Chardonnay with chicken one night, Riesling with chicken the next!

Last night we had some magnificent Chicken Pot Pies for dinner.  My lovely bride has posted the recipe in her blog DAZ in the Kitchen.  Make sure you enjoy these tummy warmers before spring gets truly on top of us (here in Australia – in the US you are now moving into Chicken Pot Pie season!).  These pot pies are easy to make and simply delicious!  Don’t just throw a Swanson frozen pie in the microwave if you are in the US either!  Follow the recipe and provide yourself a real treat!  (And serve Chardonnay with it!)

From my post yesterday, you understand that we choose a beautiful Chardonnay, the 2006 Penfolds Bin 144 Yatarnna to go with the Chicken Pot Pies.  Tonight we are having Orange Chicken for dinner, yet having a Riesling instead of Chardonnay as it will match with the food better.

So, why not just do Chardonnay again?  Yesterday, the food was tasty but mild, had a creamy sauce and a light pastry crust on top.  Not wanting to have either the wine or the food outshine the other, we choose a mellow Chardonnay to go match equally with the food in terms of taste and texture.  However, tonight’s meal is Orange Chicken, which uses a tangy-er orange concentrate, some balsamic vinegar and a few other ingredients.  Therefore, we needed an edgier, sharper wine and therefore it made sense to select a Riesling.

There are a lot of great Australian Rieslings, especially from Clare Valley, SA.  But my favorite Riesling of late comes from Alsace and Hugel.  We are drinking the 2009 vintage and it is a spectacular wine for the money.   We paid $30 per bottle for this.

I have some great Rieslings we paid $15 – $18 per bottle for, including Ladbroke, Leo Buring, Annie’s Lane, and Mamre Brook, but I did not have one of those chilled.  After this bottle of the 2009 Hugel Alsace Riesling, I will need to be more selective as I only have four bottles left and this is a truly spectacular wine.  In fact, this wine is so good, it is part of my second best wine meal ever!  I may need to see if I can source some more.

The 2009 Hugel Alsace Riesling has melon flavors and a long finish.  And dare I say, a slight taste of banana.  (Or maybe the banana impression is coming from the baking of banana bread by my wife today that is sitting on top of the kitchen counter!)

As an aside, the other thing I love about French wines, is the corks!  They still use corks more often than not (I am not sure I would find an Australian Riesling from 2009 with a cork – can anyone help me out here?), and such beautifully labeled corks.  I keep all of my labeled corks in a big basket (which I hope is filled some day!) and the French are helping me out here.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the value and the risk-adverse approach to using screw tops, but there is still an ambient experience of opening a cork, and looking at how it held up that is difficult to beat.  It is just one more small, but nice element to complete a lovely Sunday evening meal.

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