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Senior editor and tasting director Bruce Sanderson joined Wine Spectator in 1993. His tasting beats are Burgundy in France and Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy.
Bruce Sanderson

Choucroute and Dry Riesling

Ostertag Riesling Alsace Heissenberg 2007

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: April 7, 2010

Each winter, I like to make a choucroute, the fabulous Alsatian dish composed of smoked pork loin, sauerkraut and an assortment of sausages.

This year marked the third annual choucroute dinner at the house of my colleague, Kim Marcus. Of course, the obvious choice was to pair all that fatty pork with some crystal-clear, dry Riesling from the same French region. The acidity offsets the fat and stands up to the sauerkraut (and it helps that there is almost a bottle of Riesling in the dish).

We selected a number of Rieslings, from Alsace, Austria and Germany. However, of the five bottles opened and shared among the 10 of us, my favorite was Ostertag’s 2007 Heissenberg. It was rich and spicy, with layers of citrus, orchard fruit and mineral, all well-balanced and refreshing (93 points, non-blind). Better yet, it was a perfect match for the choucroute.

André Ostertag makes beautiful Rieslings, expressive of their sites around the Alsatian village of Nothalten. Heissenberg literally means “hot mountain,” and this is the richest of Ostertag’s three Rieslings, the others being Fronholz and the grand cru Muenchberg.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Ostertag Riesling Alsace Heissenberg 2007 (94, $36).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Rieslings from Alsace, along with our quick list of Top Value whites from Alsace.

Susan Sevig
lakeland, fl usa —  April 7, 2010 7:31am ET
we will be spending 3 days in Gutach GY and then 3 days in the Alsace before moving on to the Auvergne region

any tips on restuarants and wineries we should visit?

thanks dale
Phil Roberts
Palatine, IL —  April 7, 2010 2:50pm ET

Yeah, this is a really great pairing and I love choucroute too!
Claude Kaber
Luxemburg —  April 7, 2010 4:42pm ET
Great pairing indeed. Silvaner is another great option.
@Susan Sevig
Not too much experience with restaurants in alsace, but restaurant 'Katz' in the village of Saverne comes to my mind. The best choucroute i've ever tried. (+ a great onion soup, Guglhupf and many other alsacian specialities)
Benno Dorer
San Francisco, CA —  April 8, 2010 9:49pm ET
@ SusanSelvig

I grew up in the Black Forest not far from Gutach.
Three wineries in the Baden (Germany) region close by that I highly recommend:
- Bernhard Huber
- Reinhold + Cornelia Schneider
- Franz Keller
The latter also features a wonderful restaurant.
Try the Pinot Noirs! Impossible to find in the US but irresistible.

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