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I arrived in Frankfurt on a Thursday afternoon and was met by my friends Elena and Claus Bonifer.  We immediately drove to the Rheingau and visited a few very good cellars.

We then returned to the home of Gaby & Norbert (they appear frequently on this web site), a couple of serious "foodies" who work in fields far from the world of gastronomy...yet they routinely prepare meals which you'd be hard-pressed to find in good restaurants anywhere in the world.

We enjoyed, then, a nice, crisp German beer to set the stage for the upcoming bottles of bubbles and wine.


Gaby, Claus and Elena.

The Bonifers departed, as they were preparing dinner the following evening (see below)...and Norbert opened a nice bottle of Champagne from the Mailly co-op cellar.


It was the 2007 Vintage Brut from Mailly, a wine made predominantly of Pinot Noir with about 25% Chardonnay.
This has a rather low dosage, so it was nice and dry and moderately yeasty...

 




It was a lovely pick-me-up after a day where I'd taken a 10+ hour flight from San Francisco and then had an 8 hour time change, plus 6 hours, or so, with winery visits.

Then it was time to present them with a little gift...


I'd taken a nice snapshot of them the year before as we clinked glasses and used that image for their aprons.

To accompany some foie gras, Norbert opened a bottle of a special Pinot Gris from Alsace...a nice late-harvest wine.

And Gaby was busy in the kitchen working on the main course.


The Foie Gras was exceptional and so was the fruit jelly in the middle of the plate.  The coarse-ground salt and pepper really make an impact on the palate.

The Pinot Gris was phenomenal and I thought it was most enjoyable...one of the best I've ever tasted.
Ha!!!
And then Gaby looked at the bottle and said "Hallo?  This was not a Pinot Gris!  Take a look at the label!!!"

We had a closer look and you can see how easy it was for Norbert to pick the wrong bottle as they look nearly identical.

Roland Schmitt's 2007 Vendanges Tardives...Riesling Ostenberg...
Very fine.
I liked it because it was still young, but nicely complex and a touch smoky.  It does not show the petrol character which would have made us question it being a Pinot Gris.
The wine was marvelously fruity, though and a delight paired with the foie gras!

 


Choucroute in French, Sauerkraut in Deutsch.
Delicious in English.

Norbert opened a nice Riesling to pair with the meats...

Vincent Stoeffler 2009 Grand Cru Riesling...Schoenenbourg.
Nicely developed and showing handsomely...




A little palate cleanser...damned good!



And then a nice dessert wine...a Moscato d'Asti.

Fattoria San Giuliano...fruity, fizzy and mildly sweet.


Gaby made a dynamite Pear Tatin!



And then a little schluck of a digestif...


Nice!

 

 

The following evening we gathered at 
SCHLOSS BONIFER
for a nice wine & food marathon...

Started with this Hardy Champagne.


Michel & Stephane Hardy Rose de SaignÚe...a Grand Cru Champagne which was more a pink sparkling wine than it was a yeasty, minerally Champagne.
Claus is an explorer of Champagne as he visits from time to time in search of bubbles.


Our happy host, Claus Bonifer


Josef & Uli


Mrs. Bonifer

And we needed a second bottle...

Shortly thereafter we sat down at the dinner table...

Mache, Pomegranate seeds, walnuts and a sort of prosciutto though it looks like Bresaola.

We enjoyed a Holzapfel Riesling from Austria alongside one from Germany's Wittman winery.

Once Elena and Daniel arrived, we offered a little souvenir from the Bonifers' trip to San Francisco in 2015.

The next course was a marvelous dish prepared by Elena...

Lentil "caviar"


Daniel poured some vino...

Two 2013 German Grauburgunders...

Donnhof and Becker...



Soup!

Then Norbert opened a magnum-ificent bottle of Pojer & Sandri 1996 Rosso Faye.

Meanwhile, the chef was busy in the kitchen...


Sauce and Spńtzle.


The wine was a delight...reminiscent of a Bordeaux of, say, 1978 or 1982 perhaps.
I was thinking of Ducru Beaucaillou or Leoville Las Cases...

Text messages and photos to the kids of Pojer & Sandri that night were met with extreme jealousy.
"We've never tasted 1996 Rosso Faye!" they responded.

Soon the plates began arriving from the kitchen...

Soon it became rather quiet as people were focused on the vino and vittles.



And suddenly it was time for more Champagne!

 


"Damn, that's a good one!"


Five years on the spent yeast!
This was a wonderful bottle of Champagne and we even made a little side-trip to visit the winery the following week.


We had a little birthday cake, celebrating an anniversary of my 50th Birthday!


More bubbles!


Wonderful!

Keller 2012 Beerenauslese.
It's a blend of Riesling, Silvaner and Scheurebe.
Crisp, mildly sweet and nicely acidic.

Then a few bottles of digestifs were put on the table...

I especially like the apricot eau-de-vie.

And so we concluded another great evening in Rodgau!

Many thanks to Gaby, Norbert, Claus, Anette and Elena for the splendid hospitality.



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