Friday, September 23, 2011

#224 - Bill Kim-Inspired Pork Stir Fry With '09 Selbach-Oster Riesling

A stir fry sauce inspired by the lamb and brandy dumpling filling from Urban Belly on California drove the meal last night.

And after the success we had with riesling (Hirtzberger Smaragd Hochrain) at Urban Belly in December, a return was welcome, if a bit off the mark in pairing terms.

The slight miss came from the sugar in the Selbach-Oster Spätlese as it needed more acid/spice from the food to balance things out and the fact that, for now, the higher level of sugar in this Spätlese just isn't our bag.

The wine bullied the meal a bit, we liked the food much more than the wine by itself and we missed a salty/mineral play and higher acid that we want from white wine right now.  That about sums it up.

An Austrian Smaragd was the play here after having the meal.  Such is life.

Food:  Bill Kim-inspired pork stir fry over polenta

Ground pork sautéed up in onions, ginger, garlic, Chinese black bean-garlic paste, sambal oelek and fish sauce with reduced Metaxa and chicken stock.

Kale blanched and sautéed with chili flakes and sesame seeds.

Both combined and thrown over polenta with cilantro sprinkled over everything.

Beautifully mimicked the lamb and brandy essence from Urban Belly.  Had a lightly smoldering quality of flavor, almost ragú-ish that stayed in the world of fresh, never going too deep or sticky.  Played in that lovely realm that comes with well-made sauces, offering a huge burst of flavor without coming off like it's trying too hard to achieve that.  And graceful enough to allow the kale and polenta to assert itself at the right times.

Big winner here and loved it.

But both of us didn't expect this level of sugar in the wine.  If we did, a spicy element or more acid play might have been added.  But that's the rub.  We loved this food.  Doing such things would have taken away most of what was best about the delicious sauce.

Wine:  2009 Selbach-Oster Riesling Spätlese Mosel ($22 - Binny's)

Riesling culled from Selbach-Oster's various vineyards.  Bigger riesling.  Fine, creamy sugar first, followed by a touch of acid, a bit of generic mineral, loads of ripe peach and something cottony.  Mrs. Ney thought it came off like fresh cotton in both smell and taste.

Bright and well-made.  Nice, just not our bag, which was the phrase of the night.  The 9% alcohol level was entirely welcome and it never came off cloyingly sweet, just more sweet than we prefer.  A bit intense but still medium-bodied.  A "culled" nature existed, though.  Nothing wrong with that.  Some of our favorite wines are culled.  But in my limited experience with riesling, particularly Austria, a distinction and individuality that comes from a specific, identifiable minerality and its interaction with the acid made for better drinking and very much worth the extra dollars or more.

So a Selbach-Oster single vineyard will be tried soon.  Nice stuff but we wanted more distinction...and less sugar upfront.

Pairing:  83  It wanted to play but then got too loud

Probably great stuff with sauerkraut.  It needed acid to cut through the sugar and allow the secondary flavors to expand and announce themselves.

What we got was a wine that started out promising but in the end bullied the food to the point that we didn't need or particularly want to reach for the glass in order to find more pairing secrets.

A blunt pairing to learn from.

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