jamie goode's wine blog

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Trimbach at Trinity


Last night had a great food and wine experience. It was a dinner with Jean Trimbach (above right) providing the wines (some of Alsace's best) and the wonderful Trinity restaurant in Clapham providing the food. Chef Adam Byatt (above left) began the evening with a pig butchery demonstration, which I'll cover separately. It really was an embarassment of riches.

I was one of two wine journos, along with Tim Atkin. Also present: Robert Mackintosh (@thirstforwine), Denise Medrano (@thewinesleuth), Douglas Blyde (@foodguardian), Helen Graves (@foodstories), Niamh Shields (@eatlikeagirl) and Ben Smith of Enotria. It was a jolly crowd.

On this showing, Trinity is a superb restaurant of Michelin star standard. Truffled white onion and thyme veloute (above) was really beautifully flavoured and textured, and nicely presented.

This is about as pretty and funky as we get with food,' says Adam as he introduces the next course. It's a combo of smoked eel, steamed osyter and goujons of sole with a leek terrine and horseradish sauce. Brilliantly executed: I particularly liked the leek.

The best course followed: the pigs trotter on toasted sourdough with fried quail egg, sauce gribiche and crackling. Byatt describes the pigs trotter as a signature dish, and says its the best selling starter on the menu: people feel they can take a chance with their starters. 'Eating out should be about new experiences,' he says.

Then it was the belly pork with black olive oil mash, braised celery hearts and cockle and saffron vinaigrette. This wasn't quite up to the stellar standards of the other courses, IMHO. The old spot belly was cooked for 16 hours in a water bath at 68 C. Then the skin and fat is removed, and the pork glazed in maple syrup and pan fried. For me, it lacked the texture and softness of the best belly pork, and I actually find the fat the most delicious bit.

We finished off with quince tart tatin and honey ice cream that was just about perfect.

The Trimbach wines were really good. They're one of Alsace's leading producers, and make their wines in quite a precise, drier style. The Riesling 2007 is pretty good, in a fresh, citrussy, slightly mineral style. Pinot Gris Reserve Personelle 2002 was just superb, with rich, intense fruit with some sweetness but finishing dry and a bit mineral. Pinot Noir Reserve 2007 was really good for an Alsace Pinot, but that's not saying much. It's an attractive, slightly leafy Pinot but not as good as the other wines. Then three vintages of the wonderful Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling. 1997 is fresh, limey and mineral, just starting to peak. 2004 is beautiful, with lovely freshness, focus and complexity. The star, though, was the thrilling 2001 375th anniversay cuvee, which is perhaps the very best dry Riesling that I've tasted, with lovely precision and minerality. This was kindly provided by sommelier Rupert Taylor from his list. Then we finished with the wonderful Gewurztraminer Selection des Grains Nobiles 1989: beautifully textured and spicy without too much sweetness.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Alsace Riesling: Josmeyer

Following on from last week's Trimbach encounter, here's a bottle I picked up at Haynes, Hanson & Clark for 11.50. Not the best ever, but a really good example of dry, fruity Alsace Riesling.

Josmeyer Riesling 'Le Kottabe' 2007 Alsace
12.5% alcohol, certified Biodynamic (Biodyvin). A really attractive dry Riesling with a lovely fruity character. Spicy minerality underpins the lemony fruit, with a subtle herbiness in the background, as well as some honeyed notes. Satisfying and balanced. 89/100 (11.50 Haynes, Hanson & Clark)

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Must drink more Alsace: Trimbach Riesling

A coincidence. This afternoon, before driving down to Devon to drop older son off at school, I put a bottle of Alsace wine in the fridge. Then, on the way back home, I heard Jancis talking on BBC Radio 4's Last word about the late Jean Hugel. A sign: I must explore Alsace wines further, because they are brilliant, even if I keep forgetting about them. I must also visit Alsace as soon as possible because I have never been there (embarassing admission).

Where to start? Trimbach and Hugel are certainly good producers (Trimbach's CFE and Clos Ste Hune are two of Alsace's very best Rieslings, in a dry style). Zind Humbrecht and Marcel Deiss are probably the two top producers, with Kreydenweiss and Albert Mann hot on their tails.

Anyway, this entry level Trimbach Riesling is pretty solid. It's brought into the UK by Enotria.

Trimbach Riesling Reserve 2006 Alsace, France
12.5% alcohol. A really delicious dry Riesling from Alsace, with exuberant lemony fruit, showing a hint of apricot richness, but otherwise its really dry and citrussy. Lovely purity and freshness here it reminds me a bit of a top Australian Riesling in style. 89/100

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Neglected Alsace

Over the last couple of nights I've been enjoying an Alsace white, and wondering why I don't drink more Alsace wines. This isn't the best wine in the world, by any measure, but it's really good. The exciting thing is that there are loads more better than this out there, I'm sure.

Jean Becker Gewurztraminer 2006 Alsace, France
An organic wine, this is deliciously balanced and rounded. It shows grape, melon and lychee aromas with a smooth, textured palate. There's also a distinctive tangerine character here. It's off-dry but not at all cloying. A benchmark Gewurz with some spicy minerality on the finish. 90/100 (10.99 Oddbins)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

London rain, again

It rained again today. With the odd exception - Sunday and Tuesday, and I think there was a day the previous week - it has rained every day for as long as I remember. And we've only got another month of summer left. I'm beginning to feel a sense of loss. We Brits love to talk about the weather, and we've had plenty to talk about in recent years. Pictured is the view up Portland Place at about 4 pm, looking towards RIBA.

Tonight I sip Tesco Alsace Gewurztraminer 2005. It's pretty good: there's peach and melon on the nose with just a hint of ripe grape and lychee. The palate is thick-textured and just off-dry, but with nice freshness, too. It's clean, fruity and quite pure, with lovely density.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Summer with Alsace

It's been a perfect summer's Saturday here in London. Wam but still comfortable temperatures and lots of sunshine. The day began with cricket practice for the boys: I drop them off on Twicknham green, then take Rosie for a walk via my allotment (where I applied the second sulfur treatment and dealt with the prolific weeds).
After cricket practice and a spot of lunch we played some more cricket on a local artificial wicket, and I was really impressed with one of our friends' sons, who at age 10 is already the sort of batsman you don't want to bowl at: he's got a full range of shots and is ruthless with anything short or wide. The next Pietersen.

One of this evening's wines is worth mentioning. It's a biodynamic Alsace Pinot Blanc. Pinot Blanc is often regarded as at the lower end of the Alsace pecking order, but I often really like the wines. Why don't we drink more Alsace wines? They rock.

Josmeyer Pinot Blanc 'Mise du Printemps' 2006 Alsace
Delicate gently herby nose with nice poise and freshness. The palate is bright and fresh with herb and mineral-tinged fruit, in a dry style. There's a touch of honeyed richness, making this a really versatile summer white. Very good+ 89/100

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Gewurztraminer

Fiona and I suffered West Wing withdrawal bravely for three days, before I snapped and purchased the box set of the second series (29.99 from Borders - and on ebay these are selling for 25, so I think I'll recoup most of this outlay). So last night and tonight we saw four episodes in all.

Back to wine. Now Gewurztraminer isn't a grape I have a great deal of affection for, but I'm drinking two rather different but brilliant expressions of this variety at the moment. Both are from the Alsace region, and are available from UK supermarket Morrisons. The first is the Preiss-Zimmer Gewurztraminer 2004, which is sealed with a saranex-lined screwcap (this allows a little more ox-trans than the more commonly encountered tin-lined cap). It's full flavoured, perfumed and has lots of the typical Gewurz lychee fruit. Good acidity offsets the richness nicely, and it's sort of dry. A really useful food wine (6.99).

The second is the Cave de Turckheim Grand Cru Brand Gewurztraminer 2002, and it's brilliant, with lots of apricot, peach and lychee fruit. It's fat, viscous and quite sweet, but with good spice and acid providing balance. Certainly a sweet wine, but not a dessert wine. Well worth the 13.99 price ticket.

How do you use these wines? The dogma is that Gewurz works with spicy food. I think these would also be OK with anything rich and fatty. The latter wine, being richer and sweeter, would also do the classic foie gras combination quite well.

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