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The best restaurant in the world: in the UK

Prellenkirchen in Yorkshire


Well, this is a nice surprise: on 11 October, the restaurant Black Swan in Oldstead (North Yorkshire, UK) was selected by Trip Advisor as the best in the world. And a white wine from the Spitzerberg (in the growing region Carnuntum, in Austria) is being served with their tasting menu!

Black Swan at Oldstead North Yorkshire 2017 © Black Swan
One michelin star for the Banks brothers, and now the award of TripAdvisor. The Black Swan at Oldstead, North Yorkshire © Black Swan

It was just about ten years ago that Tommy und James Banks took over the place.
Back then it was a rundown pub, and the brothers were seventeen and nineteen years of age. Together with their parents and a small team of co-workers, the brothers took the matter in hand; they renovated the place, invested in it, and created a new culinary style – here ‘farm to fork’ cuisine finds its finest expression. All those involved here work cultivating the vegetable garden, and all participate in the harvest. Even the interior appointments were designed and fabricated as a cooperative effort. Innovation and individual responsibility are the two pillars upon which the young enterprise has been built.

It took only seven years for Tommy Banks – at age twenty-four – to be awarded a Michelin star. Now, Trip Advisor has named Black Swan as the best Fine Dining restaurant in the world, followed by another British eatery, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, in New Milton.

And there is a wine from Carnuntum (Austria) that catches the eye among the wine-pairings for the Menu de Dégustation: its name is Prellenkirchen, and it comes from Weingut Muhr-van-der Niepoort.

Grower Dorli Muhr tells about the wine:
The wine is grown on the Spitzerberg in Prellenkirchen (Carnuntum). I submitted it on five separate occasions for the official control number, and five times it was rejected as ‘not meeting the quality standards’. I ultimately bottled it as Landwein (instead of Qualitätswein) – with which it could bear no more detailed designation of origin, region or village. I was even obliged to disguise the name on the label. (The wine is labelled P…………N)

Degustationsmenu Jakobsmuscheln mit Selleriecreme im Black Swan 2017 © Black Swan
Prellenkirchen is served with the scallops © Black Swan
Black Swan Menu with Prellenkirchen 2017 © Black Swan
To make this wine, Grüner Veltliner clusters were trodden with the foot, and fermented on the skins – then matured for a year in large wooden cask before it was bottled with about 10% Riesling.
We vinified an ‘orange wine’ before we ‘ve heard about this category exists, smiles Dorli Muhr. Wines of this type require time in order to develop. Now, after five years in the bottle, it is simply splendid. In Austria we run up against and push back against – and not only with the tasters for the federal control number – rejection and lack of understanding. But sommeliers all over the world are quite enthusiastic about the wine.

James Banks from Black Swan is one of them. He serves the 2011 Prellenkirchen with a dish of scallops, accompanied by celery from the restaurant’s own vegetable garden in fermented celery juice and dill, reduced to a fine cream.
The marvellously attractive earthy/acidic notes along with the sweetness of the scallops, together with the white wine cuvée from Spitzerberg, provides an astonishing flavour experience, says Banks with obvious enthusiasm.

P…………N 2011 is currently available at selected wine merchants, as well as through

PICTURES (downloadable)