For a sublime culinary delight head to this little gem in Germany’s sun-drenched Kaiserstuhl wine country
This legendary hotel and winery combo owned by iconic chef, winemaker, and former president of German football (soccer) association Fritz Keller is a must-visit destination for all wine lovers and culinary geeks.
Like so many of Germany’s small rural culinary destinations, this one too is difficult to come across without knowing where to go. And on the rare occasion one might unexpectedly stumble upon this little gem, chances are high it will be fully booked already.
When I am away on a trip to the German wine country, it’s the places like Schwarzer Adler I am looking for. Small, unpretentious, yet deeply rooted in the place and displaying a sense of welcoming and ambition to make wonderful memories for those visiting.
Schwarzer Adler: French-inspired Wining & Dining
At home in the beautiful Kaiserstuhl area in the southwest of Germany, the warmest and sunniest corner of the country, where in particular burgundy grapes are thriving and the proximity to France makes itself felt in the local cuisine, Schwarzer Adler looks back on an exciting journey of culinary excellence and winemaking spanning more than a century.
Founded in 1893 as a small inn and restaurant by chef and wine cooper Franz Anton Keller after returning from stints in Reims (the celebrated unofficial capital of the Champagne winegrowing region of France), Paris and London, Schwarzer Adler has gone through tremendous change yet always remained true to its origins.
Exquisite French-inspired food is part of Schwarzer Adler’s DNA right from the start and the kitchen still pays tribute to the past, serving dishes already on the menu when Fritz Keller’s mother Irma was in charge, though in an adapted modern style. By the way it was Irma who in 1969 gained the restaurant’s first Michelin-star. Which the restaurant kept to this date – except for one single year (in 2020).
Thus, on the menu expect such classics like Turbot with beurre blanc, frog legs in parsley butter, Anjou pigeon, or oven roasted poularde.
Inspired from the start by the nearby French cuisine and offering French wines as early as 1947 thanks to the strong bands Franz Anton had kept with fellow French winemakers and chefs, Schwarzer Adler Restaurant has kept a French-inspired menu to this date. Including dishes served when Fritz Keller’s mother Irma was at the helm of the kitchen – and in 1969 gained the restaurant’s first Michelin-star.
The Michelin-starred restaurant is not the only place to enjoy excellent foot at Schwarzer Adler, however. 200-year-old Winzerhaus Rebstock across the road, featuring rural wooden furniture and a beautiful little courtyard, serves traditional local seasonal food from the Baden/Black Forest region such as flammkuchen, Black Forest trout, venison stew, and the likes.
Common to both restaurants is an excellent wine list, including of course wines from the own Schwarzer Keller Winery along with a focus on wines from nearby France but also many excellent international bottles.
With so many excellent wines on the list to choose from, or like us opting for a wine pairing means your visit at Schwarzer Adler Restaurant or Winzerhaus Rebstock is likely involving various glasses of wine. Thus, it is a good thing you can also stay overnight.
Rooms at Schwarzer Adler are located either in the main building above the restaurant or across the road next to Winzerhaus Rebstock. They offer what I would call ‘rural comfort’ – spacious, functional, clean, with wooden furniture and all the amenities you would expect. Thus, perfect to relax after a day out in the vineyards and sleeping over following a wine-laden dinner. The next morning, expect a wonderful breakfast buffet and eggs any style from the kitchen.
Weingut Franz Keller
Just outside the little town of Oberbergen, home to Schwarzer Adler Hotel and Restaurant, and still in walking distance, lies the Keller family’s architecturally stunning modern wine cellar.
Now run by the 4th generation under the helm of Friedrich Keller, Franz Keller Winery is known as one of the pioneers of barrique aging and creating full-bodied fermented wines. While this is still true for certain wines, today the winery also stands for lighter, elegant wines with varied aromas.
In the vineyard, yields are often significantly reduced to obtain the highest quality. Grapes ripen in a highly aromatic manner and are usually hand-harvested.
Tucked into the hillside, the terrace-shaped building almost vanishes into the vines. The unique structure of the building – and its rooftops covered with indigenous crops from the nearby nature reserve Badberg – allows for an energy-efficient winemaking process, creating perfect climatic conditions for the maturing and storage of the wines.
Unsurprisingly, the focus on sustainable procedures continues in the vineyard, with organic fertilization, mechanical vineyard cultivation and planting cover cops along with yield reduction through thinning.
Like at the restaurant, here at the winery the proximity to France is making itself felt with a strong focus on burgundy wines. Nevertheless, Franz Keller wines are made with the intension to highlight a distinct local identity. Franz Keller wines are furthermore made with their food pairing potential in mind, determined by the family’s gastronomic background.
Among the winery’s legendary wines are Oberbergener Bassgeige 1st growth including a white, pinot grigio and red variety. Oberbergener Bassgeige vineyard is one of the top vineyards in the Kaiserstuhl area and Germany overall. It takes its name from the unique shape of the vineyard remembering a bass violin.
A large tasting room provides stunning views over the surrounding vineyards along with the opportunity to taste several of the superb wines.
If you love combining vineyard stays with excellent food and wine experiences, Schwarzer Adler Hotel and Restaurant is a must-visit destination.