TN: Lots of Rieslings, mostly with choucroute

Saturday Betsy played matinee but was off in the evening. We attended a
Table d'Hôte dinner at a local church- my friend Alex, a former
Parisian restaurant owner, cooks a dinner for 40 as a fundraiser for
social action programs. This month he was using his Alsatian
grandfather's choucroute recipe.
First course was white asparagus with 3 sauces (mayonnaise,
vinaigrette, ands honey mustard). Really delicious, though the
asparagus was a tad stringy. For this course I had brought the 2000
Zind-Humbrecht Herrenweg de Turckheim Muscat. Just a hint of sweetness,
big bold Muscat nose of flowers and lychees (with a little
musk/muskmelon). Long and rich on palate, with flavors of pineapple and
peaches. A bit overpowering for the asparagus, Muscat is somewhat
traditional but a lighter style might have shown better. Still, an
unusual and tasty wine. B/B+
The kraut was served with 3 types of sausage, as well as potaotes and
some smoked pork chops Alex had done. My choucroute wine was the 1997
Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Emile Riesling. I was a little worried this
might be in a closed state, but not at all. Big nose of flowers, spice,
and smoke. The fruit on the palate is outfront without being
overbearing - white peaches and apple, a tinge of lemon/citrus.
Minerality on finish. Good when opened, got better during night. Strong
(despite vintage) but balanced acidity. Yum yum. No hurry, but drinking
well now. Brilliant with the choucroute. A-/A
We also shared with neighboring diners. In reciprocity, we got some
nice tastes.
Our friends Joe & Rachel had brought the basic 2002 Trimbach Riesling.
Lemony, more sharp than the CFE, but a nice clean Riesling with lots of
appeal. B/B+
Dolores on the other side had brought the 2003 Darting Ungsteiner
Herrenberg Spätlese.
This tasted more Auslese than Spätlese. Big & rich with tropical
fruit. A bit flabby though, might have been better by itself than with
the choucroute. B-
Another couple proffered the 2003 Two Hands "The Wolf" Riesling. A
real pleasant surprise (while I think of Clare Riesling as pretty good,
I had found some Two Hands reds a bit much for my palate). But this was
a light, dry, pleasant Riesling with good balance, nice tart Granny
Smith apple fruit leading a good finish. B+
At some point my friend Marc gave me a taste of a 2002 Dönnhoff
Spätlese. I hope my probationary membership in Winegeeks International
isn't revoked when I admit that I didn't note the vineyard (mea culpa,
mea culpa). He said he got at Rochambeau (I doubt they have more than
one); I'll find out when I go buy a couple. Delicous wine, jampacked
with minerality. Good fruit, bright acidity, very appealing. A-
Nice evening, fantastic food, great friends (old & new).
Sunday I fixed up some leftovers for dinner as Betsy got home. Warmed
up some dal and some "bright rice." Sliced up some cold chicken with
some curried mayo, served over Boston lettuce. The wine was a simple
Rheingau, the 2002 Petit Chapeau Riesling. Petit Chapeau is Daniel
Johnnes negociant label, while I've liked his French wines this was my
first German. Medium-bodied, with light sweetness and clear peach
fruit, a little earthy note on nose. Not complex, but clean and easy,
and the light RS balanced the curry, the raita, and the spices in the
rice and dal quite well. B
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent
wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't
drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no
promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency
Reply to
DaleW
Thanks for the interesting notes, Dale. Jean has recently discovered that, after 15 years of professing her dislike of Rieslings, she does indeed like many of the off-dry Rieslings that we've tasted recently. Now, if I can only get her to like aged white wines...
Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton

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