We don't usually drink this much Austrian wine. Or eat this much chicken, really.
Given the task of contributing to this year's family dinner, the vile concoction of seven-layer salad took up a lot of room in the refrigerator.
I had one bite of seven-layer salad. That was enough. But no Ney family gathering is apparently is complete without it. Mayo, cheese, bacon, peas, green pepper, iceberg and onion. Why?
So it was "clean out the fridge" day to make some room for said salad to let those flavor "marry" overnight. Ugh.
Food: Tarragon Mustard Chicken Breasts with Baby Potatoes, Leeks and Asparagus
A very French-inspired meal that is a bit of a spring/summer staple in the Ney house usually accompanied with something from the Loire.
Herby chicken crusted with Anton Kozlik tarragon mustard picked up in Toronto. It's an institution in Toronto from what we hear. Didn't know that when we bought it and five other flavors. I will say that they're quite good and worth trying (maple is ridiculously good with ham sandwiches) while being infinitely better than the hype surrounding Cleveland's Stadium mustard.
Baby potatoes with tarragon mayo for dipping, sautéed leeks and asparagus spears.
Wine: 2006 Neumayer Grüner Veltliner Zwirch - $15 Wine Discount Center
Pretty straightforward. Loads of green apple and a bit of lemon with food-friendly acidity.
If blindfolded, it would be tough to pin down as to location and varietal. Might be an odd Spanish but not enough lime. Might be a Sancerre but not Frenchy enough. I think I could have eventually gone to Grüner, but merely as a possibility but would have never been able to peg it.
Tasting notes on this one talk about chalk and mineral with tarragon and mint. Certainly some chalk and mineral, I guess, but as for the tarragon and mint, it's a wine that shows the overall profile of being able to display those herbs but never gets there. Could be me because only in very rare circumstances do I get things of that sort in a white.
After saying that, it's a fine little wine for $15. One of those wines that you wouldn't pay above $20 but, in my fairly limited Grüner experience, it's worth it.
Best way to describe it would possibly be a Spanish white aspiring for a French delicacy.
Pairing: Nothing wrong with that
It wasn't going to clash. It's chicken and a not overly dry white wine.
Some surprises showed up, though. The wine became more citrusy with the tarragon mustard and tarragon mayo. Nothing in the meal was over the top with huge, bold flavors. It was more nicely subtle as it was supposed to be. And the wine had a finesse. Maybe not elegant but definitely had finesse.
In other words, a pleasant, food-friendly white for $15 to go with a better than expected, clean-out-the-fridge chicken.
Other another note, in the effort to keep a thorough record, I need to mention another meal that was too long ago (five days) to get into details. Simply don't remember all the info.
But a green bean stir fry with pork pot stickers paired with the wine mentioned below was above all expectation.
2006 Spreitzer Riesling Kabinett Rheingau Oestricher Lenchen - $20-ish WDC
A tad more sweet than the Grüner Veltliner above but not a sweet German riesling. Apple again but great background tropical fruits and acidity with a wonderful balance.
We'll be buying more.
Like Austrian wine labels, German wine terms confuse me all to hell. So...
Kabinett - light style, naturally semi-sweet, lowest level of ripeness, lower alcohol, refreshing
Rheingau - oldest wine region near the Rhine. Small area with many top producers
Oestricher Lenchen - vineyard name