German wine with Indian food

Another great food and wine matching event at the Cinnamon Club in London last night (April 29). This time hosted by Wines of Germany with master of wine Jeannie Cho Lee leading the charge for Riesling and Spatburgunder (or Pinot Noir).

Korean-born, American-accented Cho Lee is knowledge and charm personified. She held a near intellectual debate with Joe Wadsack about the relative roles and levels of alcohol to salt. She explained umami the ‘new’ sense along with sweet, sour, salt and bitterness, describing it as “a texture and delicousness” like the stock or broth you get from boiling up bones. Then there is ‘Kokumi’ (a new one on me, I have to admit), which is a sort of dialled up umami. It is supposed to be richer, fuller more concentrated and boosts your taste receptors. And all this over a ‘curry’ with some excellent wines.

Back in September I reported on a delightful lunch at the Cinnamon Club, hosted by the Sherry Institute of Spain. And last night Nicky Forrest and her team from Phipps PR, representing Wines of Germany, organised a magnificent four-course meal accompanied by some of the very best wines from Germany.

Baked wild African prawn with red pepper and coriander glaze was accompanied by Leitz’s Rudesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels Riesling, ‘Terrassen’ 2011 from the Rheingau, supplied by ABS Wine Agencies and Schafer-Frohlich Morzinger Halenberg Riesling Spatlese 2007 from the Nahe, supplied by the Wine Barn. Normally I would go for the drier Terrassen Riesling with just 13.5 grams of residual sugar. But in this case I slightly preferred the Spatlese (100g of RS). I felt its fuller texture went better with the dish.

Second up was Tandoori black leg chicken breast with cardamom and rose petals, passion fruit raita. This time we had JB Becker Walkenberg Riesling Auslese trocken 2007 from the Rheingau and Adeneuer Walporzheimer Garkammer Spatburgunder GG 2008 from the Ahr (both from The Winery). Normally I’m a red wine drinker so I expected to go for the German Pinot Noir. But no, I liked the Riesling Auslese trocken.

Main course: Roast loin of wild Cumbrian red deer with sesame tamarind sauce. Wines: Gunderloch, Nackenheim Rothenburg Riesling Spatlese 2009, Rheinhessen (ABS) and Huber Sommerhalde Spatburgunder 2007, Baden (The Winery). This time with the richer venison, I preferred the Spatburgunder.

We finished with Spiced apricot crumble with star anise ice cream. Just the one wine: Braunberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenaulese 2007, Mose (Charles Taylor Wines). Delicious, yummy even umami. Could even be Kokumi, but maybe that is a descriptor too far.

Great wines and well done the Cinnamon Club for putting on such interesting food. If there was anyone attending who did not think German wines are perfect accompaniments to spicy Asian food (I don’t think there was for one minute), they would have had a eureka moment.