Pan-Fried Trout and a NY Riesling

Pairing:  Pan-Fried Trout and Hazelnuts with 2014 Knapp Riesling

Food:  After all that holiday cooking, it’s nice to have a simple, easy-to-prepare meal and something very different from turkey. This pan-fried trout fits the bill on both of these accounts. Whole trout is not always available in the supermarkets, so when we see it, we snatch some up and put them in the freezer. Trout freezes beautifully. For this meal, using a heavy skillet, pan fry the fish in butter and a handful of hazelnuts (whole or halved). Ours is served with brown rice pilaf and broccoli. Simplicity.


Wine:  A gift of wine is always appreciated in our household, particularly when it comes from a brother who really knows his way around the many landscapes of wine. This 2014 Knapp Riesling is from the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York, a well known wine area where Riesling is king. Some of the best Rieslings made in the United States come from here. Thanks, bro!


Tasting:  This demi-sec (off dry) wine has a lovely pale gold color. Ripe cantaloupe melon is prominent on the nose. And there is a pronounced flavor of that same orange melon along with honeysuckle blossoms and hazelnuts (likely brought out by the buttery hazelnuts in the dish). Very nice!

Other Foods That Pair Well with This Wine:  Asian Cuisine, Bluefish, Apples, Blue Cheese, Brie, Curries

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food: Chenin Blanc, Chablis, Pouilly-Fumé, Champagne.

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A Source:  The winery itself.


Mother-in-Law Request

Pairing: Chicken Fricasse with Dumplings and Homemade Baldwin Apple Wine

Food: One year we asked my wife’s mother what food she would like to eat on her birthday.  “Chicken and Dumplings” was her prompt reply.  What a good choice.  While it is a fine way to use up a fowl or old hen, the recipe can be prepared with a young hen, too.  Cut up a 4-5 pound chicken, including the back, and sauté in butter until well browned. Add water to cover, sliced onion, carrot, celery, 4 pepper corns, and simmer for 45 minutes. If the chicken is old, cook for 45 minutes more. Either way, add 2 tsp of salt at this point.  Cool the chicken and strain the broth. Remove the meat from the bones.  Thicken 2 cups of the broth with flour made into a roux with butter. Put the chicken into a stove-top pan (cast iron if you have it) with enough of the thickened broth to come up 3/4 of the way on the meat. Stir in the vegetables from previous cooking and bring to a simmer.  Make dumplings from flour, milk, celery seed, and baking powder.  Dollop the dumplings on the meat and heat uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes more. Oh my … is that delicious!!


Wine:  Apple wine was the first wine we ever tried to make ourselves. We used apples from an ancient Baldwin apple tree that we preserved when we cleared the land for our house site. It’s impossible to know how the tree is still alive and standing given all the holes in it’s gnarled old trunk. And it still produces the finest of apples about every third year. The apple wine is made from the apples that are particularly ripe (almost rotten!) that have fallen to the ground. We have found that those deadfall apples make the most delicious of wines, with almost a sherry-like quality to it. For those of you who are not yet ready to make your own wine, good commercially-produced apple wine (please … not Boone’s Farm!) is available in many retail liquor stores and apple orchards.


Tasting: Apple Wine is most frequently a light to dark golden color. As you can see in the photo above, our Apple Wine has a beautiful, deep blush. The fragrance of the wine is noticeably red apple (not green). No surprise there. The palate is a wonderful combination of apple jelly, red currant jelly, sherry, and honeysuckle. There’s also a touch of spiciness to it. However, this is not a sweet wine. Rather it is more of a semi-dry wine, very much like a Gewürztraminer.

Other Food That Goes Well with This Wine:  Roast Chicken, Pork, Indian Cuisine, Curries, Ham, a Variety of Soft or Aged Cheeses.

Other Wine That Pairs Well with This Food:  LaBelle Apple Wine, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer

A Source:  NH State Liquor Stores

Oktoberfest … errr … Novemberfest (I guess)

Pairing: Traditional German Food paired with 2014 Selbach Oster Riesling Kabinett and 2007 Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Spatlese.

Food: Every fall, sometime between late September and early November, we have friends over for a traditional German meal to celebrate Oktoberfest and our own German heritage. The meal consists of multiple hearty foods that have been part of German culture for eons. The picture below is a plate showing the different foods that make up the feast. Starting withe the front of the plate, we have Sauerbraten (marinated pot roast in a sweet-and sour wine sauce). Moving clockwise there is Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus (potato pancakes with applesauce). Continuing clockwise, we have Rotkohl mit Äpfeln (red cabbage with apples). Further along on the right side of the plate is Hasenpfeffer (jugged hare made with port wine and peppercorns) served with noodles. Finally, in the center of the dish is Sauerkraut and Bratwurst. Looks a bit monochromatic, but the flavors are mind-blowing. Well worth the few days of preparation if you have the time. The recipes we use come from a couple of terrific German cookbooks that date back to the 1950’s and 60’s … Lüchow’s German Festival Cookbook and The Cooking of Germany (part of the Time-Life series Foods of the World). Lüchow’s, located in New York City, was arguably the most famous and highly regarded German restaurant in America for almost 100 years before it closed its doors in 1986.


Wines:  We should start by saying that a good German beer would be a fine pairing for this meal. However, the foods that comprise the meal are full and rich, so the lightness of wine (versus beer) makes for a nicer complement to the meal. It should be noted that one might think a red wine would be a better pairing given the presence of beef, sausages, and rabbit.  The inherent sweetness and complexity of these white wines, foiled against the vinegar component of several elements of the dish (sauerkraut, red cabbage, and sauerbraten) are good reasons to choose the rieslings over red wines. Both of these wines originate in the Mosel (Moselle) region of Germany, roughly halfway between Luxembourg City and Frankfort. The Mosel River is a tributary of the Rhine and runs near the German border with Luxembourg. The two websites listed below provide wonderful pictures and video of the dramatic, steep landscape that the vineyards are planted in. This region produces the finest rieslings in the world. The terms Kabinett and Spatlese that help identify these wines refer to the time of the grape harvest and the resultant sweetness and complexity of the wine. Kabinett indicates a wine from early harvested grapes, while Spatlese wines are made from grapes left on the vine longer which concentrates the sugars in the grapes more. If the grapes were left on the vine even longer, the wine would be an Auslese.


Tasting:  The youthful 2014 Selbach Oster Kabinett has a vibrant nose with distinct aromas of green apple and green melon. The palate is clean and fresh, mirroring the apple and melon in a just barely ripe state. The blush of youth! The older 2007 Maximin Grunhauser Spatlese has a more refined nose revealing a medley of tropical fruits. The palate is smooth and round, with flavors of honeysuckle and ripe apricot and peach. The sweetness is balanced nicely with the acidity. Despite the differences in the wines, they both go very nicely with this traditional German meal.

Other Foods that Pair Well with These Wines: Asian Cuisine, Turkey, Ham, Pork, Smoked Salmon

Other Wines that Pair Well with This Food:  Most any Riesling from Germany, New York State, or Washington State. Or Spatburgunder Rotwein (German Pinot Noir)

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