One of our VINO family…….you know what I mean, Vern?…….asked the other night if we would be open to doing a dinner geared for German Riesling. So, I asked VINO Chef Keith, if he would do something out of the box like this, so we can make it happen. As you will recall, Chef Keith has been with us twenty plus years and used to be the Executive Chef for Sansei Kapalua and Sansei Honolulu. So, this is that night! Chef Keith has created a menu with German Riesling in mind.
I would also like to mention that one of my all time favorite winemakers in the world, Bert Selbach, has retired after the 2015 vintage. So, we took this as an opportunity to showcase three of his last wines, each from a GREAT vineyard.
Owner/winemaker Bert Selbach is a direct descendent of the iconic Prüm family, whose roots go back to the 1600’s. Bert’s parents, Anna Prüm, the youngest of the Mathias Prüm children and her husband Dr. F. Weins, used her inheritance to establish the Dr. F. Weins-Prüm estate in 1911. Their vineyard holding included parcels in the some of the finest vineyards of the Mosel River region (& all of Germany)–Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Graacher Domprobst, Ürziger Würzgarten & Erdener Prälat, each with some very old vines.
We loved Bert’s winemaking, as his wines masterfully showcased the pedigree, purity & character of each site in the finished wine, all done with supreme elegance, transparency, precision & deliciousness–young or older. These were truly one of kind, unforgettable, timeless masterpieces for me.
Sadly, 2015 was Bert’s last vintage (at least that we know of). He is retiring with no heirs to take over. We have heard he has sold his parcels to his first cousin, Manfred Prüm (& daughter Katharina) of Joh. Jos. Prüm who live next door. For wine collector’s around the world, this is a joyous thing as Joh. Jos. Prüm, having been named 1996 “Gault Millau Winemaker of the Year” & produces some of the most collectible white wines in the world. For me, this is the end of an era. There has never been wines like those from Bert Selbach & Dr F Weins Prüm. Aloha my friend. A toast to you & your future!
Here is the menu–
KOJI CURED TAKO–mizuna salad, ginger sesame vinaigrette and house made tsukemono
What a fantastic, seemingly simple dish! Curing the tako with koji gave it terrific taste & umami with a slightly salty edge. the mizuna innately has a burst of heat & bitterness, which was tempered from the slightly sweet, sour, tangy ginger sesame vinaigrette & the vinegary crunch of the house made tsukemono. This Riesling, at 9 degrees alcohol was slightly sweeter than medium dry, which helped calm done the sweet-sour-slight heat of the Asian components, while the riveting minerality & crisp acidity kept the palate fresh & alive between bites.
MISO CHILEAN SEA BASS–smoked wilted tatsoi, choi sum, squid ink pasta, fukujinsuke & roasted garlic butter
wine: 2011 Dr F Weins Prüm Kabinett “Ürziger Würzgarten”
I remember some time back, my uncle proudly served us his miso butterfish specialty, which he took great pains to prepare for us. After the dish was served, he halted the show, jumped up & told us to wait while he scurried off to pick some of his very unique/unusual limes off of the tree on the side of his house. These limes looked much more like green-yellow oranges, especially in size. After he sliced them, he proceeded to squeeze the wonderfully aromatic, unusually, slightly sweet juice with its surprisingly subdued though high pitched, ‘lime” acidity onto each of our miso butterfish. He then said, now try it. In short, it was electric!!! A pairing unlike anything I had had before AND the his squeezed unique lime juice made the miso taste like something so very different & completely wow-za. This was a HUGE, eye opening experience for me & was the inspiration for this pairing. The Chilean sea bass was marinated with the different misos for 30 hours, baked & then torched at the last minute, making it somewhat sweet, salty, slightly charred/caramelized with lots of umami & interesting. Interestingly the 2011 Dr F Weins Prüm Kabinett “Ürziger Würzgarten”, amongst all of its riveting minerality, rather lean focus (compared to other vintages I had been fortunate to taste) also had very citrus-y acidity with a lime like lift to the finish. Hence the pairing.
SAKE BRAISED PORK BELLY NITSUKE–grilled bok choy, roasted Japanese taro, Chinese five spice demi & house-made kim chee daikon
While nitsuke is usually a preparation for fish, Chef Keith chose to instead use the sake, shoyu, sugar to braise his pork belly, to soften the meat, while at the same time making it slightly sweet & lightly salty. In addition, he sprinkled a little shichimi on the meat to give a slight edge of heat, which would heighten & accent it some. We therefore chose to pair with a Spätlese from one of Germany’s finest single vineyards & its profoundly slate driven soils & therefore resulting minerality in the finished wine. This wine also helped balance out the slight heat from the kim chee daikon. Quite interesting.
I also included pictures of each of these incredible vineyards to add dimension towards a better understanding & appreciation of the wines presented tonight. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. From left to right–Graacher Himmelreich, Ürziger Würzgarten & Wehlener Sonnenuhr.