Friday, April 16, 2004

A SnowCrab in Burgundy

The Food

The first, and I what hope to be of many, crab des neiges festivals took place last Monday at Fonduementale. Cheers to all who partook in the festivities and in particular, Fred for hauling 24 live crabs all the way from the Gaspé. While I didn’t expect to be ripping the legs of live crabs (apparently, unlike lobster, snowcrab emit a distasteful ink when cooked whole, sullying the alabaster meat of the legs), what was done was done. The key is to get the right salt content in the boiling water, so as not to either add or remove the salt content in the meat. Scowcrab, fresh Matane shrimp and smoked Sturgeon were on the menu and of course a solid of evening of white wine…

The Wine

Reisling 1999, Muenchberg, Ostertag ($50)
Our aperitif whilst we were removing the legs, it was not at all what I had expected. I am a big fan of both his Gewurztraminer and Sylvaner and expected a Reisling with the same delicate, almost ethereal aromatic and gustative traits. Instead it was what I call ‘Full Beyer,” solid and mineral with an almost desert like dryness. It didn’t have that characteristic petrol nose, but it’s richness was almost too much for that hint of flowers and tropical fruits that tried to escape. Interesting, maybe in a couple more years, but I think I have become accustomed to German styling.

Marsannay 2002, Saint-Jacques, Pinot Blanc, Fougeray de Beauclair ($32)
Our wine to accompany the crab feast. An oddity in that while the appellation of Marsannay allows for up to 10% Pinot Blanc in it’s Chardonnay, I have never seen or tasted a 100% Pinot from anywhere in Burgundy. Big thanks to Jean-Phillipe for importing it for me. The wine was perfect for the crab… the delicate balance of peaches, rosehips, minerality and sweetness was a perfect support for the richness of the crab, cleansing the palette while not losing a single iota of it’s character. A sure bet.

Reisling 2001, Cuvée Ste-Catherine, Weinbach ($47)
One more bottle to round out the evening. Probably my favorite producer in Alsace, the Cuvée Ste-Catherine, while less complex that the Ostertag, it had a beautiful focus. That touch of residual sugar is just enough the cut the minerality which often leads to that bitter aftertaste I find disagreeable with young Reisling.