Friday, December 7, 2018

Feasting for Sankt Nikolaus Tag: German Sips, Schweineschnitzel, Spätzle, and Sauerkraut #WinePW #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the December #WinePW event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month Nancy from Pull That Cork is hosting the #WinePW group with a German wine experience. Here's her invitation.


I'll be honest: I can count the number of times I've had German wine on one hand though I remember hearing the words Spätlese and Auslese when we lived in the Netherlands and my parents would drink wine with their friends.


So, this event was a great opportunity to explore, research, and learn more about the wines of Germany. I'm very grateful to the event sponsor - Winesellers, Ltd. - who provided a generous sampling for several bloggers to open, taste, and pair.* I received eight bottles of wine. I shared five at a dinner party and will write about the remaining wines separately.


I was intrigued by the Schäfer Organic Dry Rosé 2017 - from Rheinhessen, Germany - which is made from estate-grown organic Pinot Noir grapes. While light-bodied and delicate, it boasted a silky mouthfeel and some invigorating citrus notes. It was a fantastic match with some locally-caught Dungeness Crab. You can read about that pairing: here.

Please take a look at the other #WinePW blogger's posts...


The #WinePW's German Exploration


 

Sankt Nikolaus Tag
Saint Nicholas Day - Sankt Nikolaus Tag, in German - is celebrated on December 6th and it's something that we, in our family, have always celebrated because D is our Christmas babe. His middle name is Niklaas, after all. And though his birthday is December 23rd, I tried to have his celebration with friends on the weekend closest to Saint Nicholas Day. This dinner wasn't specifically for that, but it is a menu that would be a fabulous celebration dinner. And it was nice to see all these friends together again since they have scattered to different high schools after 8th grade. Besides as this is going live, we just celebrated Sankt Nikolaus Tag yesterday!

German Sips
I already mentioned that Winesellers, Ltd., shipped some of the group samples. I brought five bottles to our friends' house when they offered to make a traditional German dinner for us. All I needed to do was make the sauerkraut; they did the rest.

While Daryl and Undine cooked, the six adults poured and tasted three of the five wines. Then we opened the other two, enjoying them with dinner. And, then, we circled back to see if the wines changed for us with food and as they warmed. Two of the wines we found too sweet and pulled those aside to drink with dessert. Here are the three that we found leaned more savory and remained on the table for dinner.


We started with the Oppenheimer Riesling Kabinett 2016 that retails for $13. This one seemed the most controversial in the sense that our descriptors were polar opposites. Two declared it "not as sweet as anticipated" while two others insisted it was "sweeter than expected." Other adjectives were fruity, light (times two), crisp, and soft. Again, those final two seem mutually exclusive. This wine was Undine's favorite of the set.


Dr. Thanisch Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2015 was the most expensive of the group, so these wines were quite affordable. Its suggested retail value is $30. I heard - complex, smooth, tangy, bitter, and earthy. This one ranked in the middle of the pack of the handful that we tried. Spätlese means 'late harvest' and typically indicates a richer and sweeter wine than Kabinett. However Trocken on the bottle indicates it's a dry-style with higher alcohol.


The wine that ended up being a favorite for most of the adults, both with food and without food, was the Dr. Nägler Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Steinkaut Trocken Qualitätswein 2014. And, at under $20 a bottle, I can definitely see myself hunting down another bottle. This one was described as having a good aroma, grassy, citrusy, tart, bitter, and pungent. Funny thing: we lined up all the wines and had the kids give a sniff and their opinions. All of the kids wrinkled their noses at this one; I think that's why I liked it. It had texture and personality. It was especially well-matched with the salty sauerkraut and buttery meat and noodles.


With our gingerbreads and marzipan candies, we revisited the Bollig-Lehnert Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Kabinett 2015/2016. Notes included 'fruity', 'honey', and 'sweet'. We also saved the Fitz-Ritter Gewürztraminer Spätlese 2013 for our final nibbles and sips. Though I did try the latter with a cheese and crackers at the beginning of the meal. The vegetable ash-encased soft cheese countered the sweetness of the wine well. But this wine was described as 'super sweet' with strong floral aromas. I got lychee on the nose while four of the six adults called it 'buttery.' I wouldn't have said that, but I was certainly in the minority on that one.


Daryl's Schweineschnitzel
When Daryl offered to make a traditional dinner to go with the wines, he said he'd make enough schnitzel for both of our families, his parents, and my parents. Thank goodness for involved grandparents who live locally, right?! Well, at the last minute, both his and mine had to cancel. So, Undine invited another friend and her daughters. There was plenty of food!


The night before the dinner, I received these two photos and a video. 'Before' and 'after' read the emailed captions. Please note that this is more a process than a recipe. I love family recipes that have been handed down, but most of those dishes are learned by sight and feel rather than measurements. So, wing it! I will.

Ingredients
  • boneless pork chops, pounded with a mallet to about 1/4" thick
  • salt
  • flour
  • eggs, beaten
  • breadcrumbs
  • butter (lots and lots of butter!), clarified and melted to be about 2 to 3 inches deep in your pan
  • lemon wedges for serving


Procedure
Melt butter in your pan and arrange everything else in a line: pork, salt, flour, eggs, breadcrumbs.


Salt the pork on both sides and dredge it in flour.


Dip the flour-coated meat in an egg wash.


And press into the breadcrumbs.


Gently lower the meat into the melted butter and cook until golden brown.


Remove from the butter and place on a wire rack over paper towels to drain.


Place the drained schnitzel in the oven to keep warm before serving.


Check out this mountain of schnitzel. I was impressed and told Daryl so. He was excited because I guess I have a reputation. I won't say for what!


Some things I learned about Schweineschnitzel: they should be big enough to cover the entire plate; they are not served with gravy...that would be Jägerschnitzel; they are served with a generous squeeze of lemon; and they require an obscene amount of butter to cook. Obscene, I tell you.


But, man, are they delicious. And, as Daryl said, it's why they only eat this meal a couple times each year. I hope I get an invitation next year!


To round out the dinner, Undine showed me how to make Spätzle. You can see Undine's recipe here.


The only thing they requested from me was sauerkraut. You can see my recipe here.


Many thanks to the Lauers for hosting this German wine pairing dinner for me and, especially, to Chef Daryl for sharing his Schweineschnitzel process. Prost!

Winesellers, Ltd. on the webFacebook, on Twitter, on Instagram
*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

4 comments:

  1. Some great pairings! And good timing to have friends gathered for a German style feast day.

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  2. Looks like you had quite the feast! Props to you for making all that German food for the pairings. It's nice you had a group to share all your thoughts on the wines with. What a fun evening!

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  3. What a wonderful celebration...we were on the same page this month.

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  4. Really love the detailed Schnitzel and spaetzle pics. It does look so mouthwatering... :)

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