Regular readers of my blog know that I like German wines. Whether they are mineral laden, acid streaked rieslings or fruity, medium bodied pinot noirs, I think they are still under-appreciated wines. German wines can be drunk as aperitifs or on their own but they really shine when they are paired with food.
The Wines of Germany teamed up with Scandinavian cook book author Signe Johansen recently to prepare a menu of Norwegian food paired with German wines.That may sound a bit strange but when you consider that 1 in 4 bottles of wine sold in Norway is from Germany, then it begins to make a lot more sense. The cuisine of Norway – salty fish, sour pickled vegetables and fresh seafood are good companions to the the German wines.
We started with a two rieslings and a lovely pinot noir paired with shrimp and fish roe on crispbread and spiced Norwegian veal & lamb meatballs. The Rechsgraf von Kasselstatt Riesling trocken 2011 (Mosel, £8.95) was off dry, full of ripe peachy fruit and a nice lean, lime finish. The other riesling, the Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten kabinett 2011 (Mosel £15.99) was, although labeled a kabinett, was very much more on the off-dry, almost spatlese side, I thought. Very fruity and round on the palate. Both wines have good acidity but I thought the Rechsgraf was a better match with the shrimp. It had a crisper, cleaner finish to it.
The Palataia pinot noir 2011 (Pfalz £8.99) was probably one of my favorites of the evening. A definite crowd pleaser, full of soft ripe red berry fruit, a hint of smokiness with a smooth round mouthfeel, very morish and the acidity of the wine while not excessive, was enough to cut through the fat of the veal & lamb meatballs.
Sashimi grade salmon was used for the starter of cured salmon with wild dill pollen, Scandinavian pickles and horseradish creme fraiche. The salmon was melt in your mouth good, extremely velvety but full of flavour. Paired with another Trocken, the Weingut Winter Riesling 2009 (Rheinhessen £12.99) an excellent choice with the fish. Medium acidity, ripe apple fruit on the palate but refreshingly dry with honeysuckle notes on the nose.
The other riesling was from one of the oldest producers in the Rheingau, the Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus riesling kabinett 2011, floral, white flowers and honeysuckle on the nose, a complex and concentrated wine, off dry and full of white fruit and apple flavours finishing off with a fresh lemon note. The acidity of the wine cutting through the fatty salmon as well as working with the pickles, which is not something I would have expected. A cracker of a wine.
We had two very good pinot noirs, the Peter & Peter pinot noir 2011 (Pfalz £10) and the Meyer-Nakel Spatburgunder blauschiefer 2010 (Ahr £24.90) with a Norwegian venison stew and a salad of greens. The Peter & Peter riesling was recently voted best Airline (economy) white wine by Skyscanner and their pinot is another excellent value German red, medium bodied with a perfumed nose and balanced acidity. Retailing for £10, it punches well above its weight. The Meyer-Nakel, retailing at £25 is in a whole other range, layers of complexity, but a wine that I think would be a better match with duck rather than venison.
German rieslings make great dessert wine with their high levels of sugar and acidity. We were served a spatlese, the 2011 Schloss Johannisberger (Rheingau £28.99). Lush and full but with excellent acidity to counter the sweetness of both the fruit in the wine and the citrus and nutmeg madeleines which highlighted the spice aromas of the wine.
A great evening showcasing German wines and Scandinavian cuisine. I’d like to thank the Wines of Germany and Signe Johansen for a fantastic supperclub night.