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Very Interesting match: Dandelion salad with Alsace Pinot Noir (yup, Noir, no typo)

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Wine 10

Very Interesting match: Dandelion salad with Alsace Pinot Noir (yup, Noir, no typo)

moh | May 5, 2008 11:31 PM

So I tried to get Carswell to post on this one, but he is swamped with work, so I hate to say, you are stuck with my notes. But this one is so interesting! Did I mention that Carswell is an amazing cook?

The wine: Gerard Scheuller Pinot Noir 2006 from Alsace. The bottle comes with the instructions "Servir frais" on the front, which I take to mean slightly chilled. The wine is pale red and transparent, almost rose in colour. The bouquet, even when served chilled is playful and exuberant, loads of raspberry and a wonderful floral nose, it is like walking by a lilac bush when it is in full bloom. My apologies, it is not lilac scented. Flowers are a major weak point in my tastings, I merely am trying to describe the full-on sensory effect of this wine's bouquet. But the scent... perhaps violets? Maybe some rose. I said to Carswell, it is almost like they have thrown in some Gewurtztraminer. But of course, they had not. The wine itself is not quite as complex as its bouquet, but it has that wonderful full raspberry flavour, a delightful acidity, and is slightly petillant. Such a charming wine! Bad news is that it may not be easily available. We are going to see if we can scare up a few more bottles, because it would be a wonderful alternative to a rose wine in the summer on the roof top.

The salad: Carswell made home made garlic croutons by frying good bread in olive oil with a smushed clove in the oil until all the bread was nice and crispy. He then had the kitchen slaves rub cut garlic onto each cube individually. Then using some wonderful slab bacon, he fried up lardons in the same pan. Dandelion greens were ripped into bite size pieces, and thrown into a bowl with the croutons and lardons. The oil left in the frying pan was then turned into a dressing by deglazing the pan with white wine vinegar. The sauce is then poured over the salad to slightly wilt the greens. Salt, pepper, and a few quarters of hard boiled egg and (I quote) "Voila!".

The match: Surprisingly wonderful! I had expected the dandelion greens to make the wine bitter and tasteless, as the greens were fairly bitter themselves. I was completely wrong. The bitterness of the greens created a sweet flavour in the wine, and perfectly complemented the raspberry fruit in the wine. The gentle heating of the vinegar removed the excess acidity of the vinegar, and so the dressing complemented the wine instead of competing with it. The lardons and eggs added a lovely salty touch that complemented the wine's sweetness. I was very surprised and pleased with this sweetness, the wine had been very dry before we matched it with the salad. And the touch of bubbles made the whole thing an event! This was a delightful spring salad, and a delightful warm weather wine.

We then went on to devouring crab and Riesling. (Snow crab season is very short! Must take advantage!) This time, we explored older Rieslings. Here are the tasting notes.

Scharzhofberger Egon Muller zu Scharzhof Riesling Spatlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 1994: Apologies if I totally ruined the name of the wine, German is not a strong suit for me. The wine is a deeper straw colour, and is very unctuous/viscous when you pour it in the glass. The bouquet is complex, quince and petrol. I found the petrol a bit overwhelming at first, but it got better with time in the glass. Carswell and hubbie loved it. The wine is very rich and full in the mouth, the fruit is still quite powerful, quince, apple, honeyed dried apricots and yes, petrol and mineral. I felt there was very little acidity left in the wine, and I missed the acidity, but the other flavours were very complex and intriguing. A fascinating wine, but I kind of wish I had opened it a few years earlier before the acidity disappeared.

Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 1993 from Alsace: The wine was a pale gold colour, and less viscous than the Scharzhofberger. The wine had apricot and apple notes. There was still a bit of acidity and mineral flavours. Unfortunately, the middle notes of the wine were missing, and the flavours faded fairly quickly from the mouth. Again, we wished we had opened this bottle a little sooner.

Scheuller Bildstoekle Riesling 2005 from Alsace: This was our backup wine. The bouquet was dominated by an intense lime scent! The wine tastes of lime, apricot and honey, and there was a slight whiff of celery salt (at least, at the beginning. The celery salt blew off after a few moments, but a slight vegetal taste remained). Beautiful balanced acidity and pronounced mineral flavours made this my favorite riesling of the evening.

Needless to say, the crab made all the wines better!

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