Wild boar the German way – fine dining with fine wines and best friends

October 31, 2012

As you know, I like to eat game of all kind. The best wild boar I have eaten in a long time was served to me by my good old friend Ulrich Hillejan and his wife Elfriede when we visited them this summer near Muenster. The so called Muensterland is a very picturesque agricultural region right north of the former industrial heartland of the Ruhr.

Ulrich comes from a tranditional farming family which goes back a couple of hundred years (he keeps very impressive records). He inherited one of the traditional farm houses away from the manor house, just outside the nearby village.

His mother (I call her aunty Doris) prepared for us the leg of a young wild boar, shot by Ulrich’s younger brother Georg. Let me say from the outset that this was the best piece of game I have ever eaten. I asked her to tell me the secret of this delicacy. Her instructions were rather sketchy. I figured that mustard plays a central role. The meat needs to be rubbed carefully with a mustard-pepper-salt potion.

The following photos show what we had for dinner. Of course the side dish with the carbs consisted of good German potatoes.

The potatoes

The young wild boar’s leg

On the plate

And after….

Needless to say that we had various kinds of delicious wines with our meal. We started the extensive tasting with a white wine, a fresh Gruener Veltliner from Weingut Setzer, Austria. The Setzer winery was decoreated with the “winery of the year 2013” award.

The estate has about 30 ha under vines and produces a wide variety of wines. Main grape variety are Gruener Veltliner, and red Veltliner. Recently, Hans Setzer, owner-operater of the estate, was awarded with the “Vinter of the year award” for 2013. With its low (11%) alcohol content, this wine is wonderful for warm summer days. It is refreshing and shows great temperament.

Gruener Veltliner Vesper, Austria

Knipser Riesling, Pfalz

We followed up with a German dry Riesling by the well-known Knipser Estate in Laumersheim, Pfalz.In 2009 the winery was awarded the “vintner-of-the-year” award by Gault Millau.

The ‘2001 Laumersheimer Kapellenberg Riesling Kabinett Trocken’ was just the right wine to complement the meal. I like the minerally note and the tropical fruit aromas.

Barbera and Nebbiolo blend by Villa Contessa Rosa

Mid-term through the meal, we changed colour and switched to a red wine from Italy. Villa Contessa Rosa has currently about 70 ha under vines. The blend of Barbera and Nebbiolo, produced in the wine region Langhe, was also a good accompliment to the wild boar.

The meat from the forest animal and the red and Forest berry aromas from the wine went well together. Below you see the colour of the drop from heaven.

From here on I lost track of the wines we sampled in the course of the evening. There were a few more red wines, but honestly I cannot recall what they were and where they came from.

The generosity of our hosts knew no bounds, I might say (thank you again Ulrich and Elfriede). It was a terrific evening of reminiscing about the past and making plans for the future.


Rinaldi 2008 Barbera d’Alba – the real stuff

October 5, 2010

2008 Barbera d’Asti by Rinaldi

To have an experienced wine-maker staying over at ones home is a blessing. I always learn so much about different wine styles and different wines. When Timo Mayer, owner and wine maker of The Mayer Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, visited us in Bangkok recently, we had the chance to catch up with the world of wine-making.

He brought a bottle of ‘2008 Barbera d’Asti’ of Giuseppe Rinaldi from Piemont, Italy. He had visited the winery on a study tour to Italy and wanted to share this treasure with us. Rinaldi makes his wines “the good old way”, using no barriques, no destemming, no filtration etc. He is one of only about a handful of wine-makers left who are not producing heavy (oaked) wines for the American market.

One bottle is just the beginning

The results of this traditional style wine-making are wonderful. The wine is fruity with a good structure, the acids are remarkable, the tannins are fine and delicate. You taste the earth the grapes were grown on and not the oak they were exposed to. This is Barbera d’Asti of the best. If you have a chance to indulge in it, my suggestions: do it.

Address:
Rinaldi Giuseppe Az. Agr.
Via Monforte, 3
12060 Barolo (Cn)
Tel.: +39-173-56156
Fax: +39-173-56156
Year founded: 1890
Owner: Rinaldi Giuseppe


Sunday at the Yarra Glen Hotel

November 6, 2009

One of the great things to do on a weekend in the Yarra Valley is to attend one of the many life music events. I especially love the music on a Sunday afternoon at the Yarra Glen Grand Hotel. First of all the food is quite good and second the venue is very suitable for the occasion provided there is not too much wind rattling the tent in which the bands perform.

Moreover, the Yarra Glen Grand Hotel is a beautiful historic building, a landmark in Yarra Glen, with it’s tower which is visible from many parts of the valley, it really stands out.

We had lunch and eagerly awaited the Bob Starkie Band which was to play in the afternoon. Bob Starkie is well known in Melbourne. He used to be one of the members of the legendary Skyhooks in the 1970s, a cult band in Melbourne. One of their top hits was “Women in Uniform”.

But first came the food.

SundayPub0

SundayPub00

The food was hearty and very tasty, as the two pictures above show. The wines we had with it were excellent examples of the local wine culture.

We had a bottle of ‘2006 Mandala Chardonnay’ from the Yarra Valley and a bottle of ‘2005 Dal Zotto Barbera’ from Whitefield in the King Valley, a neighboring wine region with very good cool climate wines.

Both wines were excellent and very enjoyable. The 2003 vintage of the Dal Zotto Barbera was given 90 points. The Dal Zotto family with a proud Italian heritage is well known for their quality wines. Their Italian varietal wines made from Barbera, Arneis and Sangiovese grapes have won high acclaim. Also their prosecco is commendable. The high altitude of the King Valley and its cool climate seems to be very suitable for those Italian varietals.

Owned by the Smedly family, Mandala Wines is located just a few kilometers up the highway, north of Yarra Glen. The cellar door and restaurant (open for lunch Thursday to Sunday and dinner on Saturday evenings) used to be “Henkel Vineyard” but has been redone completely. I love the design of the label, a huge mandala, which changes colour on the website, and expresses the philosophy of the owner on life and wine-making.

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Mandala Chardonnay

SundayPub2

Dal Zotto Barbera

And then the music started. The Bob Starkie Band promised exciting entertainment. They did not disappoint playing many of the classical Skyhooks songs. It did not take long and the dance floor was crowded with rural folks moving and shaking. There is nothing better then a dance on a Sunday afternoon. It also makes sure that one is clear headed on a Monday morning. We had great fun. I can only highly recommend it to the accidental traveler. If in the Yarra Valley look out for live music events

SundayPub3

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Bob Starkie

Addresses:
Yarra Valley GRAND Hotel
Bell Street, Yarra Glen, VIC. 3775
Tel.: 03-9730 1230
int: +61 3 9730 2434
fax: 03 9730 2434
e-mail: hotel@yarravalleygrand.com.au
www.yarravalleygrandcom.au

MANDALA WINES PTY LTD
1568 Melba Highway Dixons Creek Yarra Valley Victoria 3775
Tel. +61 3 5965 2016
Fax: +61 3 5965 2589
e-mail: info@mandalawines.com.au
www.mandalawines.com.au

Dal Zotto Wines
Main Rd, Whitfield,
King Valley, Vic 3733 Australia
Tel.: +61-3-57 298 321
Fax +61-3 57 298 490
info@dalzotto.com.au
www.dalzotto.com.au