Saturday, we had a bunch of people over for dinner and we decided to make it an Alsatian dinner. We did this for several reasons: I studied in Alsace many years ago and have adopted Alsace as my second home; good friends of ours are leaving for a trip to Alsace; other good friends are moving away from Philly, the husband is actually Alsatian (the real live type, not the poser that I am); and lastly, the wine from Alsace is simply outstanding. Thus, it was an easy sell.
I decided that we would start out with some sparkling wine (duh) as people started to filter in. I decided to have a little fun and ‘sabered’ both with a champagne flute. One of these days I will do another video. I have a few tasting notes, not that extensive, since I was also rather busy cooking for our group of ten (plus five kids).
2008 Argyle Brut: I have had more Argyle than perhaps any other sparkling wine. I have not hidden the fact that I am a fan. This one is no different. Great acidity, subtle green apple, solid finish. Excellent. 88 points.
N.V. Arthur Metz Crémant d’Alsace Cuvée Spéciale 1904: Given my penchant for sparkling wine and my love for Alsace, it was surprising that this was my only Crémant from Alsace (crémant is a sparkling wine made in the same way as the more renowned and expensive champagne). On the palate, a bit creamier than the Argyle, but perhaps not quite as acidic. Great baked bread and roundness. Excellent to Outstanding. 89-90 points.
After the sparklers, my lovely wife started rolling out the dough for the tarte flambée (flammekuche in Alsatian):
Along with the tarte flambée, we started breaking open the Rieslings:
2009 Michel Fonné Riesling Tradition: Bright and honest, but a bit one dimensional. The acidity here is great, but it lacks the citrus and richness that marks the truly outstanding Alsatian rieslings. Still, Very Good. 86 points.
2010 Domaine Bott Frères Riesling Réserve: This was clearly a step up from the previous wine as this had the beginnings of the unctuous mouth feel that I love. Good fruit both on the nose and the palate. Outstanding. 90 points.
We were still sipping on the Bott as we broke out the Choucroutes. One was the more traditional ‘Garnie’ which had a ton of pork products: ham hock, kielbasa, bratwurst, german weiners, and a homemade Montbeliard sausage, made by our should-be-professional-chef friend, Frank (it was incredible). The second was a seafood choucroute which had salmon, shrimp, and mussels.
2004 Domaine de l’Oriel Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg: This is a wine that I brought back a few years ago from a a producer in a tiny little village called Niedermorscwihr. The Sommerberg is an extremely steep vineyard there that Claude Weinzhorn (the vigneron) says is three times more expensive to farm than any of his other vineyards. The wine was fantastic–incredibly rich and full with caramelized apples and lemon. A viscosity that coats the whole mouth and ends with an incredibly long finish. Outstanding. 93 points.
2006 Domaine Weinbach Grand Cru Schlossberg: Only two years younger than the Weinzhorn, but this seemed quite a bit younger. While having the fruit on the nose and the palate of a grand cru, it was a just a little behind in the unctuous mouthfeel that separates some of the really great wines. Outstanding. 91 points.
After putting away far too much of the choucroute, we broke out a couple of Gewürztraminers to have with one of the stinkiest (good thing) and saltiest Munster cheeses I have had in a very long time (thanks to my boy Seth at Down Town Cheese in Reading Terminal Market!).
2010 Domaine Bott Frères Gewürztraminer Cuvée Particulière: This, for me, was the better of the two Gewürz since it had a nice acidity and fresher fruit to counter the slight sweetness. Excellent (no points, since I was pretty well loaded by this time in the evening).
2004 Jean-Victor Senner Gewürztraminer: I also brought this back a few years ago from France. Nice solid Gewürz, nothing to get overly excited about, but solid. Very Good.
We ended the night with two fantastic Tarte Tatins made by my wife. Ever since we have been together and I told her this was my favorite dessert, she has been perfecting her recipe. These were the best that I have ever tasted anywhere (and I have tried a ton). We had two more wines, both were great in their own way. I really do not have anything that resembles a note for them, but I took the pictures, so here they are.
2007 Albert Mann Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg Vendenges Tardives: A truly stunning wine, certainly the wine of the night. Outstanding.
2003 Joh. Jos. Prüm Riesling Gracher Himmelreich Spätlese:Not sure why I pulled this out at the last moment, given that it is German, not Alsatian (perhaps subject of another post), but it really had the great petrol nose that characterizes so many German Rieslings. Outstanding.
Well, there you have it, just another average weekend with the drunken cyclist. Speaking of cycling, all of us were up the next morning for a nice 50 mile ride. I might have burned of a third of the calories from the night before. Maybe.