Riesling Goes with Everything

I just submit November’s Eat and Tell column, so you should be seeing it up very soon (see the links section to the right). In it, I discuss some basics about why certain foods and beverages go together.

Like people, some are very particular about the company they keep – personalities clash and nobody’s happy. Then there are those that seem to get along with everyone – anywhere they go, all types of personalities – everyone is happy. Riesling is of the latter sort.

First of all, all Rieslings are not the same – they can range from bone-dry, tart-crisp and simple to some of the most complex, honey-like dessert wines available – and everything in between. Riesling’s typically low alcohol content, high acidity, complex floral, fruit and mineral aromas, and frequent bit of residual sweetness give it the ability to pair with an endless array of foods. Rieslings are happy with their native cuisines of Germany and Alsace, yet they are the wine of choice with the aromatic spicy cuisine of Southeast Asia and India because of their versatility, complexity and that little bit of sweetness I mentioned earlier. Riesling goes with everything from the most simple raw oysters to… well, see below for my most recent blissful encounter with Riesling.

Earlier this week I had lunch at L’Ecole with Chrysta Wilson of Kiss My Bundt while she was on an all-to0-brief visit to NYC. Lunch was outstanding and perfectly paired with this month’s Staff Pick, 2009 Dönnhoff Riesling (Nahe, Germany), an ever-so-slightly off-dry Riesling: tingly-crisp, Asian pear-like, with subtle layers of exotic fruit and mineral aromas. It went with pretty much everything we ate that day – escargot with Asian pear; cavatelli with sundried tomatoes and olives; perfectly cooked pork chop with cider jus and polenta; seared scallops with butternut squash puree, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate; rabbit with chorizo and bacon; and a not-too-sweet pumpkin soufflé – yes, a huge lunch!

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