Arrived late in Alsace last night because of a delayed flight, so it was straight off to dinner – one that I’d been looking forward to for some time.
It was held at La Nouvelle Auberge in Wihr au Val, which is run by Bernard Leray (originally from Brittany) and his wife Martine (from Alsace). The goal was to match the food with some rather special Alsace wines, both young and older.
The first course was fesh and smoked fera (white fish) tartar with crayfish vinaigrette and roasted almonds. It was paired with Weinbach Riesling Cuvee Ste Catherine 2010, which was laser sharp and precise, and Ostertag’s Riesling Grand Cru Muenchberg 1999, which was more developed and brilliantly complex. The Ostertag worked best because of its age, but both were superb wines.
The next course was lovely: scallops with mushroom and black truffle espuma. This was matched with Marcel Deiss Schoffweg 2008 and Paul Blanck Riesling Furstentum VV 1989. I found the Deiss a bit oxidative, with pear and apple flavours. The Blanck was a lovely rich, old wine. Both worked very well with the dish, although I think that the Blanck, as the older, richer wine, had a slight edge.
Equally delicious – maybe even tastier? – was the next course. A beautifully prepared duck breast with some duck and plum pie. This was paired with two rich Pinot Gris: Albert Mann Pinot Gris Grand Cru Hengst 2007 and Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Grand Cru Rangen Clos St Urbain 2000. Both lovely, rich wines, with the ZH showing lots of sweetness and power. Remarkably, these white wines were a pretty good match for duck.
We followed this with a cheese selection from Jacky Quesnot, and to go with these two rather different wines. First, a Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Mambourg 2005 from Marc Tempe that tasted more like a Riesling, and was impressive if unusual. Then a spectacular, rich Riesling Vendanges Tardives 1995 from Hugel, which was the best match.
Dessert was lovely, with a number of different interpretations of apple. This was served with two wines from E. Klipfel: a Gewurztraminer SGN GC Kirchberg 2010, and a 1942 Tokay d’Alsace Clos Zisser. This was, by some distance, the oldest Alsace wine I have tried. It was still alive, and interesting, but on its last legs. What a treat to taste a piece of history.
A remarkable dinner.