Thu 13 Nov 2008
This week I treated the Hugel & Fils Tradition “Hugel”Pinot Gris 2005, from Alsace, rather differently than its venerable producer would probably envision, but I think the company — which dates back to 1639 and is still owned by the same family — would approve.
We were feeling a bit puny, so I went to a nearby Chinese take-out place and got our favorite “feed-a-cold” food, wonton soup and war won ton soup. The difference between the soups is that war won ton soup has more vegetables, meat and shrimp. When I get them home, I mix them together.
So, I made LL a toddy — hot water, bourbon and lemon –drove to the restaurant, got the soups, as well as an order of green beans with black bean sauce, drove back home, and gently re-heated the now-combined soups.
Casting about for a wine, I opened the Hugel Tradition Pinot gris 2005, thinking, well, won ton soup is Asian and it’s always recommended that we drink German and Alsatian wines with Asian cuisine.
The wine is a lovely example of a grape that works so well in Alsace, where it tends to be handled with spareness and elegance. At three years old, the wine sports a beautiful medium gold color; aromas of ripe pear and peach fan from the glass, with hints of spice and some astringent floral quality. In the mouth, it deftly balances crisp acidity with a silky texture; the pear and peach flavors deepen with smoke and crystallized ginger and a touch of caramelized quince. The finish is long and suave and spicy. An absolutely delicious and seamlessly layered wine and a complete success with our Chinese take-out supper. Drink through 2011 or ’12. Excellent. About $28.
Then yesterday, LL suggested that we have — a rare occurrence on a work-day — lunch at home, since we were involved in a complicated routine of letting the dogs out on a rainy day, juggling transportation and so on. I made a simple green salad, and she made grilled cheese sandwiches, using rosemary bread and three cheeses of different textures and flavor profiles. Perhaps this doesn’t matter once the sandwich is grilled, but it certainly tasted like the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever eaten.
There were about two glasses of the pinot gris left in the bottle in the refrigerator, so I poured a glass for each of us and we sat down and had a nice little lunch, and after that respite, it was back to the hectic round. And the wine was perfect with the grilled cheese sandwiches.