Food, Wine & Friends Page 283
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
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
Then it was time to present them with a little
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
The Pinot Gris was phenomenal and I thought it was most
enjoyable...one of the best I've ever tasted.
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...
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...
The following evening we gathered at
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
Our happy host, Claus Bonifer
Josef & Uli
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
We enjoyed a Holzapfel Riesling from Austria alongside one from Germany's
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...
Daniel poured some vino...
Two 2013 German Grauburgunders...
Donnhof and Becker...
Then Norbert opened a magnum-ificent bottle of Pojer & Sandri 1996 Rosso
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
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 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!
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
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