The appetizer for this menu was inspired by a pairing I had at a German restaurant in Alameda called Speisekammer. It was truly one of those, “Wow,” moments. Smoked fish is perfect with the great grape of Austria, grüener veltliner. Grüener has searing acidity with citrus and white pepper notes very similar to Sauvignon Blanc. The delicate smoke on the fish absolutely transforms the wine, tempering the acid. Serve smoked trout or salmon on top of little rye toasts and top with a dollop of horseradish cream. Garnish with pickled onion or capers. The salty fish and tangy cream will melt in your mouth and the wine will refresh your palate after each bite.
Wiener schnitzel, cracked potatoes and a fresh cucumber salad will serve as a classic trio for your entree (recipes for sides on LaSommelierre.com). Open a Zweigelt from the region and enjoy the bright berry flavors that make this wine so easy to drink. If you can’t find Zweigelt, Sonoma County Zinfandel is similar.
Enjoy your party and choose not to slave over dessert. Splurge on a classic Linzer Torte from Austria and pair it with a trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) welshriesling from Neusiedler See or a TBA from Germany will work, too. The almonds, lemon and buttery crust will be just the right sweetness with the rich wine. Also, do choose the apricot filling. Raspberry or plum are both fantastic but the stone fruit notes will be beautifully harmonious with the wine.
So, go on. Pair Up!
Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.LaSommelierre.com