When it comes to wine, what has been your biggest faux pas?
I sometimes have trouble recognizing cork or other wine faults immediately. I remember this evening when a friend and me emptied a bottle of La Fleur-Pétrus 1964 in a relatively short time. Because we had been drinking that fast, maybe a bit too quickly, I experienced some belching. It wasn't until I smelled the wine again, that I thought "Could that be cork?" Since then I always take my time to taste a wine. But to be honest, I prefer to let someone else do it!
Before the Corona crisis, you used to travel a lot on the job. What are culinary destinations that have made a big impression on you?
That's right, I traveled all over the world and sometimes had even more than 100 travel days a year. And yet I always keep discovering new places that inspire me. When I am at a destination, I like to visit not only the top restaurants, but also the smaller, local shops. There are so many places that have impressed me, from that great kebab in a place on the Montenegrin coast (BBQ Tangja in Kotor for those who are interested) to a heavenly dish of chicken, served in pork bladder with truffle and foie gras with a perfectly aged Bordeaux from the 60s, that I had in Restaurant Scharzer Adler in Vogtsburg-Oberbergen. I also think of Soneva, a culinary paradise in the Maldives with so many excellent restaurants and a wine cellar full of treasures, including French "garagistes", but also 100 Parker Point wines like a magnum of Ridge Montebello 2013.
Could you tell us about your most memorable wine moment?
Gosh, it’s hard to name only one. I can recall hundreds of great wines; when I drank them and with whom. I love matured wines, which I prefer to drink with good friends. If will mention the 3 moments that are dearest to me:
Château d'Yquem 1911 - I drank this with a heavenly terrine de foie gras with brioche and apricot compote. I had bought the bottle from a reliable source, an old school French Michelin star restaurant. The wine was still perfectly balanced, full of finesse and aromatic complexity.
Armand Rousseau Chambertin 2009 - This bottle I had with my wife Katharina the day after our wedding on Sicily. After two days of partying with family and our best friends, we sat together on a terrace watching the sunset. The Chambertin in our glass was absolute perfection; spicy, powerful and silky smooth at the same time. A moment of ultimate beauty and deep satisfaction.
Château Mouton Rothschild 1962 Magnum - This is actually a slightly weaker vintage, but it had a beautiful maturity, combined with a seductive smokiness. I had the opportunity to taste this wine during a special tasting with a club of great people and quite a few other great wines. While my tasting companions focused mainly on those other wines, at least half of the magnum was left for me to enjoy!