top vineyards have a tool called a refractometer, which allows a picker to look at a single grape in a bunch and know the sugar content of that grape. If it is the correct sugar content, then they pick the grape bunch. If not, the grape is left on the vine. Robert Weil brags that in their best vineyards, pickers may go through a single vineyard up to 13 times in a season to pick.
Joh Jos Prum will handle their vineyards in a similar manor, except they almost never make a trocken or dry Riesling. They specialize in sweeter Riesling, and by most accounts they are the benchmark for Mosel Riesling. If we use price as an indicator then they definitely they are, their Trockenbeerenausese when it is produced can sell for upwards of $5000 a bottle upon release. Here's the good news: the Auslese we are serving is a steal at $240.
So what should you expect from this wine? Incredible complexity in a wine that is about a 5 out of 10 for sweetness. The flavour profile shows some green apple, but a great deal of peach and exotic tropical fruit. As it works around your palate, new flavours will emerge and keep you engaged. Near the end you will pick up on a hint of botrytis. It has a wonderfully crisp acidity that rounds out the sweetness - this is instrumental in the wine pairing. Without the acidity, pairing this wine to food would be tough.
What should you pair this dish with? At Bauhaus it is unquestionably the Foie Gras torchon. Upon request, we will serve just the torchon and brioche, and substitute the wine as the dish's fruit component. That is what I would do, and if you check with us, we may just have an alternate wine open for you to try as the pairing for the Foie Gras. It truly is an amazing pairing. If you try it at home, I suggest a quality blue cheese or some fatty pork, as both work exceptionally well with Auslese. I hope you get a chance to try it.
Germany's Sauerkraut vs Korea's Kimchi
Kimchi and Sauerkraut - they're both fermented cabbages, so how different can it get? The answer is very! Although sauerkraut, German for sour cabbage, is near and dear to our German hearts at Bauhaus, Executive Chefs Tim Schulte and David Mueller have created the Spring Tasting Menu's third course with the Korean classic dish that is kimchi.
Sauerkraut and kimchi, while possessing similarities, are made very differently and possess distinctive qualities. Sauerkraut is made from shredded cabbage heads and is fermented until sour. Kimchi is a spicy pickled or fermented mixture of cabbage, onions, and sometimes fish, along with various seasonings such as garlic, horseradish, red peppers, and ginger. The cabbage stems are kept intact, and is fermented with more salt and at a lower temperature than sauerkraut. It was originally producced in pots partially buried in the cold earth in late autumn and winter. The fermentation time of sauerkraut is longer, lasting for up to six weeks, where kimchi only ferments for three weeks.
What's the Difference?
When fully fermented and ready to eat, kimchi tastes like a crunchy pungent pickle that is saltier and less acidic than sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is more tart, with an almost flowery aroma thanks to some yeast growth. The two play supporting roles on the plate - kimchi jazzes up bland rice, and sauerkraut is a refreshing side dish for rich meats.
it's believed that preserved cabbage was introduced to Europe in its present form in the 13th century by Ghengis Khan after invading China. Since then, both kimchi and sauerkraut have secured top spots on various 'world's healthiest foods' lists for their amazing health benefits. They are both low in calories an high in fibre, antioxidants, and vitamins C and B. Additionally, sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin K, meanwhile kimchi provides generous amounts of vitamin A.
At Bauhaus, we are all about taking classic German and European techniques and creating exciting and modern dishes. With that in mind, East meets West with the Tasting Menu's pork belly. The pork melts in your mouth and is perfectly contrasted with the house-made kimchi, and is provided with textural contrast thanks to the peanuts and pork rinds.
Castiglion Del Bosco, Campo Del Drago Brunello Di Montelcino, 2010
Countless wine enthusiasts will be able to tell stories of different ‘ah-ha’ moments they've experienced with wine. What is an “ah ha” moment? It is that moment when wine went from something you drink to something you experience. My first moment was sitting in the lounge at the Pan Pacific Hotel in 1997. The 1986 Chateau Y’Quem was the wine that made me see what wine could be; the smell, the different layers, how it seemed to evolve in my month, the way it lingered for what seemed liked eternity, and of course the way it made me feel. I felt euphoric. That was my first big ‘ah-ha’ moment.
Thankfully, I have had a few more since then, and Castiglion Del Bosco has provided one of those moments. Five years ago, I was cooking at a friend’s house when he brought out the 1999 Campo Del Drago. I opened it, decanted it, took a sip and announced to my friends that I was going to put dinner on hold for an hour. They looked a bit confused and just shrugged. Then they found out why I stopped dinner. This wine deserved its own moment. It was an incredible combination of dried and aged cherry and dark berry flavours married with these layers of leather, tobacco, and chocolate. More importantly, the wine kept telling its story long after that first sip. It was ‘ah-ha’ moment for me and my friends that day.
Now as wonderful as my story sounds, you may be saying to yourself, “but you are offering the 2010. I won’t get the same experience.” I completely agree, you won’t. The honest truth is, until Brunello is about 15 years old you won’t get the full experience, and some will argue that it can take as much as 20 years or more before Brunello’s true story is told. Having said that, there is a very good reason to try the Campo Del Drago now - there is a great experience to be had in its youth. The moment you raise your glass up you will get this incredible eruption of bright cherry and dark berries all wrapped with a touch of smoke. On the palate, you will again experience the incredible fruit, with some beautiful spice and the beginning stages of an aged Brunello, and hints of tobacco and leather. The finish has soft tannins and a classic Brunello acidity. Trying this wine now adds to your foundation of knowledge of what a great Brunello can be, and if you ask me I will be able to tell you where you can find some to add to your own cellar.
There is one more way we can take this wine to the next level - with our incredible 30 day dry aged beef strip. The combination of the perfectly cooked steak with a light smoke from our charcoal and our chefs’ amazing collection of flavours from the onions will all marry themselves perfectly to this incredible wine. The fruit of the wine will add a new dimension to the dish, the spice and earthy tones add more depth to the onions, while the acidity will keep your palate fresh and lively from the first bite to the last!
I hope you get a chance to try the Campo del Drago, it is well-worth the price of admission.
If design history or design philosophy of the early 20th century aren’t listed in your favourite hobbies, you may not be familiar with the Bauhaus movement. With that being said, you're constantly surrounded by pieces of architecture and design influenced by the movement and philosophy. The Bauhaus, meaning “house of building” in German, was founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, by architect Walter Gropius. The school emerged out of late-19th century desires to reunite the applied arts and manufacturing, and to reform education.
The Bauhaus, which translates to “House of Building,” was founded by Walter Gropius as a school of arts in Weimar, Germany, in 1919. The Bauhaus was a combination of both crafts and arts, and as such its nature and concept was regarded as something completely new back then. Today, the historical Bauhaus is the most influential education establishment in the fields of architecture, art, and design. The Bauhaus existed from 1919 to 1933, and today the world considers it to be the home of the avant-garde of classical modern style in all fields of liberal and applied arts. The impact of Bauhaus still resonates today.
Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus strove to create a visionary and Utopian craft guild that would combine beauty with usefulness through architecture, sculpture, painting, and crafts and engineering. Structures built in the style of Bauhaus featured many aspects that would later come to define modern architecture – frame structures of steel, glass facades, etc. The Bauhaus was a trendsetter in architecture and design for a hundred years.
For us, we've taken the philosophy of the Bauhaus movement and applied it to European fine dining here in Vancouver. It's evident in our space with the large unadorned windows, steel beams, and simplistic leather chairs. It's also showcased in the plating and style of food - both elevated and simplistic, simultaneously refined and unpretentious.
Alan Koller, wine connoisseur and a member of the Bauhaus team, has created a new wine feature program called Secrets of the Cellar. We’ll be pairing up exclusive wines with dishes from our menus, breaking down the profile of each wine and why they’re so special. The first wine hails from Rheingau, Germany, August Kesseler’s 2013 Cuvée Max Pinot Noir.
The August Kesseler Winery has been around since 1924, and continues to be one of the few wineries to consistently produce world class Pinot Noirs that can rival some of the best that Burgundy and the New World have to offer. The Cuvée Max is Kesseler's flagship Pinot Noir and is only made in years where Mother Nature allows for the highest quality grapes to grow. This 2013 vintage was one of those years.
What should you expect from the Cuvée Max? Complexity is the first word that comes to mind. The classic black cherry, blueberry, and liquorice are all there as you would expect, but because of extended aging in large toasted barriques there are beautiful tones of black tea, smoke, and earth weaving its way through the rich fruit of the wine. What makes a wine a great wine is the length of conversation about the wine. The Cuvée Max is a long conversation. Each sip adds a new experience to the story.
Pair Kesseler's Pinot Noir with the Quail on the a la carte menu. With barley risotto, mushroom, and nettle, the dish is rich, succulent, and bursting with Spring's flavours, it's the ultimate pairing.
Healthy Oceans and Delicious Dishes