A restaurant called Marktwirt is just a hundred steps or so northwest from the centre of the Viktualienmarkt. The Viktualienmarkt itself hosts a few shops with serious assortments of wine and cheese. It’s also hard to miss the Nymphenburg Sekt Cafe. Nymphenburg Sekt is a Bavarian sparkling wine producer.
I do not know of any serious vineyards around Munich. There are certainly no grapes growing around the former hunting grounds of the Bavarian nobility in Nymphenburg. Nymphenburg Sekt admits on its website that their stuff is made from grapes (do they mean bulk wine?) collected from all around Europe.
The Sekt Crystal Cabinet is competitively priced and trocken. Trocken is the German for dry, which is the third-sweetest type of sparkling wine (17-32 g or residual sugar per litre), which means you’ll find it rather sweet. Cabinet is a label word that doesn’t mean anything.
The premium sparkling wine from the house of Nymphenburg is called Koenig Ludwig II. Koenig Ludwig II was the eccentric King of Bavaria from 1864-1886. Among other things, he is responsible for the fairy-tale Schloss Neuschwanstein, which inspired the castle of the beast in Disney’s “The Beauty and the Beast”. It’s seen as one of Germany’s most iconic landmarks, particularly in east Asia (you can experience what it’s like to inhabit the eccentric vision of Ludwig II by visiting the Castle Hotel in Dalian, north-east China.)
Koenig Ludwig’s castle may draw millions of tourists every year, but his Sekt isn’t Deutsch. It is extra-trocken (which is still quite sweet) and about one Euro more expensive than the Crystal (spotted in a supermarket for € 5,49). The reason it’s not German is proudly advertised by the makers of Nymphenburg Sekt: half the wine that goes into it is German and the other half is French. Now according to German wine law, this means it doesn’t qualify to carry “Deutscher Sekt” on the label. But note that this lack of pedigree is probably seen as a plus by proud Bavarians with local loyalties.
Eventually you will find yourself on the Heiliggeiststrasse (Holy-Ghost road) which is where the Marktwirt restaurant is located. There’s space to sit outside by the wall in front of the restaurant. Don’t worry about sitting here if it looks like it’s about to rain. Rain covers can appear out of the wall if necessary.
The Marktwirt has a good-looking selection of open wines and we chose the 2014 Riesling Hochgewaechs from Weingut Margaretenhof in the Saar ( € 3.40 / 0,1 l) and a 2013 Ursprung Trocken ( € 3.5 / 0.1 l), which is a red “Cuvee” of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot und Portugieser from the Weingut of M. Schneider (Pfalz). The Cuvee was soft and harmlessly pleasant at first and then it began to open up when there was very little left in the glass and the Schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock) was out of the way. In Eric Asimov’s bipolar classification of wine: it started off sweet (fruity and round) before revealing a savoury promise.
The Saar-Riesling was superb. It zipped along the “Scholle – Finkenwerder Art” — plaice topped with diced bacon in a generous amount of butter, but it also matched the Schweinshaxe. This is a wine worth buying a case of. It will be interesting to test its facets against other food.
In terms of restaurant-etiquette I was told at the Marktwirt that any wine order is always assumed to be for the larger 0,2l glass unless explicitly requested otherwise. We got into trouble for not following this protocol. Judging by the two wines we had, if you ever find yourself at the Marktwirt, keep your options open by ordering the smaller glasses…
Wine mark-up (menu price at Marktwirt / retail price)
Links and Further Reading
- The Marktwirt’s wine list
- Factsheet for Margaretenhof’s Riesling Hochgewaechs
- Wine in Two Words by Eric Asimov
- The Schloss in Dalian
- Supermarket check for Nymphenburg Sekt