Dinner tonight was colorful, flavorful and wholesome - braised chicken with sauteed sweet peppers, potatoes, broccoli and onion seasoned with garlic, ginger, sesame oil and kaffir lime leaves, accompanied by brown and wild rices off to the side. I was only vaguely aware of the menu when I was summoned to the table. En route, I paused at the refrigerator to grab a bottle of wine I'd been looking forward to tasting. I also fetched from a kitchen drawer a cork puller, which, I soon discovered, wasn't necessary. This was a bottle plugged with one of those new glass stoppers that require just a slight twist and tug to remove.
Happily, without forethought, the pairing worked out splendidly. The wine was the Der Pollerhof 2007 Ried Konigsberg Riesling ($24), which I'd just bought on the persuasive advice of a clerk at 58 Degrees & Holding Co. in midtown Sacramento. I'd asked for a dry riesling, and the Der Pollerhof is what he produced. The wine was perfect not only for the liveliness and brightness of the chicken, peppers and rice, but for this unusually balmy mid-July evening.
The riesling was dry, all right, but it also was unusually fruity and layered for the varietal, with no traces of the petrol aromatics often associated with European interpretations of the varietal (Der Pollerhof is in Austria). It opened with the smell of small white wildflowers, and on the palate kept unfolding into delicate fruit flavors - peach and grapefruit early on, and apple, apricot and tangerine later. The spice suggested white pepper, and made me think gruner veltliner. Later, when I looked up Der Pollerhof online, I learned that its signature wine is indeed gruner veltliner, so I suspect that a touch may have been added to the riesling.
The wine is imported and distributed by Valley View Wine Sales of Glen Ellen. I got the feeling that 58 Degrees was down to its last few bottles. Here's hoping that Valley View has more in the pipeline.