30 March, 2009

Gritsch Wine Dinner at Aziza-SF

Aziza is a fun, funky restaurant focused on fresh, Moroccan-inspired flavors with interesting warren-like rooms that twist around like a souk to form interconnecting dining rooms. I would like to go back with a smaller party of drunkity friends, but maybe not the best choice for a winemaker dinner, as it would have been nicer to be able to hear (and see!) Franz Josef from Gritsch. That being said, the Winemonger put forward amazing wine and wonderful food that brought out the best in it. Plus the most amazing stemware: Zalto. Lead free crystal as light as air that picked up the candlelight and enhanced the wine experience. Luscious Lush, Thea and I ended up finding parking (not the easiest thing to do in the Richmond District on a Saturday Night!) and being early enough to hit the impressive cocktail list. I had a delightful Elderberry Flower infused Prosecco, which was an exotically floral concoction and the perfect palate cleanser to sip before the meal. We tried several of the Gruner Veltliners and a Riesling or two along the 7 courses plus dessert laden grand finale

Here's the breakdown:

'07 1000 pt-Eimerberg Riesling Federspiel

'07 Axpoint Gruner Veltliner Federspiel. This was an interesting compare-contrast as the Gruner was an easy drinking treat on its own, while the Riesling was bashful to communicate. However, with food, the Riesling proved itself delightful, particularly with the dill-cucumber flatbread spread and the chili spiked squid. The young Gruner had a delightful green peach, savory tropical fruit infused deliciousness.

Next came

'07 Singerriedel Gruner Veltliner Federspiel

'07 Gruner Veltliner Smaragd

I thought they said the difference between these two wines was 2 weeks hang time for the grapes. This gave one of them a bracing acidity that made it a great food wine. Although the extra 2 weeks provided more complexity and a smoother drinking experience in the other wine.

'05 Singerridel Gruner Veltliner Smaragd

This was my favorite wine of the evening. The extra few years of age made this a tasty offering with a more sophisticated incarnation. It was mesmerizing with all the different spicy, cinnamony, bold exotic flavors Aziza threw at us. Yum! Check out the menu to see the dishes they offer. The spices, fresh vegetables and presentations are sure to delight.

We also tried '07 1000-Eimerberg Riesling Smaragd

My favorite part of the evening was the profusion of desserts that appeared. Everything was tasty, but the standout for me was the hibiscus granita/rose custard with a citrus tuile perched atop like a lacy Easter bonnet. Wow! No sickly sweet wines here, they paired the Fourth -of -July-fireworks - finale- in -DC lineup of sweets with '07 Vision Riesling Select. I had no idea that the slightly sweet wine would be able to stand up to the desserts, but it held its own. Delicious

Read more about Franz Josef here:

http://www.mauritiushof.at/ There was a totally sound of music vibe, but you could tell that the passion behind the wine goes back as far as the winery's 800 year history. Many thanks to the Winemonger who put together a fun event.
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