Tag Archives: food pairing

2012 Domaine des Aubuisières Cuvée de Silex Vouvray

Different vintage, same bottle (Photo taken from Peter Weygandt, the importer’s, website – click the photo to get there)

I don’t know about you, but I am getting so sick of this winter weather in Michigan. The other day we had rain/snow/thunderstorm conditions resulting in slush everywhere. I come from one of Germany’s warmest regions, and am not used to these several month long winters that just drag on and on…

On the wine front, winter also means more red wine consumption for me. It comes naturally, but I am also realizing I am getting a tad tired of drinking mostly reds. Always a sure sign winter better be over. I do drink whites during winter as well, but especially the lighter, easy to drink Rieslings often don’t quite feel right, and our treasure chest of good, deeper, heavier Rieslings has been dwindling as of late. The more I relished Nina’s find from a few months ago: The 2012 Domaine des Aubuisières Cuvée Silex, a wine from the Vouvray region. This is definitely a first on this blog: A French white. OMG, what’s wrong with me??

Let me give you some background on Vouvray: It’s an AOC region in the Loire valley in Western France, just east of Tours. The region is France’s largest producer of Chenin blanc grapes, which are naturally high in acidity. Its climatic conditions are favorable to noble rot (botrytis) which is usually helpful in producing very sweet, age-worthy wines (like BA or TBA in Germany, or Sauternes in France). Vouvray also produces sparklers for those so inclined.

Our bottle from Domaine des Aubusières is owned by Bernard Fouquet with 28 hectares under vine. Apparently, Fouquet is a younger guy and has garnered some praise for his wines (see his importer’s page, and there is a pretty cool portrait about the winery from 2009 on the Jim’s Loire blog). He makes single vineyard and cuvée wines. The wine we had, the Cuvée de Silex, grew on clay soils, and has 9 grams of residual sugar per liter (at low end of medium-sweet when you look at German wine law), 6.85 gr/l of acidity, and ticked in at 13% ABV. Nina had discovered it at a tasting hosted by Village Wine Corner, a local wine shop with tons of charme and tastings every other month, and loved it for what she described as “cinnamon wine”. Now you see why this wine could make sense in cold weather, right?

Here are my tasting notes from when we tried it the other day: The color a bright yellow, the nose showed lightly smoky aromas, citrus, and hints of cinnamon (not as much as Nina seemed to remember). The alcohol was noticeable, but not oppressive. On the palate, the first thing I noticed, was how good it felt in the mouth. It had the right amount of – I don’t want to say silkiness, because that wasn’t it; I want to use the word woolly, do you get what I mean? It was heavy enough to warm me, yet showed great acidity which kept it fresh. The feel of this wine had a soothing quality, it made me want to cuddle up with it. Maybe that’s why I am thinking woolly. There were aromas of grape and again, slight cinnamon. The wine tasted dry, the sugar was no issue whatsoever. It paired exceptionally well with some soft cheeses we had (particularly with a Délice de Bourgogne, a triple cream brie type cheese). We shared the bottle with friends and it went down in no time…I am not sure it would drink that well in the summer, but to me, this was a great, great winter white. They exist. We just have to find them!

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2011 Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett feinherb and Korean food

Moselriesling with Korean food

Having written about the photo exhibition in Seoul in my post last week has made me think of Korea and Korean food a lot. I spent 5 months in Seoul in 2000/2001 and fell in love with Korean cuisine there. Then later, I learned to appreciate the wonderful pairing possibilities that riesling and Korean food have. Especially the off-dry and sweeter rieslings. While Korean food tends to be very hot and also has strong notes of sour (think kimchi, 김치, the Korean marinated and fermented cabbage that tastes very sour), these semi-sweet rieslings bring fruitiness and sweetness to the dishes. This compliments the sour notes heavily. The acidity in the wines makes them refreshing relief from the heat of Korean food. They truly can form a great pair. And it works the other way around, too: Take bulgogi, 불고기, the Korean national dish. It is marinated beef that gets broiled at the table. The marinade is actually quite sweet. That is were the acidity of the rieslings gives a great counter-balance. One cannot help but think ying and yang.

Cucumber kimchi

Luck had it, that I also discovered a Korean grocery store in Ann Arbor and finally biked there. Their selection is fantastic, truly anything a Korean stomach could ever ask for. So I bought kimchi mandu (김치만두, small dumplings filled with kimchi, the Korean fermented cabbage), japchae mandu (잡채만두, dumplings with a glass noodle filling), kimchi fried rice (김치볶음밥) and several of the traditional Korean side dishes, or banchan (반찬): marinated lotus root, radish kimchi, cucumber kimchi, and garlic roots. All of them, except for the japchae mandu were pretty hot.

We opened one of the recently arrived Karl Erbes 2011 wines that a friend of ours had brought from Germany for us. It was the 2011 Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett feinherb. I prefer the kabinetts with Korean food, because they are a bit lighter and offer more of the refreshing relief than spätlesen. The color of the wine was very light, translucent. In the nose, I smelled the typical Würzgarten. Würzgarten translates to “spice garden” or “perfumy garden”, and these wines tend to have very floral notes in their nose, it is almost a trademark for this hill. Some alcoholic notes, grassy, a bit like the freshness of asphalt after a rain (in a good way!). The texture was velvety. It also tasted rather typical for Würzgarten: floral, some apple, very fresh. The wine seemed a bit off balance, which could be blamed on the fact that it had just travelled for quite a bit and not settled down yet. It is also still very young! It did go quite well with the food. However, a bit more sweetness would probably have helped (and that is more on me for picking a less sweet wine than on this wine!).

The next day, we had some more sips to truly appreciate the wine on its own. It is a very nice wine. The nose was still stunningly beautiful after 24 hours. The taste is incredibly fresh and refreshing. I would love to try this again in 6-9 months. Karl Erbes wine can be bought in the U.S. There are several wine merchants that offer his wines.

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