Chef Jeffrey Hedin takes us on a Tour d’Alsace this month at the West Town Restaurant Leopold. The French/Belgian inspired cuisine blende elegance, rusticity, and welcoming flavors. Owner/GM Christy Agee featurs a region, libation, or producer to enhance seasonal menu changes, and her April focus is hyper specific, featuring multiple wines and vintages from the Grand Cru Kaefferkopf vineyard made by the biodynamic estate of Domaine Martin Schaetzel in Alsace, France.
Domaine Martin Schaetzel consistently creates versatile, textured, and food-focused white wines with a supreme expression of soil and vintage. Jean Schaetzel continues a winemaking tradition that stems generations. Most vintages, Jean makes almost a dozen different wines. He seeks to express something unique with each wine, soil, and vintage.
His Grand Cru fruit is mostly Riesling coming mainly from the Kaefferkopf vineyard. Kaefferkopf is one of the newest declared vineyards, gaining its status in 2006. It joins over 50 other vineyards that occupy the top tier of sites in Alsace and is unique because of the diversity of soils contained within it. The mélange of terroir offers winemakers a unique opportunity to express the fruit in multiple ways. Jean Schaetzel will often make a Riesling Kaefferkopf from divers parcels in the vineyard as well as a Riesling Kaefferkopf “Granit” with fruit coming exclusively from the granite plots.
It is rare to be given the opportunity to explore multiple vintages of a producer, and even rarer to find those vintages almost a decade old. Leopold is showcasing Rieslings from the Kaefferkopf vintages of 2002, 2003, AND 2004! The diversity of the vintages has led Chef Hedin to offer 3 very different courses, all of which highlight the full range of flavor components in the Rieslings. The rich and honeyed fruit of the 04 is juxtaposed with the herbal profile of Smoked Trout with sorrel and pickles. The deep, almost blue, fruit of the 03 is matched with a smoked Rabbit Led, lambic cherries, fava beans, and pork belly. The higher acidity and mature flavors of the 02 are paired with and Apple Galette with smoked Toussaint cheese.
The Rieslings are not all: Schaetzel’s Cremant, Pinot Blanc, and 2001 Gewürztraminer VT (Late Harvest) are also offered. To experience this unique offering of older vintage Alsatian wines, stop into Leopold this month!