• On the road: Roger Jones discovering Alsace. Day 3.

    Having managed to stay out with some of the UK’s top sommeliers, roving Michelin-starred chef and reporter Roger Jones, turns his attention to some of the journalists on tour and quizzes their food-matching prowess. As well as going to the bi-annual Millésimes Alsace exhibition of course.

    Having managed to stay out with some of the UK’s top sommeliers, roving Michelin-starred chef and reporter Roger Jones, turns his attention to some of the journalists on tour and quizzes their food-matching prowess. As well as going to the bi-annual Millésimes Alsace exhibition of course.

    mm By June 16, 2016

    Millésimes Alsace allows Roger Jones to explore the wonderful worlds of the indigenous Alsatian grapes, particularly Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

    Of course I could be forgiven if I waxed lyrically about Riesling having spent a whole day at the Millésimes Alsace exhibition, clearly this noble grape is at home here in Alsace. Descriptions such as wet river stone, minerality, stone fruit, white peach skin, lime marmalade, focused, purity, freshly cooked brioche enhance the joy that Riesling brings to us all.

    It is a wine that is clearly a wonderful match to so many styles of food, thus it was surprising to hear such an anal comment from an Australian journalist who questioned my chaperone, Eric Zwiebel at his food and wine masterclass, why there was no Asian food being matched, possibly the title of his blog ‘wine wankers’ explained his comment!

    Clearly in the UK we seem to be more educated and realise that the textbook classical food and wine matching of old is wrong, as we have changed our diets and style of food that we enjoy, more refined, less richer we are looking for wines that are more focused, clean, vibrant but still elegant.

    No longer do we match a peppered steak with a spiced Shiraz as you would double up the taste senses, and clearly Alsace Riesling with its purity and precision is a wine that can be matched to such a great array food. But for me keep this noble wine away from spiced Asian food, yes great with refined Japanese food but have some restraint when spices are on the plate.

    Last night the Brit pack were treated to dinner at the fabulous Michelin-starred La Nouvelle Auberge restaurant, a more in depth report will be posted later but again it was odd to see some journalists who failed to get the perfection of the semi-cooked red mullet fillet combined with a magical mango, anchovy dressing which was perfectly balanced with three Rieslings. Red Mullet is known as the ‘Woodcock’ of the sea due to its intensity, richness and fabulous mini liver, a taste sensation between sea urchin and foie gras.

    Millesime Alsace
    The purity of this wine is astonishing, textured layered, precise – a wine that is perfectly textured, delicate and floral. There is a cool restrained Sauce Anglaise quality with freshness from a background of pink grapefruit

    Now I digress and my focus at the exhibition was very quickly driven towards Gewürztraminer. Classically, if you promote this grape variety to the British public, you think of quotes like ‘kissing Granny on the lips’, ‘Lavender Soap’ which are both ripe in their reflection of Gewürztraminer.

    There are times in my little world that I am blown away, normally watching Wales (‘”steady on” – ed), but I cannot reflect truly how special Alsace Gewürztraminer is, and clearly a style that is common, unlike with their Pinot Gris, Blanc, Muscat or Riesling where there is a huge differential in styles, but clearly with Gewürztraminer there are clear markers; purity, freshness, minerality, delicate masculine perfume more Kelvin Kline than the pot pouri lavender cheap perfume. Precise Turkish Delight with delicate thin crisp chocolate, layered, textured, Royal Jelly, hedonistic but with a precision and cleanness that I rarely normally see in Gewürztraminer.

    It would be difficult to highlight a specific wine, there are so many that bring such a joy and very importantly these wines should never be served with aromatic food, try oysters, roast chicken, sashimi, classic Alsace meat terrine with a hint of foie gras, or Munster cheese.

    Millesimal Alsace - Roger Jones
    A daily diet in Alsace, pungent Munster cheese – a sting on the skin but soft luxurious creamy precise flavour in the heart of the cheese – perfect with a sweet luxurious Guwrtz.

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