If you haven't heard already, this month is Riesling's Birthday!!! Riesling is one of the most popular German wine varietals with vibrant notes of fresh green apple, pear, and lime. Since I had some of Mission Hill’s Reserve 2018 Riesling at home, I decided to celebrate this fabulous German grape with German cuisine, pairing it with a homemade Chicken Schnitzel dish with Sauerkraut and Fries (recipe shown below). Let’s go into why these pairings went incredibly well together and how you can bring a German experience to your dining table.
Mission Hill’s Riesling is grown in West Kelowna and Naramata, which contain the cooler microclimates of the Okanagan. These conditions are quite ideal for this wine varietal considering that it comes from Germany, which also has a cooler climate. With that, the cooler climate makes the grapes take longer to ripen, giving this Riesling the citrus and sour notes of lime, lemon, green apple, and pear. As well, the cooler climate makes this wine stronger in acidity. What I really love about Riesling is how aromatic it is. It has a lovely citrus zest aroma that opens your senses to help you more easily detect and enjoy all the wonderful flavours in your meal. This wine is also light-bodied and carries a mineral texture, which is pleasant on the palate and lets it mesh into the food. Lastly, this Riesling has a strong acidity, carrying a pH of 2.83 which is between the acidity of lemon juice and vinegar, so it makes sense why this wine has vibrant acidic and sour components. (If you want to learn more about Riesling, check out this blog post.)
Going into the food, I followed Jennifer Schnell's recipe to make the Chicken Schnitzel and used Sweet C’s recipe for my air-fried Fries while buying jarred Sauerkraut. My reason behind choosing this dish to pair with the Riesling was because they both originate from Germany. One thing that “old world” wine countries like France, Italy, and Spain are great at doing is pairing wine and food. It’s the norm to use locally sourced ingredients when you’re making a meal, meaning that everything in your meal is grown from the same land or terroir. If you don’t know what terroir is, it’s a French term used to describe a region’s environment to grow wine. Because the environmental factors that the food and wine grow in are the same - same soil, climate, altitude, etc. their flavour profiles match very well. (Find more about terroir here.)
Honestly, when I had both the Riesling and Chicken Schnitzel dish together, it was a match made in heaven!! The Riesling was acidic and sour while the schnitzels and fries were dry, tender, and hardy, which bring complexity to the palate with the contrasting flavours and textures. The chicken schnitzels were also garnished with white wine sauce (recipe shown below) that mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with the Riesling and chicken broth, which elevate the flavours of the meal. As well, white wines are always a great pairing with white meats like chicken because they both are light to medium-bodied. Adding in the flavourful and yummy Sauerkraut, which was fermented in white wine, really was the cherry-on-top of this delicious meal. If you’re craving to travel as much as I am, give yourself the experience to travel from home with this German wine and food pairing.
Here's the Jennifer Schnell's Chicken Schnitzel recipe: