Sommelier Secrets Germany: Andy Benn

Andy Benn

Recently moving to Michelin Bib Gourmand Barra from one Michelin star Nobelhart & Schmutzig is restaurant manager and sommelier Andy Benn. Barra focuses on seasonal shared plates and low-invention wines.

‘I’d say that half our clientele are German and the rest are made up of tourists and expats. We have around 80 wines on the list which is European focused, but not just the classic regions – we have a fair bit from Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Greece and Austria.

‘We update it every day as we have a small space, meaning we can buy in those harder-to-find gems that are only produced in small quantities. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, but for our customers there never seem to be enough wines from the Jura or skin-contact wines from Slovenia and Friuli.

‘At home, I’m a stickler for “Gang of Four” Beaujolais, especially Foillard and Lapierre.’

Top Tip:

‘Tannic orange wines with smoky food. We recently had smoked eel on the menu and I kept coming back to the pairing again and again. Really intense flavours smashing into each other, somehow works.’

Anecdote:

‘During a harvest a few years ago, I was unloading vans filled with grapes stacked in red crates. Village grapes were offloaded first and emptied into the village tanks, while the premier crus were last off and crates marked with an X. As we were coming to offload the premier crus on one van, I thought it would be funny to joke that I couldn’t see any Xs on the remaining boxes, hinting that we’d chucked all the premier cru grapes into the village tank. One of the owners burst into tears and there was some screaming. I had to backtrack and show them all the boxes with the Xs on them. I’ve not been invited back.’


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