Wine & Food

Snooth User: northsideirish

Schnitzel und Spaetzle und one frustrated Kumpel

Posted by northsideirish, Sep 7, 2010.

My wife and I are hosting a German dinner in about a month.  She has the easy part, coming up with the menu and delivering on her fine cooking.  Wienerschnitzel and Spatzle are the main course, with probable sides of grean beans and such.  My part is to come up with matching beverages.  The beer is easy.  I'll find something good in a small keg and will go with it.  But what do I do for the wine drinkers?  We have always only had Reisling Spatlese at the in-laws, so I'd like to do something different.  Do we stick with whites?  Gruner Veltliner?  Or do we experiment with reds?  And on that note, are there any German reds that would match well with Schnitzel?  

Thanks in advance for your advice,

der Kumpel

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 7, 2010.

Absolutely nothing wrong with German Riesling with that menu, whether Spatlese or Kabinett is up to your palate (and the individual winery's style). To throw a small curve, you could try some Alsatian rieslings, or even pinot blanc, as well. For a red, perhaps some German (Spätburgunder) or Swiss pinot noir, or even a Dole from Switzerland (a blend of pinot noir and gamay)? Much lighter than the French versions. I like all these options better than a Gruner, but that's my palate.

If you want specific bottle recommendations, what's your budget?

Reply by northsideirish, Sep 7, 2010.

I like these ideas.  I'd like to do these under $20, but if there were a compelling option slightly higher, it could work.

I've never tried a Dole, or a Spätburgunder, for that matter. Sounds like time to try out some new things.


Reply by Degrandcru, Sep 8, 2010.

Will the Schnitzel be from Veal or Pork? Veal is more the Austrian version (Wiener Schnitzel), while in Germany often pork is used. I prefer the austrian version (even though I am German). With the veal I definitely would recommend a Riesling or Gruener Veltliner; the Riesling shouldn't be sweet, go with a dry, refreshing style. Even so with other kind of veal (e.g. Ossobuco) a red would work better, in my opinion most reds would overpower a good Schnitzel (the thinner the veal, the better).

Hope the Spaetzle will be hand made with a scraper... everything else doesn't work. Enjoy!


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 8, 2010.

A delicate Pinot might work, and that seems to Germany's forte in this department as it so happens but I too like the sound of  a Riesling, Halbtrocken or trocken for me please!

Reply by AdamJefferson, Sep 16, 2010.

A meal that heavy (and wonderful) benefits from something a bit acidic to "cut the grease" as we say around here.  If you're offering a vinegar potato salad or kraut, you might consider one of the sweeter Rieslings; if you're not doing that, I like the trocken (dry).  Anybody got experience tasting the New York varieties; I've read they're generally less sweet than most German Rieslings and very refreshing.

You can't pound a schnitzel too thin but you can bread one too thick.   

Reply by jennrehm, Sep 21, 2010.

Forget Riesling

Serve a Gruner Veitliener.



Reply by GregT, Sep 21, 2010.

German or Germanic?  You could serve Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch, St. Laurent, Syrah, Cab Franc, Lagrein, or even something like Regent (if you are desperate) or any number of other reds.  For whites, you can serve Riesling, as mentioned, and that's what I'd go with and I'd stick to the German and not the Alsatian but that's because it's my childhood food/wine pairing, or you can go with Schuerbe, or any number of other whites.  Veltliner, both Roter and Gruener can work and I've had both with that dish, or Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris.  People in Central Europe eat those foods with all the above wines, as well as with wines from elsewhere. 

Of course, for dessert, you would have Tokaji-aszu.  And maybe schnapps.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 14, 2012.

Was making some German-style (pork) schnitzel for a special friend tonight and remembered this thread for some off-reason. We had some excellent riesling, a Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Spatlese, 1996. A year I like well for that part of Germany, with healthy fruit, but not the overdone amount like in 1997. Great acidity in all the wines I've chosen from that year. Also in the Gunderloch, which had lovely golden color but a nose and palate that just plain rocked. All the usual petrol hints that suddenly morph into brief flashes of peaches and mango and some fruit I've yet to see or name, but was smelling. The mango and apple and citrus, almost as if they'd been cooked into a just-barely-done crumble or cobbler (guess what we had for dessert!) in the mouth, leading into that lovely raspy granularity of minerals across the tongue that is a signature of Gunderloch, increasing into the finish. Obviously I'd been jonesing for some good wine, and all the Sake and seafood I'd been consuming over the weekend (see below) made me decide on the schnitzel and the riesling. Was patting myself on the back as I subsided back into my chair with a smile on my face before the end of the first glass. Perfection of a meal--that meat served with sauteed mushrooms and a little German mustard and lemon, together with a number of small vegetable sides and the wine, followed by that crumble that echoed the wine in a sweeter version, and some good-quality jasmine tea. I'm writing this as she cleans (hey, I cooked!). Maybe a glass of schnapps later.

It was nearly my first wine in a week because my sister and her husband were in town over an extended weekend and every night was fish and beer and local sakes from the far north and northwestern parts of Japan, although a CdRhone (?!) appeared on the table (but not in my glass) one night at one of the best places for sashimi in that part of west-central Tokyo called Shibuya. What can I say, the husband is from near Bilbao.... One time I did slip back to wine was after sending them back to their hotel beds on Saturday night to deal with some travel fatigue, I met a friend for some Numanthia (guess I was thinking Spain) at the bar of a Mediterranean restaurant where I know the owner. However, sake earlier in the evening followed by that bottle led us to head for some aged reposado and anejo tequila which then lead to.... ; ultimately, not a nice head the next morning, and I made my penance as I schlepped around to some of the usual tourist sites across half the city on Sunday. At least I had the smarts to finagle in a massage at the end of the afternoon as something 'traditional' before we headed to that excellent sashimi (and various carpaccios and tuna-jaw 'spareribs' and scallop&cheese risotto, thus the CdRhone for him).

Anyway, the real reason for this post was my clearing of email inboxes where I saw an offer from Chambers Street, and remembered that you were looking for some riesling reccs a while back, Jon (assuming you see this in time). I find it humorous (hey it's OK with me because it keeps the prices down) that the Rheingau and Rheinhessen are out of fashion this past decade or two since great wine's always been made there, even more than in the Nahe, though I also drink plenty of Mosel. I also crack up when I see people on CT and elsewhere talking about 'aged' riesling only a halfdozen years old--my Gunderloch tonight was well youthful and I'll give it another 10 years+ to go, while an Auslese probably 15-20, and a BA or TBA even more.

Back to the Chambers Street offer, which is utterly ridiculous in the price compared to the vintage and provenance. Love it when merchants serve up well-aged bottles ready to drink! And with the small volume available you should jump on it now, if interested.



Schloss Schonborn 1994 Rheingau Johannisberger Klaus Riesling Kabinett
Full-bodied for a Kabinett but somewhat more chiseled compared to the richer '95 Holle. Bold flavors of lime, orange blossom and some dill-like herbal notes. Intense with plenty of good dry extract and great balance. Still tasting quite young but starting to show very interesting secondary characteristics. The vineyard itself is just northeast of where the Main meets the Rhine, with chalky soils that contribute to the wine's mineral cut. -jfr
white medium-sweet | 11 in stock | $26.99



Schloss Schonborn 1995 Rheingau Hochheimer Holle Riesling Kabinett (3/12)
A beautifully developed Riesling showing intense petrol and flint notes, along with a distinct orange zest character. More flesh and light sweetness than the Klaus but balanced with great acid for the Rheingau. On the palate there are savory flavors of smoke and petrol, golden apple, orange blossom, tangerine pith, even a little grapefruit. The vineyard is down-slope from the famous Schloss Johannisberg, close to the Rhein river and composed of heavy, loess soil. An incredible deal for mature Riesling that's drinking quite well. -jfr
white medium-sweet | 31 in stock | $27.99
160 Chambers Street * New York, NY 10007 * Phone: 212.227.1434 * Fax: 212.227.7978 
Reply by GregT, Mar 14, 2012.

They're good for that sort of thing - best store in NYC for older vintages at fair prices. I was wondering what caused you to go dumpster diving for old threads!  That Gunderloch is a good call too - I have some from much more recent vintages - 01 and 02 and 05.  Tend to drink them younger but never got around to those so we'll have to see what happens.

And as for spaetzle - worthy of another thread.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 14, 2012.

Definitely the role you describe, Greg, is played by Benchmark and BPWine over in Napa, with Rarewineco sounding in at higher levels from Sonoma. Since NYC is on the Atlantic, though, there're more variations of Europe that seem to make it into Chambers' offerings. Neither Benchmark nor BP have much riesling, even if recently I've seen them start to make an effort.

Great offer from them. Even greater meal last night!  ;-)

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 14, 2012.

Thanks D...I feel like I have no future with Port, but just haven't had a good Riesling yet. Think i'd prefer dry Riesling, but haven't really tried enough to know yet.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 14, 2012.

So you don't like port, even after a two-hour meal that becomes three hours thanks to lingering over the port and conversation? Should I assume you also eschew cigars?  ;-)    How about Madeira?

Leaving that all aside, you should jump on that Chambers Street deal. It's a rare find, especially at that price!

I was happy with a regular spatlese, not trocken, because I also had some cherry tomatoes in dressing and vinegared cucumbers in the sides. The fruit and sweetness is a language you may need to learn but I caught on after only a few drinks. The key is the match with the food. With the sweetness of the pork, matched by the savory of the mushrooms and the mustard, together with small servings of  brussel sprouts and tomatoes and cucumbers and sauteed potatoes, that level of sweetness (not so bad at all and barely noticeable at times, though if you look for it it's there) in the spatlese seemed perfect. Not at all a dessert wine, or even close, and dryer than some of the sweeter kabinetts. Though generally kabinetts will be dryer than spatlese, so I suggest you start your explorations there (thus the link to Chambers)....

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 14, 2012.

I'm probably 0/20 in liking port. I'll puff on a cigar if available (love macanudo's), and I of course love a good Sauternes, and pretty much any Tokaji. Will take a hard look at the Chambers Street deal.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 14, 2012.

When you say Port are you talking vintage port, or something else?

Oh, and the only time I'll consider rieslings and ports in the same hemisphere of the wine world is when we're talking BAs or TBAs. Qbas and Kabinetts and Spatleses are very, very different from dessert wines....

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 14, 2012.

All kinds of port, including vintage port. Just this past Saturday, where I attended a well put together blind tasting, one of the members offered up a bottle of vintage port for the organizer's birthday. While I was hopeful, I was also realistic, i've never remotely liked port, why should this be different? It was slightly better than most, but overall the same result.

I did try a Madeira and a Sauternes at a nice restaurant in Las Vegas this past winter, and liked both, though still prefer the Sauternes & Tokaji for sweets. Jury's still out on Riesling...

Reply by dmcker, Mar 17, 2012.

Here's another riesling offer from Chambers Street that is rather different: young Mosel (technically just up the Saar), including drier Spatlese and an Auslese. If any of the earlier offer remain it'd be great to compare them against these for a quick education in different riesling expressions. BTW I've had plenty of the Egon Muller and Geltz-Zilliken referred to in passing, also from the Saar, and they're more than worth watching for, though Muller's Scharzhofburger auslese (drank cases of those back in the '80s with a friend who was a phreak for them) can get a bit pricey these days. Geltz-Zilliken's botrytised offerings are special.



We've been waiting for months to get the chance to send this offer, and the moment is finally here! With as much fanfare as a simple email can muster, we're happy to announce the arrival of the 2010s from Hofgut Falkenstein, one of Germany's great maverick estates. Erich Weber, the proprietor and winemaker, crafts wines that are unlike any others, not just in Germany, but anywhere in the world. They are light, fresh, and generally much drier than we would expect based on the pr?kat each is given (Sp?ese, Auslese, etc.) Vibrant acidity and explicit mineral flavors are prominent across the board. Not buttressed by high levels of residual sugar or ripe, creamy richness, the wines can seem austere at first; to us they are savory, direct and, above all, transparent. The vineyards lie in and around the small villages of Konz-Niedermennig and Krettnach, where the Saar empties into the Mosel, not far from the Ancient Roman city of Trier. The winemaking is as old-school as you can imagine in Germany. The vineyard-work is close to organic and all the grapes are hand-harvested in multiple passes. In the cellar nothing is added or taken away from the wine (with the exception of a small amount of sulfur dioxide): no enzymes, no cultured yeasts, no sugar, no de-acidification. The wines are honest, authentic examples of both their terroir and vintage. Fermentations are long and leisurely in Weber's cool cellar, and the amount of sugar left in the wine is determined by when the yeasts finish working. Everything is done in large old fuder; there's not a stainless steel tank or a barrique to be found in the cellar, nor any artificial temperature control devices. The Saar is a hotbed for top-quality growers making great wine with distinctive voices, and while we remain devoted fans of the likes of Egon M? Geltz-Zilliken and Peter Lauer, the delicate, piquant wines of Hofgut Falkenstein stand alone.

Falkenstein, Hofgut 2010 Saar Krettnacher Altenberg Ries Spat Trocken
The Sp?ese Trocken from Altenberg is both essentially Weber's entry-level wine but also his signature bottling. It's certainly the wine of his stable that tastes the least like one's common perceptions of Mosel Riesling. The soil is composed of classic blue-gray slate, and the intense mineral tones in the wine are a rock-lover's dream. Aromatically it's minty, steely, herbal and has a distinct note of sea-spray. The wine actually reminds me more of a great Muscadet or a low-alcohol Fino Sherry than typical Saar. Wonderfully unique and compelling wine. AP #7 -jfr
white | 53 in stock | $18.99
Falkenstein, Hofgut 2010 Saar Niedermenniger Sonnenberg Ries Spat Feinherb
While the Krettnacher sites are all gray and blue slate, here there's some sandstone mixed in along with the slate. Aromatically this is generally rounder than the more piercing Altenberg Trocken. Bright citrus notes are there, of course, but it's practically dripping with dark-toned, intense minerals. This falls toward the dry end of the feinherb spectrum, and the bold interplay between mild sweetness, intense acidity and focused, salty mineral flavors is remarkable. The finish is long and lip-smacking, with bright, fresh acidity that expands on the back of the palate. A Riesling to enjoy with more savory cuisine or with seafood. AP#6 -jfr
white | 51 in stock | $18.99
Falkenstein, Hofgut 2010 Saar Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Auslese
Auslese for less then $30? Well, Erich Weber is staunchly opposed to "pr?kat-inflation," so his Auslese isn't going to be some kind of declassified TBA. This is certainly sweet, but not in a dessert sort of way; it's classic food Riesling, great with mildly sweet or spicy cuisine. Grown on blue slate and eminently drinkable, here the estate's signature bright citrus notes give way to riper apple and grapefruit flavors. Perfectly balanced and drinking exceptionally well now, though it has tremendous capacity to age. Needless to say, the wine's 50 g/l residual sugar are cut with riveting, bracing acidity. -jfr
white medium-sweet | 54 in stock | $25.99


Reply by dmcker, Mar 17, 2012.

And Greg, still waiting for your spaetzle recipes and wine matches!  ;-)

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 19, 2012.

Well, I had a nice dry Riesling at Umami Burger yesterday, and it paired well enough with the burger. Liked it quite a bit more than other sweets or semi-sweet's i've had in the past, so at least I see some potential for buying dry rieslings now.

2008 Leitz Rudesheimer "3" Qba Trocken


Reply by GregT, Mar 19, 2012.

OK D - so I bought a pie pan today.  I'm going to drill holes in it and use it to make the stuff.  I bought one of those contraptions that has a little square box that you load the dough in and slide it back and forth, but you end up with gobs of dough outside the box and they're not worth the effort.  You can take the box off and just scrape thru, but that's extra work and there aren't enough holes.  So I'm drilling holes in the pie pan and we'll see how it works.  You can but a very similar device, but it's $22!  For a pan with holes in it???

What I"m not good at is flicking them off a cutting board.  Never quite figured that out but it's one of my life goals. The uneven texture is really appealing.

Anyhow, I braised some beef over the weekend for reheating later and sometime this week that's going to be dinner. Heat that, make the spatezle, fry it in butter with some onions that I"m going to brown first, and I'll probably have it with a Blaufrankisch from Moric.  Lots of acidity, Germanic enough, and should work with my braised beef, although I used some leftover Greek wine for the beef and it's got a hint of sweetness to it.  I'll try it first and may end up going for something like an older Syrah instead - not sure.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 20, 2012.

Aren't you going to take us through how you actually make those little baby spaetzle, Greg?  ;-) 

The meal sounds good. And understood about the pietin solution. Seem to remember I actually made something similar from one of those flimsy aluminum tins that come from a storebought pie (not that I usually buy my pies at stores) several years ago. That didn't really work too well, especially since there were already scores of barbed miniature airholes in the bottom of the pan. Shredded and scored fingertips, crumpled tin.... ;-(

On a more positive note, I threw together an impromptu meal tonight that worked remarkably well with what has become a winter-into-spring tradition in my household these days of a weekly bottle of good riesling.  My daughter announced at noon she was coming over for dinner tonight to talk about something and I didn't really have time to go shopping for any groceries. I look in my fridge an hour and a half before she's due to arrive and 'hmmmmm..... This should be interesting' (actual expletives deleted). 'Guess I'll have to throw together one of those one-of-a-kind dishes my exwife always referred to as my 'experiments'.'  Let's see, a huge block of some homemade pastrami someone gifted me and I was already getting tired of, a few danshaku potatoes (not-so-golden Yukon-like), some bermuda onions, about 1/8 of a head of hakusai cabbage, some leftover homemade cream of celery soup, a few aging sprigs of rosemary and a block of slightly aged gouda. Shaved some pastrami in very small pieces, shredded the onion and hakusai, sliced the potatoes, layered them, dumped in the soup, addded some more potatoes and some grated garlic and the rosemary and cracked peppercorns, more potatoes than some grated gouda. Throw that in a 190degreeC oven for an hour, go choose the wine and open it, then dash together an asparagus vinaigrette.

Wasn't sure how the meal would turn out so wanted at least a solid bottle of wine. Since I'd dissed Nahe a bit above and was feeling defensive about it, went for a Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshole Riesling Spatlese 1996. Figured its anticipated creaminess combined with acid would be a match for that experimental potato dish, while also standing up to the asparagus.

In the glass some green with the gold that wasn't thinning much at all. Already could tell this has many, many years yet to go. Some apple and momentary wafts of citrus, but if anything a honeydew and other melons bouquet on the nose. Minerality and acid and lots of fleshy-yet-tight (perhaps Jessica Biel towards ScarJo rather than Natalie Portman?!) body on the palate, with yet more melon. Then that lovely creaminess towards the finish. A rich opulence that's not at all decadent thanks to the acid and minerals and structure. A superb wine, very different from both the Rheinhessens and Mosels I talked about above, and something that yet again makes me laugh at how current groupthink makes the Mosels out to be the only fashionable German wines of the moment.

Fortunately that potato casserolley thingy turned out alright. And was a good match with the wine, while the asparagus (never an easy match, much less with the vinaigrette which was more lemon juice than actual vinegar) wasn't horribly clashing. Popped a storebought apple pie (my second in about a year) into the oven, and typing this up now while my daughter does the dishes (perhaps a pattern can be seen?). Won't be using the leftover pietin for spaetzle, tho.  By request some Rachmaninoff in the background, while dinner was accompanied by some B.B. King.  :-)

Really wonderful how great wine and a decent meal (and good music), even if dashed together, can round off the edges of the day and make sharing with someone special a civilized/extranice/just-plain-good/whatever-other-expression-you-care-for experience. Definitely one of the more easily reproducible high points of the human experience....

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