Saturday, October 9, 2021

Ziereisen 2016 Talrain Spätburgunder, Baden

Pork and Pinot – it’s a beautiful thing, especially with a gourmet-prepared smoked pork shoulder.

A German Surprise

When we arrived at our friend’s house, our hosts were befuddled. I announced that I had brought a bottle of Spätburgunder, and Tony and Amy exchanged puzzled glances.

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They aren’t alone. Even though Spätburgunder is Germany’s most popular red wine, most people haven’t heard of it. They haven’t heard of it, that is until you tell them that Spätburgunder is German for Pinot Noir.

Spätburgunder is a delicious secret to most people. While the prices of Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Carneros, and Russian River Valley continue to escalate, German Pinot Noir represents a marvelous value. I’ve also found the quality to be excellent.

The True Star

While the 2016 Talrain Spätburgunder is indeed newsworthy, the true star of the evening was the smoked pork shoulder prepared by Tony. Tony, who teaches physics at a local university, has developed his own scrumptious technique for smoking pork.

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The secret is in the sous vide technique. The meat is vacuum-sealed in plastic and then placed in a water bath where it is cooked with a low-temperature immersion circulator cooker. This allows precise control over the temperature.

It’s a two-part process with the final cooking being done in a smoker to give the meat a nice “bark” and the smokiness we all crave. When the meat came out of the smoker (and after a brief rest) the meat fell off the bone – ready for the hungry guests.

The Pairing

While Amy and Tony took care of the many details of the dinner, I focused on the critical task of uncorking the Spätburgunder and pouring!

Talrain is a vineyard located on the lower hills of the Black Forest in Baden. It is layered with limestone and iron-rich clay with an elevation of nearly 2,000 feet.

Fermentation takes place in stainless steel and 30% of the grapes are pressed whole-cluster. The ABV is a low 12%, meaning it won’t overpower your meal. This is a light and fresh wine with good acidity and aromas of forest and flowers. On the palate, there is wild strawberry and spice with juicy mineral notes. It’s an elegant wine.

In case you are wondering about the sauce, it started with a base of sweet sauce which was precisely attuned with hot sauce, vinegar, and some mustard. The meal was over the moon good.

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