I went back to that wine store yesterday evening, and spent roughly an hour walking through the shop. I had a nice conversation (in German!) with a very nice employee. We talked about what kinds of wine I like, especially cabernets. We ended up having a little conversation about cabernets from different countries. As my experience with them is pretty well limited to the California cabernets, he recommended that I try a particular bottle of French cabernet, explaining that the taste was completely different–not as big and earthy, but still pretty distinctly cabernet. I ended up buying that and two other bottles, a dry (!) riesling Kabinett and some varietal called a samtrot, also Kabinett. For the uninitiated into German wines, Kabinett is a designation of wine quality. German wines are classified by quality and length of time left on the vine. A Kabinett is on the lower end of the high end of classifications, Qualitaetswein mit Praedikat (quality wine with distinction). That doesn’t mean that the wine is really any good, just that it isn’t total swill. I think I’ll probably go back today and buy some of the table wine from the barrels, because one, I think it’s really cool and want one of the bottles, and two, because I used the last of my cooking wine last night. Which brings me to last night’s dinner.
After the wine shopping, I wandered around to several of the market stands in the Altstadt, looking for something fresh to have with dinner. I found some sugar snap peas, one of my favorite vegetables. I headed home, and let them marinate in the last of my red cooking wine, along with some garlic, pepper, and a bit of salt. After 30 minutes or so, I pulled out the beans and sauteed them in butter, then dumped in a good bit of the wine marinade and some more garlic and reduced it down into a thick red wine sauce, which I then poured over the beans. It was one of the best meals I have ever cooked. Part of this is probably that I hadn’t really had any substantial greens for a while and so my body was clamoring for them, but rest assured that I’ll definitely be making this again.