The knights of von Kesselstatt may have first arrived in the region as early as the 14th century, but this time around we had double Michelin star chef, Gerhard Gartner and his wife Annegret Reh-Gartner, who together run one of the most prestigious Riesling estates in the Mosel, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, visit us in India. Suneeta Sodhi Kanga attended a wine dinner in Mumbai which showcased their excellent culinary and winemaking skills. Pictured are Chef Gerhartd Gartner, Suneeta Kanga of Sommelier India, Annegret Reh-Gartner and Chef Enrico Luise.
Italian Chef, Enrico Luise, helped prepare the delectable four-course meal in the impressive open kitchen of Fratelli Fresh, a premium Italian restaurant at the Renaissance Mumbai Hotel and Convention Center, Powai, in Mumbai. Presenting the historic estate’s beautiful Riesling wines,this elegant Winemaker’s Dinner was hosted by Vishal and Ashu Kadakia, of The Wine Park, on the eve of Indian Republic Day.
As a first course, we were served the best Scallops with Caviar Cream that I have ever tasted. Annegret explained that the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen 2007 Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, that we sipped along with it, could be described as ‘the cheerful one’ – its fragrance was so pleasing. Aromas of red berries like raspberries, but also ripe little grapes, passion fruit and peach literally jump out of the glass. On the palate, it was very elegant and lively with a fine acidity that ensured a ‘kick’ and that certain ‘something’ – a mouthful of pleasure like being on the wings of a butterfly!
Lobster Chowder was served at just the right temperature in a Martini glass with seasonal vegetables, the presentation making it even more interesting. This was followed by leeks accompanied with two types of sauces, a Béarnaise and a Choron. The RK Riesling 2007 (which was given an easy name for the convenience of their American importer) was the perfect match.
Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt introduced the RK Riesling to mark its 650th anniversary in 1999. A cuvée of 100% Riesling grapes which are estate grown and come from the very steep slopes of the vineyards along the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer, it is an easy drinking wine with a wonderful harmony between fruits like white peach, melon and grapefruit and vivid minerals. The palate is juicy with pleasant acidity, underlined by quite a good portion of slate.
The main course of Chicken Breast cooked in a wine sauce doubled the pleasure of the 2007 Scharzhofberger Grosses Gewächs Troken from Saar, which is one of the coldest wine regions after Canada. A dry wine, it had a very pleasant concentration and richness, underlined by fully matured acidity. This ‘nobleman’ among wines originates from grapes from 80-year-old ungrafted vines in the heart of the Scharzhofberg site.
Orchestrating the grand finale was the opulent Josephshöfer Riesling Spätlese 2003 paired with a delicious and perfectly prepared Bavarian Apple Strudel. Josephshöfer is one of many vineyards surrounding the famous village of Graach on the Mosel’s south-facing slopes that are steep and have grey, weathered Devon slate soil with a high proportion of fine earth.
These specific physical conditions result in full-bodied, spicy and aromatic wines with an unbelievable ageing potential. The aroma of the wine was overwhelming, as if you were in a herb garden. Dense and full-bodied, with fruity sweetness coupled with brilliant acidity, reminiscent of a basket full of wonderful ripe fruits, this was a really great wine experience and made a fitting end to a marvellous meal.
Annegret and Gerhard Gartner were able to achieve the almost impossible, as all of the guests seemed to enjoy this perfectly laid out, wine dinner and went back with happy memories. If you are in Powai, Frateli Fresh is just a hop and a skip away. Miss it and you forego a stellar fine dining opportunity.
The Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Rieslings, imported and distributed by The Wine Park, range from Rs.4000/- to Rs.8500/-.