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Food Wine & Friends  Page 270

Famous Bay Area Wine Aficionado Anh Thu Vo challenged the owner of Palo Alto's delightful ZOLA restaurant to prepare a choucroute to highlight some Rieslings.


565 Bryant Street in Palo Alto

Chef Guillaume BienaimÚ and crew took care of curing some cabbage to make the choucroute, as well as preparing sausages, pork belly, etc. for a Choucroute dinner.

Anh Thu then started herding the cats and signing up some Riesling fans to attend this special meal.

We met on a cool Tuesday night in early December at Zola's (and the place was quite busy) in Palo Alto.

To start the evening, I brought a bottle of bubbly.

This is a terrific sparkler, but over-looked by most people because it's German and it's made of Riesling.
The wine, though, despite most people's idea that all Riesling is sweet, is quite dry.  It's mildly aromatic, but not especially fruity thanks to a touch of a toasty, yeasty quality.

 

Before we got too far along, I produced another bottle from the cellar bag...a Mystery Riesling.

The guesses were all over the map, but no one nailed it.

The wine was dry and had mild petrol notes of a classic bottle of Riesling.  The acidity gave the wine a crisp quality and it seemed a bit bigger than most young German wines.


Anh Thu's guess was pretty good...if I recall, she got the planet correct, so hers was one of the closest guesses.

 


It's from the Castell d'Encus in Spain (north of Barcelona).  They grow a number of international varieties.

You'll find the winery to be about 2.5 hours northwest of Barcelona, in a most unlikely place for Riesling.
This was a very nice bottle of wine, but it would have to retail for $35 to $40 a bottle which is a bit high in my view.
As a consumer, I'd be fine paying $20 or $25 for this.


Reza opened a bottle of 2010 Trimbach Riesling from Alsace.
Trimbach is not one of the more fashionable producers in Alsace according to many wine geeks.  This may be due to their having been around a long time, so they're not the new kids on the block.  They are also well-distributed, so they're not a brand the hipsters can claim as a discovery.
On the other hand, the Trimbach family knows how to grow good grapes and make good wines.  And they have not caved in to making wines for the currently fashionable tastes of the market.  They prefer to produce wines which are dry.

The 2010 started out nicely and was good all through the meal.  The wine was not thoroughly chilled and the wine was moderately acidic and dry.  Nice balance.  Quite drinkable now.  This was a good start.



Seared Tombo Tuna with hearts of palm, citrus and chilies.


Rillettes de Saumon...nicely smoky!
Perfect to pair with Riesling.

 


A-T-V pours Hirsch Heiligenstein Riesling from the 2004 vintage.


The Terrine de Campagne is excellent!


Muller Catoir Riesling "Mussbach" Kabinett 2012...A nicely fruity, simple, lightly sweet Riesling.  This struck me as a shade low in acidity.

 


Albert Boxler  1989 Riesling Grand Cru "Brand."
While this was a pleasure to taste, it was a few years past its prime...deep, brassy in color with some fruity Riesling notes but a touch 'flat' overall.  


The 2007 Weinbach Altenbourg Gewurztraminer was delightful...still fresh and fruity with a nicely floral tone.  It may have a bit of residual sugar, but in the context of the food on this table, it comes across the palate as a nicely balanced wine.
Very fine and it can be cellared a few more years!

Here's a snapshot of a scuzzy cork...

Some neophytes freak out when encountering this.
We wiped off the top of the bottle with a moist cloth and extracted the cork...the wine was perfectly fine.


The Sausage at the top of the plate was "homemade" and it was good.  That bit of "bacon" or Pork Belly was exceptional, too!
Kudos to the Zola's kitchen crew for assembling such a delightful version of Choucroute!!!

 


The Hirsch Heiligenstein was exceptional with the Choucroute...a wonderful pairing.


Anh Thu brought a Spatburgunder made by August Kessler...a nicely fruity little Pinot!


For dessert we had a bottle of Rosenhof Trockenbeerenauslese made of the Welschriesling grape.
Reza took care of opening that for us...and it was superb!
Beautifully fruity and nicely sweet, but not too heavy or sticky...the acidity really shines in that wine.

And the Rosenhof wines are attractively priced, too, making this even more delicious!

And then Zola's brought out a couple of desserts to share...

 


Gateau aux Amandes with poached pears...also very good!

And we were a bunch of Happy Campers!

 



And there was a bottle of a particular for the ring-leader...

ANTU for Anh Thu!

 




And with that, we all made our way home!

 

Thanks Anh Thu!!!

 

 

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