01 October 2012

Autumn Rieslings

My kitchen table topped with German wines and a Japanese lens... If this photo was taken 70 years ago I'd be considered a traitor and possibly a collaborator. I often wonder how people felt about this in previous centuries--given the constant warfare in Europe over the past thousand years, how long did people wait before becoming comfortable with the wines of a former enemy?

On happier topics, it's time once again for a pair of Rieslings from the folks at Wines of Germany.

While I never recommend wine with breakfast in the early morning, it doesn't mean that wine can't work well with breakfast foods at more reasonable hours. I've always been a big fan of "breakfast for dinner" and it reminds me of childhood, when we'd celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve when the clock hit midnight at Greenwich Mean Time and have pancakes and waffles and other goodies. I decided to make eggs benedict with sausage instead of Canadian bacon and chop up a pineapple (not pictured). The very simple adjustment to the classic recipe was delicious, and I added a little Trinidadian Scotch bonnet/papaya hot sauce to mine. While it shouldn't be a surprise, eggs and butter and sausage go particularly well with Rieslings...

2011 Wittman 100 Hügel Riesling Trocken
$21, 12% abv.

Green apples and delightful mineral structure. Bright acidity that puckers your lips just enough to please, but not sour or astringent in the slightest. Dry but fruit-forward and I love to expose this style of Riesling to people for the first time.

2011 Weinkellerei J. & H. Selbach Spätlese Riesling
$18, 10% abv.

The sweeter bottle has a honey profile. A little dark, a little musk, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Ripe pear aromas and that luscious nectar flavor. While this worked well with the breakfast food, it was a surprising pleasure with a simple lunch of hot dogs on the following day. Who would have thought that a German wine would pair well with a Frankfurter? < sarcasm > Seriously, I wasn't using artisan Berkshire pork and wild turkey sausages with natural casings, just normal everyday Oscar Mayer franks. Have you tried great Riesling with a hot dog? Give it a try and connect with the tube meat traditions of Deutschland. It's a fun alternative to the beer and brats tailgating ethos, and one that I would highly recommend during football season.

If wine is going to be an important part of the American food culture, it has to get served during football games. The great part is that all of the great kickers come from classic European wine regions, so you can pair by country. It might be hard to find a Czech or Luxembourg wine in your area, but you can still toast and celebrate a victory with grapes that were stomped as hard as the losing team.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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