The Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 2007
Bauhaus's resident wine expert, Alan Koller, is back with another tale about life, wine, and foie gras.
My German father was trained as a mechanic by Mercedes Benz back in the '50s. I remember growing up listening to his stories about how Mercedes did things. To say they were a little obsessive compulsive is an understatement. One of the things they did was have all the apprentices get their driver’s license, but the testing was to be done with instructors from the Mercedes race team. The first time my dad took the test he failed. Why? Because he failed to shift between 2nd and 3rd gear in the proper RPM range. Slightly different rules than our driving exams. With that, you have a bit of a vision of what childhood was like for me with a Mercedes-trained OCD father. The good news is, my mother was Canadian so I am well-balanced, just like the wine I am talking about. - Joh Jos Prum.
Fine wine in Germany is an exact science. It is the only country in the world that takes its signature varietal and creates 8 sweetness levels on top of its other classifications. There is never a harvest where pickers go into a vineyard and simply pick all the grape clusters. Top vineyards have a tool called a refractometer, which allows a picker to look at a single grape in a bunch and know the sugar content of that grape. If it is the correct sugar content, then they pick the grape bunch. If not, the grape is left on the vine. Robert Weil brags that in their best vineyards, pickers may go through a single vineyard up to 13 times in a season to pick.
Joh Jos Prum will handle their vineyards in a similar manor, except they almost never make a trocken or dry Riesling. They specialize in sweeter Riesling, and by most accounts they are the benchmark for Mosel Riesling. If we use price as an indicator then they definitely they are, their Trockenbeerenausese when it is produced can sell for upwards of $5000 a bottle upon release. Here's the good news: the Auslese we are serving is a steal at $240.
So what should you expect from this wine? Incredible complexity in a wine that is about a 5 out of 10 for sweetness. The flavour profile shows some green apple, but a great deal of peach and exotic tropical fruit. As it works around your palate, new flavours will emerge and keep you engaged. Near the end you will pick up on a hint of botrytis. It has a wonderfully crisp acidity that rounds out the sweetness - this is instrumental in the wine pairing. Without the acidity, pairing this wine to food would be tough.
What should you pair this dish with? At Bauhaus it is unquestionably the Foie Gras torchon. Upon request, we will serve just the torchon and brioche, and substitute the wine as the dish's fruit component. That is what I would do, and if you check with us, we may just have an alternate wine open for you to try as the pairing for the Foie Gras. It truly is an amazing pairing. If you try it at home, I suggest a quality blue cheese or some fatty pork, as both work exceptionally well with Auslese. I hope you get a chance to try it.