This deeply savoury and delicious chicken cooked in Riesling will quickly become a hit at your table. Especially when washed down with a bottle of stellar German Riesling on the side.

Did you know?

Riesling, Germany’s most important grape variety celebrates its 587th birthday this 13th March.

Or at least it’s celebrating what was the first mentioning of Riesling in an official document. More precisely, a cellar log documenting the purchase of six vines of Riesling planted in the vineyard at a winery owed by Count Katzenelnbogen, dated March 13th,1434.

Celebrating Riesling Birthday with Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Coq au Riesling

Like in the past few years, on March 13th #RieslingBirthday is celebrated in Germany and worldwide, though physical events are still limited thanks to you know what reason.

With 25% of German vineyards planted to Riesling and Germany accounting for around 40% of the worlds Riesling production, however there is no shortage to pick a nice bottle and celebrate at home.

As the character of a Riesling very much depends on the soil it grows in, Riesling wines come in many styles. And while Riesling range from dry through to sweet, they are now largely dominated by dry, fuller-bodied fruit-forward wines with aromas of green apple, peach and lime.

Celebrating Riesling Birthday with Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Coq au Riesling

In anticipation of this years Riesling birthday, I’ve picked a real gem from Leitz winery in the Rheingau wine region. The area is understood to be the origin of Riesling grapes and is home to the oldest documented Riesling vineyard worldwide, the famous Johannisberg.

Few grape varieties can match the huge versatility of Riesling in food pairing. Sometimes, however, the most classic and straightforward is the best choice. Thus, I’ve whipped up this delicious Coq au Riesling to go with the Leitz Rosengarten Riesling.

Background: Weingut Leitz

Calling the beautiful half-timered medieval town of Rüdesheim am Rhein its home, Weingut Leitz looks back of a family tradition in winemaking that started in 1744.

If you want to know more about Leitz winery, read my post Leitz Eins-Zwei-Zero Range makes responsible drinking a pleasure.

Round about 95% of the 130 hectares of Leitz vineyards are planted with Riesling, distributed across different prime areas of the Rheingau.

Tasting Notes: Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2017

Grapes for Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs are harvested at the prestigious Rosengarten vineyard.

Rosengarten is located next to the historic Brömersburg castle of Rüdesheim built around 1044 A.D. ; one of the oldest accounted settlements in the Rüdesheim area and belonging to the Archbishops of Mainz until the beginning of the 19th century. Rosengarten vineyard itself is known for its outstanding quality of fruit. Divided into three different growing areas, Kreuzgarten (garden of the cross), Bienengarten (bee’s garden) and Rosengarten (garden of roses), the latter is home to the oldest vines, with soils mainly consisting of sandy loess loam and some content of quartz. 

Grapes for the Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2017 were harvested in early October, meticulously selected and after a short maceration and careful pressing, fermentation took place spontaneously in large wooden barrels over a period of 17 months.

Celebrating Riesling Birthday with Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Coq au Riesling

In the glass, an intense golden yellow.

On the nose, juicy aromas of tropical fruit like passion fruit and zesty leman, followed by delicate hints of brioche and integrated wood.

On the palate, powerful and complex, with notes of wild herbs. Fine minerality.

Leitz Rosengarten Grosses Gewächs pairs well with tuna, pike, poultry, salad, and avocado.

It was a really nice match with the Coq au Riesling.

Recipe: Coq au Riesling

Perhaps one of the internationally most famous French dishes must be coq au vin. OK, possibly after baguette, bouillabaisse, and French onion soup, but still.

Celebrating Riesling Birthday with Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Coq au Riesling

We are talking about chicken braised in wine, lardon, mushrooms and sometimes garlic, and traditionally the wine used is a red Burgundy. Off course, any other light red wine would also work and several French regions better known for other types of wine might even serve coq au vin prepared with local wines, and not all will be red wines.

In Alsace, it’s not uncommon to find coq au Riesling on the menu. After all, nearly a quarter of vineyards in Alsace are planted to Riesling and the region is known to produce excellent Riesling wines, following a typical local style.

Celebrating Riesling Birthday with Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Coq au Riesling

For cooking with Riesling thoug, remember you don’t need an expensive bottle. Just go for a good quality Riesling but serve the really good stuff for drinking.

Thus when it comes to select the best bottle to go with acoq au Riesling, I definitely recommend to try the outstanding Leitz Rosengarten Großes Gewächs.

Serves 4

1 large corn-fed chicken, skin and bones removed, cut into eight pieces
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
750 ml dry Riesling
250 ml chicken stock
250 g mushrooms, sliced
250 ml crème fraiche
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons butter over high heat and brown the chicken pieces until lightly brown.

Reduce the heat to medium, add onions and fry until translucent. Dust with the flour then season with salt and pepper.

Pour in the Riesling and chicken stock and over low heat let simmer for 45 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining butter. Fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes until browned. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 60°C.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and keep warm in the oven.

Pour the cooking liquid through a fine sieve, then add back to the skillet. Add crème fraiche and cook until reduced to about half. Add lemon juice, season with salt and pepper then add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Serve the coq au Riesling with rice or a French baguette.

Celebrating Riesling Birthday with Leitz Rosengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs and Coq au Riesling