Something savory and something sweet could sum up the flavors of the food offerings on the Holiday Fare Wine Trail. Held this past weekend within the German wine corridor along the Missouri River, the Advertiser-Courier could only sample four of seven of the festive wine and food stops, those being within the city limits of Hermann. These Hermann Wine Trail events provide a fun way to sample local Mo. wines while taking in the scenery, foodie camaraderie, knowledge of the Mo. wine industry and food/wine pairings in general. It was also a way to get decorating and recipe ideas for holiday dinner parties. This Trail did not disappoint.
First stop was Hermannhof Winery to sample German bacon cookies (Speck Platzen) with Hermannhof's popular White Lady of Starkenburg wine.
Hermannhof says they make their White Lady in the style of a fine German Riesling which can go from dry to sweet, but theirs is a semi-sweet, acidic wine with aromas of apples, apricots, peaches and pears—depending on the nose. It was a perfect match for the bacon cookies, which also contained onion, garlic and most notable—carraway, an herb from the carrot plant family.
The biscuit flavors were not all crashing cymbals vying for attention and the subtlety made the carraway flavor shimmer over the top.
The semi-sweet flavors and acidity was a real complimentary match for the savory flavors in the biscuits, which are similar to southern cheddar cheese shortbread biscuits served throughout the South. They had the same shortbread consistency and the carraway and semi-sweet apple wine mix was delicious.
The Dierberg Star Lane Tasting Room
The holiday tortellini soup served at the pairing in the Dierberg Star Lane Tasting Room (associated with Hermannhof) was complex and eye-opening good. Within the light tomato-based broth was onion, fennel, garlic and parsley with cheese tortellini pasta and cooked leafy green spinach. It was matched with a Dierberg Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County, Calif., the only stop that did not feature a Mo. wine.
Hermannhof winemaker Paul LeRoy said a good chardonnay will go with many foods. He says this white will compliment the soup’s cheese tortellini and parmesan garnish.
“This is a soup that can go with a white or possibly a light Italian red.”
The young chardonnay was acidic, medium-bodied and well-balanced with lemon notes. It was perfect for handling the robust tomato-based broth.
Adam Puchta Winery
This winery likes to color outside the lines with their pairings, but that creativity usually results in fun flavor tastings. On this Trail, they were featuring a 100 percent Chambourcin grape wine called Impulse. This is semi-sweet and according to APW, has flavor notes of cherry, watermelon, and passion fruit. This was paired with honey-roasted butternut squash with cranberries and feta cheese.
With a mouthful of squash and cranberries, a sip of Impulse had a strong candy taste up front, but then surprised in a good way on the finish with smooth fruity flavors. The sharp feta added balance to the semi-sweet wine, which was then reinforced the fruit, while still being able to savor the earthy pumpkin flavor of the butternut. Overall, a nice surprise.
Stone Hill Winery
Stone Hill went the dessert route with their spiced cranberry and orange Linzer bar with toasted oat and nut streusel topping. These decadent cookies are a takeoff of a 17th-century torte made in Linz, Austria.
They were paired with a white Traminette. One word—Wow!
Stone Hill says the Traminette is a hybrid cross of well-known grapes—Gewurztraminer and Joannes Seyve 23-416. They add it's a crisp, acidic wine that has spice and floral notes, with hints of lime and Golden Delicious apple. You know you have a good pairing when you want to nibble (in this case) a bite of sweet cranberry-orange Linzer bar and just masticate twice, only to swirl in a sip of the crisp Traminette. As the flavors warm in the mouth, you can't help but go back for another nibble and a sip before the first is swallowed with closed eyes. For those with a holiday sweet tooth, this is heaven.
Other winery pairings
Other pairings that looked delicious, but weren't sampled were:
Robller Vinyard (New Haven)
Fall-spiced coconut rice pudding paired with a semi-sweet Vignoles.
OakGlenn Winery (Hermann)
Sausage, grapes and cheese skewers paired with a sweet Norton
Bias Winery (Berger)
Creamy baked chicken tetrazinni paired with Liebeswein
A Holiday Fare Wine Trail Recipe
Spiced cranberry and orange Linzer bar with toasted oat and nut streusel topping (paired with Stone Hill Winery's Traminette)
Oat streusel topping
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 oz. butter
1. Mix flour, salt, sugar and oats together
2. Add chunks of butter until streusel appears crumbly
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 organe, zested and juiced
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup seedless cranberry jam
- 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy
3. Add egg yolks, orange juice and extracts; mix to combine
4. Add flour and salt; mix to combine
5. Add chopped almonds; mix to combine
6. In a 9X9 pan, press half the dough mixture evenly
7. Spread jam onto the dough mixture
8. Spread the oatmeal streusel topping evenly over jam
9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown