Mark Steuer, chef at Funkenhausen in Chicago, has been honing his interest in low-intervention wines for the past 10 years. He enjoys curating a list of fun and funky wines that pair well with each dish. Wines at Funkenahausen are Germanic by nature (typically Old World), often sourced from lesser-known producers.
The wines also tend to have high acid and minerality — elements that pair well with everything on the menu at Funkenahausen. Here are a few of Steuer’s favorite reds for fall.
• Vinas Mora “Barbba”/ Dalmatia, Croatia/ Debit, Plain, Lasin, Marastina. “I love this red we just brought on for many reasons. I think it is a great transitional wine between summer and winter, and in Chicago, we all know that we need to make the most of whatever autumn we get. It’s got great fruit, body and structure but isn’t too tannic or dry. It’s perfect with roasted chicken or duck. Even a pork chop would shine with this gorgeous wine.”
• Weingut Schmitt “Frei Körper Kultur”/ Rheinhessen Germany/ Merlot, Dornfelder, Pinot Noir, Blauer Portugieser. “We’ve had this on the list for a little while now, and I love it so much. It’s a blend of several grapes, but it’s the merlot that shines through here. It translates as ‘Free Body Culture,’ and relates to the ethos of the winemakers. They do everything by hand and treat their grapes with respect, letting the juice speak for itself. I love it with cheese, charcuterie or a richer pasta or risotto.”
• 2Naturkinder Spätburgunder/ Franconia, Germany/ Pinot Noir. “This is a beautiful 100% pinot noir from Germany. I’d drink it by itself any day of the week, but it really shines with poultry, roasted fall vegetables like squash or Brussels sprouts or with a mild blue cheese.”
• Christian Tschida/ “Engel auf Erden”/ Cabernet Franc. “Possibly my favorite bottle of red on the list currently. Possibly because I love cab franc, but also because it’s just so damn tasty. Drinks a little lighter than a traditional cab franc, but still shines with duck and other game meats as well as meatier fish like a swordfish.”