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Are there good wine bars in Munich? Why would you expect any?

When a wine map of Germany includes Munich it’s only because Germany’s second smallest wine region in Saxony is also on the map. And since that’s also so far-out to the east it makes sense to include Munich, straight down 400 km to the south.

The two closest wine regions to Munich are Baden and Württemberg. It’s not clear which of the two is closer. Esslingen in Württemberg is about 200 km away to the north-west. Meersburg of Baden is about 200 km away to the south-west.

London and Paris have vineyards close by. Stanlake Park is an hour by train from Paddington (ca. 50 km) while Paris has its own vineyards (Clos Montmartre). In the 16th century, Munich’s rulers from the House of Wittelsbach brought in wine — 40,000 litres or so — from Regensburg (ca. 100 km north). Regensburg had a serious wine-scene at the time developing out of vineyards held by local monasteries. Many of these were destroyed during the 30-years war (1618-1648). After the war beer replaced wine as the dominant alcoholic drink.

Anyway, we tried “Kork – Die Weinbar”, which is a pleasant tram-ride (Tram 16) away from the library on the Gasteig.

On the way from the tram stop at Müllerstrasse, the Mekong Markt, which sells an assortment of Asian food, has aromas of intense mustiness, like leather soaked with soya-sauce. A burst sewage pipe?

Kork Weinbar claims to specialize in German wine, but the wines on the board were all Austrian guests. We opted for 0.1 litres of Spring-Break Rosé by Weingut Zillinger (Niederoesterreich), coming in at around € 5 (the retail price for a bottle is 7.20). The tables are set high and there’s an open shelf of wines to look at. It wouldn’t make sense to buy any of the bottles here given the mark-up in price.

Apart from the rosé we chose the Herrenmorgen Riesling 2013 from the Pfalz, which was also about  € 5 / 0.1 l. The waitress rattled off a list of options, which you have to remember because none of them are written down. This is when the open display of bottles becomes useful, because you can walk over and find out the details about the wine you ordered by looking at the bottle. After finding the bottle I noted that this Riesling is made by Hanewald-Schwerdt, a producer from Bad Dürkheim-Leistadt.

Both the rosé and the Riesling were served very much too cold. By keeping their bottles in freezing conditions, the Kork bar can make its open bottles last longer. The rosé was salmon-pink and herbal. The Riesling had a nutty taste. Hanewald-Schwerdt is a member of the Barrique Forum in the Pfalz. Perhaps he exposes his whites to a bit of wood? Both wines were unremarkable with an Asparagus topped Flammkuchen and a plate of oil-drenched beans, etc.

It’s always difficult to decide whether to double-up or cut your losses.

In the end it was a good decision to order the Green Pepper Panacotta with a glass of 2013 Optima Auslese bei Bruno Bienert in Franken (Kork Bar price ca.  € 6 / 0,1 l compared to a list price  € 9  / 500 ml). The pepper and the sweetness went together well. But what made the whole experience worthwhile was the fact that this Auslese smells almost exactly like a fake Matcha shower-gel from Rossmann: Altera Duschgel Bio-Matcha ( € 0.58  / 100 ml). Rossmann’s online shop says that only the most valuable part of the green tea leaf are used in this shower-gel, providing a “mildly-spicy”, “alive-green” aroma for a “vitalising” experience of freshness: exactly like the green-Pepper Panacotta with Auslese.

Wine mark-up (menu price at Kork / retail price)

    • Spring-Break Rosé: 5,2
    • 2013 Optima Auslese: 3,3


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