Every so often, I get together with a group of friends who are aficionados of German, Alsatian, Austrian, and French Loire white wines. We meet at Chantanee, a terrific Thai restaurant in Bellevue, WA. The spicy Thai cuisine (hot curries, Miang Kum and Tod Mun to start, cold beef salad, crispy garlic chicken) are an excellent counter balance to the dry to sweet white wines. Perennial favorites for this type of food include Trimbach’s Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling from Alsace (which we all collect in most vintages), and good German Spatlese and Auslese wines.
Last night, our friend Bryan Loufbourrow was in town from Sonoma (an emigre to CA after years of living here in the Pacific Northwest — he’s crazy to move, but it takes all kinds). So we met, ate some terrific food, and sampled some terrific wines. I’ll hit the highlights here, from my perspective.
We opened with a Nigl Riesling 2000, a steely minerally dry Riesling from Austria, and a lovely bottle of wine. If you like the bone-dry Rieslings of Chablis (e.g., Dauvissat & Raveneau), and like dry minerally Alsatian Rieslings, you’ll love Austrian Riesling from the better producers, such as Nigl. A Trimbach CFE 1989 was oddly flat and lacking on the palate, which means a bad bottle — this is drinking beautifully right now.
Other highlights were a J.J. Prum 1990 Wehlener Sonn. Spatlese, the Albert Mann 2001 Altenberg Vendages Tardive Riesling (superb!), and a Donnhoff 1995 Niederhauser Hermannsholle Auslese. But the amazing wine was a half-bottle of Zind-Humbrecht 1997 Tokay Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal Selection des Grains Noble. Thick, like light oil, and spice cake with citrus on the palate, the concentration was mind-blowing. Don’t know whether it’ll age a long time — opinion was split on that — but the wine is going to be gorgeous for at least a few years.