‘Zind’…..What hides behind that name? Certainly the reputation of one of the longest-serving wine families of Alsace, the Humbrechts, who have been active in the region since around 1620 and whose wines, today, have gained not only organic but certified bio-dynamic status. Based in Turckheim, and following the marriage of Leonard Humbrecht to Geneviève Zind in 1959 the Domaine has been known to the wine world thereafter as that of Zind-Humbrecht. Today’s guiding spirit behind the extensive family estates is their son Olivier – incidentally the first French MW!
The present Domaine has vines in four of the Alsace Grands Crus as well as half a dozen named single vineyards devoted principally to the classic ‘noble’ grapes of the region, Pinot Gris, Gewurtztraminer and Riesling…. all of which qualify for AC Alsace status.
‘Zind’, however, is something slightly different. The wine’s distinctive and fine qualities are owed here to the preponderance of the (Burgundian) Chardonnay grape, and is a cunningly crafted blend of 2/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Auxerrois. Being made outside the strict AC Alsace rules it has to default to recognition simply as a ‘Vin de France’.
Auxerrois, which rides shotgun here, flourishes under different names in different places but is otherwise a perfectly respectable scion of the extensive Pinot family and is a common constituent of the sparkling ‘Crémant d’Alsace’.
Clear and star-bright on the eye, the wine has a very pleasing citrus edge balanced with weightier stone-fruit elements on the mid-palate which suggest an ideal partnership with food. Single varietal wines speak for themselves, properly made, but blends call exceptionally for the skill of the blender. No problem here, as this has exemplary balance, and the wine has that attractive cleanness overall which, to me, seems typical of the Alsace style.
|COUNTRY OF ORIGIN||France (Alsace)|
|NAME OF WINE||‘Zind’ 2014|
|STYLE||Classy clean-cut white blend|
Any classic wine surely deserves a classic regional dish to accompany it, and I recently chose to make something typically ‘Alsacienne’ – the impressive looking Tourte de la Vallée de Munster. It certainly went down well. By any other name this substantial dish could probably be called ‘pork pie – not as we know it’ as it is cooked in a deep quiche tin. ‘Tourte’, therefore, rather than ‘tarte’. The short pastry base and puff pastry top classify it as a genuine pie. Perfect for a summer lunch, served warm, or even sliced cold perhaps with some pickles alongside, to take on a picnic. Keep tuned to the weather forecast!
100g stale white breadcrumbs
6 tbsps milk (for softening)
2 onions, chopped fine
3 fat cloves garlic, smashed
25g butter, for cooking onions etc. and greasing the quiche tin
800g pork loin with some fat, or equivalent weight pork chops
1 ½ tsps. mixed spice (‘quatre épices’- or Chinese ‘five spice’)
salt and pepper
3 tblsps chopped parsley
300g fresh shortcrust pastry
225g fresh puff pastry
- Begin by soaking the breadcrumbs in the milk and chopping the onions and garlic finely.
- Soften the onions and garlic in butter and set aside
- Chop the pork fairly finely, or put through a coarse mincer
In a large bowl mix together the soaked bread (squeezed out), the onions and garlic, the minced pork, the spices and plenty of seasoning with salt and pepper. Mix in the chopped parsley.
At this stage, beat together the two eggs and add almost all to the mixture in the bowl, combining it thoroughly. Keep back a little beaten egg for glazing the pastry at the end.
For the tourte base, roll out the short-crust pastry to allow an overhang of about three centimetres all round a deep 10” quiche tin. Add the pork mixture to the tin, doming it up towards the centre, and then brush the pastry overhang with water prior to adding the rolled-out puff pastry on top to make a lid.
Try to match the size of the puff overhang with that of the shortcrust pastry, trimming it evenly all round with scissors. Press the two pastries together and roll them over inwards to make a raised edge around the circumference of the pie.
Paint the remaining beaten egg onto the pastry surface as a glaze and make a hole in the centre of the pastry top in order to allow steam to escape as it cooks.
You’ll need an oven temperature of 200deg C (Regulo 6), and a baking time of 45 minutes to an hour. Once cooked, it is a good idea to let the pie rest for half an hour before serving.
Accompany with crisp salad greens including some rocket…. and perhaps a chilled glass of ‘Zind’ !