10 January 2011
Journey to Alsace: 2008 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling with Bratwurst and Sauerkraut
I've been passionate about wine since I moved to San Francisco and discovered the truth of the Mark Twain attributed phrase: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." To escape the bone-chilling cold, my husband and I spent our weekends tasting wine in Napa and Sonoma. What started as a quest for sunshine quickly turned into a love affair with wine.
Ever since, I've been thirstily lapping up any wine I can find, with particular affinities for Pinot Noir, German Riesling and Champagne. Because my wine travels have been limited to California and Oregon (my honeymoon was in the Willamette), I've decided to travel the wine regions of the world through food and wine pairings sampled at home.
I'm beginning my wine journey in Alsace and will move on from there. First up are the generally dry Alsatian Rieslings, quite a departure from the sweet-balanced Spatlesen I'd grown accustomed to.
According to Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, grape varietal and shipper are the most important things to consider when selecting Alsatian wine. So far I've sampled 2008 Trimbach Riesling with a plate of goat cheeses, spicy acorn squash and kale with garlic and soy sauce; 2002 Chateau d'Orschwihr Riesling Enchenberg Vieux Thann with trout, endive and radishes; and last night I paired 2008 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling with sauerkraut and bratwurst (my extremely simplified version of the Alsatian choucroute garnie), pan-fried onions and cooked red cabbage.
With the Zind-Humbrecht and sausage pairing I finally understood the beauty of Alsatian wines. It was like tasting the culmination of hundreds of years of tradition. To say that I was excited about food, wine, and the representation of culture that one can find in their pairing would be a gross understatement. I was in ecstasy.
$19.99 at Wine House
Straw yellow in color with light-medium body. Crisp with delicate aromatics of honey, straw and flowers. Sharp acidity is balanced with fruit and minerality. Beautiful when paired with sausage, but I wouldn't buy this to sip alone.