Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Choucroute Challenge

For the past few years, one of my dear coworkers has started a tradition that I hope she doesn’t retire. She’s made a big batch of absolutely delicious choucroute garnie and brought it into the shop to feed us hungry wine warriors on the last retail Saturday before Christmas. It’s one of the busiest days of the year, so the warm belly glow and slow-burn energy that results – I had a hard time not going back to the pot for a third helping this year – is more than welcome.

Each year, we’ve taken the opportunity to taste a few wines that, at least in theory, should be natural matches to the flavors, ingredients and richness of the dish. As the tradition for choucroute is most strongly tied to Alsace, we’ve perforce included at least one or two Alsace wines in the line-up. For two years running, though, a German wine has come out on top as the best pairing. Last year’s winner was Andreas Laible’s 2005 Baden Ortenau Durbacher Plauelrain Scheurebe Spätlese trocken; the wine’s big, spicy, grapefruit driven persona stood right up to the porcine goodness of all those mixed meats and kraut. This year’s prize was taken more by mineral, nerve and an underlying spine of intensity, all fronted by a beautiful combination of white peach, green apple and quince. It was the 2005 Saar Wiltinger Schlangengraben Riesling Auslese halbtrocken from Johann Peter Reinert, just scintillatingly good, especially with the veal sausages.

3 comments:

Bill L said...

out of interest, did you happen to try any of the german/alsatian pinot noirs in the store?

Tom Hudson said...

I recently tried my first Scheurube varietal. I found this cross between Riesling and Silvaner to be very Riesling-esque, with high acidity.

The wine was Fritz Windish “Bodenheimer Leidhecke” Scheurebe Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2005.

David McDuff said...

Bill,
Not on this occasion. We did get to taste Barmes' Pinot Noir Reserve when Francois and Genevieve stopped by not long ago. And something tells me you may have drunk Ratzenberger's Spatburgunder more recently than I.

Tom,
Are you pouring any Scheurebe at Domaine Hudson?

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