October 7, 2013

Gewürztraminer and Porchetta (Porketta) Sandwiches.

I've been wanting, waiting to attempt another U.P. wine pairing. It had to be a main dish regularly consumed by the traditional families from all heritages. After Pasties, its Porketta sandwiches. Porchetta is a pork tender loin wrapped in pork belly tied and thoroughly coated with an herb paste. With a long list of work to do outside,  I decided to purchase a roast from Econo Foods in Iron Mountain.  To cook the porchetta, put the roast in a cooking bag, set the oven to 350 and wait for 2-4 hours (depending if you want to shred your pork or slice it).  The sandwich is a toasted hardroll with butter lettuce and extra virgin olive oil. 

Chateau Grand Traverse, Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City, Michigan, Gewürztraminer 2011

Medium, bordering on light body.  There is lemon on the nose, but more of the processed lemon smell. It smells like a lemon the same way that a “Lemon Drop” candy tastes like a lemon. I like that aspect of this wine; it reminds me of eating candy during recess.  Along with the lemon, there is a strong presence of white flowers. Usually I like a floral nose, but this is over powering.  The label lists a lot of flavors, “Lychee, citronella, ginger… apricot, pear, nectar and starfruit.”  Sure if you break it down, all those flavors could be picked out one by one, but it’s easier just to lump them together as “white flowers.”

Paired with the prochetta alone, the two are disjointed. The perfume washes away the spice to leave one with the taste of the meat. Not only do you left with the pork flavor, you are also subjected to the perfume of those white flowers.  With the addition of the butter lettuce, olive oil and toasted hard roll, the pairing gets better. I had a bit of the lettuce, olive oil and salt on the side. When paired with the wine, the whole mixture takes on an earthy quality that outshines the pork pairing.

André Scherer, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France, Gewürztraminer, 2010

Light body, bone dry. Medium high acid. Medium-short finish. The lemon that was in the Michigan is replaced by, juicy ripe pear. It doesn’t try too much, this wine feels more structured and less mucked with. I have less to say, because I like wine better.

As a food wine it works better with the porchetta alone than with the sandwich. Including the green, olive oil and bread seems to muddle the experience. We are already presented with everything in the spice rub, pork belly and pork loin. It’s a lot to process. I like this wine, with just the porchetta and rice, maybe a vegetable side. 

The Alsatian wine, standing alone, won the day. The one place where Michigan did better was when the olive oil and crispy bread were introduced. Coming in at noon, after putting up a fence and wolfing down a sandwich, I liked the Chateau Grand Traverse better. There are bold and big flavors that can hold you until supper. If I was sitting down to supper, after a quick shower and a few episodes of Newhart, the Andre Scherer would be the Gewürztraminer on the table.  

With this all said, I think that my initial impulse to pair Porchetta with Gewürztraminer was a little hasty. Somewhere out there is a wine that doesn't hit so hard on the nose, has a little bit of sweetness and less body. Looks like I'm going to have to try this experiment again with Riesling. 

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