Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Caution to the Wind

There are times when what you feel like drinking and eating draw you not necessarily in complimentary directions. We wanted to eat our favorite japanese-style grilled salmon, we wanted to drink a great red burgundy. We had a dozen raw oysters as an entrée but sweet German Riesling was the half-drunk fridge bottle. Neither of the pairings struck me as particularily natural, but hey, sometimes one has to go with the flow.

The Food

Tasty and easy to prepare, we rolled thin salmon filets into 4 inch high roulades, picked them with tooth picks to keep them together and then rolled them in sesame seeds with a sprinkle of olive oil. Under a hot grill for a couple of minutes and they’re done. Easy. The salmon is served on a bed of spaghetti thin cucumber slices, with a tamari, ginger, curry and grapefruit sauce. I hedged my bet with the wine by adding some cinnamon and nutmeg to the rice. A stir fry of asparagus and multi-colored bell peppers added some crunch and color on the side.

The Wine

Riesling Spatlese 2001, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, S.A. Prum
I want this stuff running in my taps. It has the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, that undeniable Riesling petrol nose, and loads of fruit. Very few wines are as elegant and fun to drink, and as malleable as a great Mosel Riesling. But as I sucked back and chewed on that first oyster, so delicate in it’s salinity and richness, I had a feeling that my Riesling had met it’s match. And it had. Once the Riesling reached the mid-palette, the oyster was over. Not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, in fact the natural saltiness of the oyster seemed to bring out a little more sweetness and fruit in the wine, but that was perceptible for maybe a millisecond. There is a reason that bone-dry Muscadet exists.

Savigny-Les-Beaunes 1er Cru 1997, Les Serpentières, Maurice Ecard
I have already reviewed this wine (April 25, 2004), but that was with Pizza Hut and a hockey game as accompaniments. Many people love Pinot Noir with Salmon. But as a fanatical white wine drinker, I tend to avoid by principle this mix, especially when one considers how a slightly oaked white Bordeaux or Italian sauvignon can reach phenomenal heights with the tamari-grapefruit sauce. I hate to say it, but it was exceptional. I have tasted a number of Beaune Reds that have displayed traces of those sweet, earthy spices like nutmeg and cinnamon and my rice seemed to bring out hints of clove, previously hidden between beautifully textured layers of fruit. It was soft, rich, and juicy like any great Beaune, with the perfect feel in the mouth to accompany grilled salmon that was still slightly raw in the middle of the roulade. Great.

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