Talking wine with...

Talking wine with...

Tim Raue, Michelin Chef

In our interview series Talking Wine with..., we are talking with interesting people from the international world of wine about their love of wine.

How did they become wine lovers? What are their favorite wines? And what was their most disappointing bottle ever?

Today we are Talking Wine with chef and restaurant owner Tim Raue (Berlin, 1974). He is one of Germany's best-known and most awarded Michelin chefs. His Restaurant Tim Raue in Berlin has 2 Michelin stars, 19 Gault Millau points and ranks 40 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list. Raue gained world fame after his appearance in season 3 of the Netflix hit series Chef's Table. In his restaurant he masterfully combines Asian flavors with a dash of Berlin guts. We spoke to Tim about his love of food, Berlin, but most of all about his great love of wine.

Picture: Nils Hasenau 



fAVORITE WINERIES: Domaine Armand Rousseau, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Emmanuel Rouget, Krug, Sine Qua Non, André Macionga Cuvée, Château Margaux, Château Latour, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Haut-Brion and Château d’Yquem

best of wines favorites
Sine Qua Non
15-20 year old Burgundy
Bordeaux (I always seem to end up there)

As a two-starred Michelin chef you obviously have a great passion for food, but we know you are quite a connoisseur and lover of fine wines as well. Could you explain where your love for wine originated?

I owe that to Franz Raneburger, chef and owner of the first Michelin-starred restaurant I worked for (Bamberger Reiter in Berlin, 1995-1997). He was the one who taught me to be an entrepreneur. His biggest lesson: make sure you are not dependent on your sommelier. In their first weeks on the job, sommeliers buy for tens of thousands of euros worth of wine from their favorite domaines, when they move on after a year or two, the next sommelier prefers to work with other producers and you have to change the whole wine list again. This process will continue to repeat itself unless you have a developed wine knowledge yourself as well. That inspired me to delve into the world of wine and to develop my own taste. In our restaurant, it goes without saying that the sommelier has a lot of freedom, but within the limits of the existing wine list. I compare it to a coach who is brought in to train a top football club and who is allowed to put his philosophy into practice, but with the players he has at his disposal.

You are running one of the most awarded restaurants in the world. What is the role of wine and how important are wine-food combinations in your restaurant?

The restaurant is owned by my business (and ex-) partner Marie-Anne Raue, we run it together. Marie-Anne and André Macionga, our sommelier and restaurant manager since the opening of the restaurant, work with the philosophy that wine can give a dish a different perspective. Wine can be the fresh component of a dish but a wine can also give some air in a dish with many different flavor components. The main thing is that the combination must cause a moment of happiness. Over the years we have developed a number of classic combinations. For example, we often serve sake with fish or vegan dishes with many herbs, Vouvray demi-sec with shellfish and a pinot noir or a beautiful Châteauneuf-du-Pape with poultry or meat dishes.

I am most proud of the wines that our sommelier André Macionga releases under his own label. His first wine was the cuvée "Es ist wie es ist", a collaboration with winemaker Horst Sauer (VDP Weingut Horst Sauer). A complex, oxidatively developed white wine, specially created by André to perfectly complement our dishes. There are now more than 12 different cuvées in this series, including a Champagne we serve by the glass in the restaurant.

According to you, which are the German wineries every wine lover should know?

We have been working with Weingut Jochen Dreissigacker for decades. His whites have such a fine and elegant minerality to them. They fit our finely structured starters and fish dishes perfectly. For me, the pinot blanc "Einfachacker" is Dreissigacker’s most elegant wine, full of finesse and floral aromas. We also serve his "Kolibri", a Rheinhessen Morstein Riesling which he makes exclusively for our dish "Wasabi Kaisergranat". The wine offers a unique interplay between spicy acidity, elegant fruit and a creamy body, which perfectly matches this signature dish of ours. Wineries that have been on our wine list for a long time and also make special cuvées for us are Weingut Markus Schneider and Weingut J.J. Prüm. From the beginning of my wine career, I have been a big fan of the Prüm rieslings. Their 15-20 year old Spätläse might even be my perfect wine.

What is your favorite everyday wine?

Frankly, I don't tolerate alcohol very well. I rarely drink, but when I do I'm a wine snob haha, only the best of the best!

You understand we have to ask a Michelin chef this question... What is the tastiest dish you've ever had?

Frankly, that's one of my own, inspired by a dish my grandmother used to make for me: Königsberger Klopse, which are meatballs in a creamy white sauce with capers. I can always eat that dish, day or night!

We have known you as a proud Berliner. What are your favorite places in Berlin that we should definitely visit when we can travel again?

I would definitely recommend the wine bar Freundschaft, it is the perfect start for an evening out. Some great restaurants that I like to visit are Tulus Lotrek (French / German cuisine), Nobelhart & Schmutzig (they mainly work with local products, great wine list), Brasserie Colette (my own French brasserie concept), Osteria Centrale (my favorite Italian in Berlin. Pure flavors and they have a fantastic wine list with over 600 bottles from the 90s and 00s.)

"From the beginning of my wine career, I have been a big fan of the Prüm rieslings. Their 15-20 year old Spätläse might even be my perfect wine"

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!

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