#WineWednesday Spotlight #64: Csendes Dülö Hárslevelü

Csendes Dulo Harslevelu
Photo: Kevin Day

A contribution by wine writer and photographer Kevin Day who just published A First Taste Guide To Hárslevelü.

The 2013 Csendes Dülö Szölöbirtok Hárslevelü was his first taste of the Hárslevelü grape:

Not knowing my Szölöbirtok from my Hárslevelü, I twisted the cap and poured a glass with delightful bewilderment. Such is the fun of being an adventurous wine drinker.

Here is his tasting note:

Pale yellow-green color. Lovely and inviting nose that recalls lime zest as well as green apple, underripe pineapple rind and a general springtime scent of freshness and floral aromatics. Comes across as a bit spicy and peppery on the palate, giving the wine a distinct edge. Roaring acidity that makes it exceptionally food-friendly. Tingling sensation on the finish.

Now, do you want to know 3 good reasons to try Hárslevelü? Check Kevin’s Guide To Hárslevelü.

Looking for a Hárslevelü wine? Here is our Hárslevelü selection on our webshop.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #63: Toreta Pošip Premium

toreta posip
Photo: Wines of Croatia

In the sun-drenched island of Korčula, Croatia, young winemaker Frano Banicević manages Toreta, a winery founded by his great grandfather. His primary focus is Pošip, the indigenous white grape variety of the island where the grape was first discovered in the 19th century. It’s a pretty successful effort: reflecting the land where it grows, Frano’s Pošip is deliciously full of aromas of Mediterranean herbs, thick pine forest, sunshine and sea breeze.

Pošip Vineyard on Korčula

The Toreta Pošip Premium 2015 was recently tasted by Cliff Rames, sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia:

Toreta Pošip 2015: rich and pungent with notes of pineapple skin, musky melon, starfruit and fig; a viscous, oily texture backed up by zippy acidity and a piercing vein of marine minerals; well balanced, intriguing, and savory.

Why not have some Pošip for Thanksgiving and bring the Mediterranean sun to your table?

A Brief Intro to Georgian Wines and Where to Get Them

Shavnabada Rkatsiteli
Shavnabada Rkatsiteli Photo: Holley Robbins

Yes, these are the orange wines you’ve been hearing about but don’t call them that to a Georgian,” writes wine writer and editor Eileen Duffy.

This Thanksgiving city dwellers might do well to consider wines from Georgia (as in the country) to accompany their turkey feast. Thanks to a recent push by Brooklynite and Master of Wine Lisa Granik, more and more retailers and sommeliers are putting the wines on their shelves and wine lists. Granik works as the market adviser for the National Wine Agency and has been bringing visitors to see the dramatic landscapes and vineyards where, many say, wine was first made around 6,000 BCE as evidenced by pips dating to that era.

Georgian wines are mostly white and fermented and aged with the skin on, which results in an amber colored wine. Yes, these are the orange wines you’ve been hearing about but don’t call them that to a Georgian, or to Granik for that matter.

“These are amber wines,” she says. “Not orange. First, because they’re not made from oranges and because they really are amber in color.”

What makes these wines great with turkey, stuffing, roasted Brussels sprouts and even pumpkin pie? Read the whole article here.

Why not try an amber wine for Thanksgiving? Click here to browse our large selection of Georgian wines.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #62: doqi Kisi Qvevri

We just received our shipment of doqi wines, a new label made by the Schuchmann winery, a Georgian wine producer founded by German-born Burkhard Schuchmann. The wines are skillfully vinified by native Georgian Georgi Dakishvili, a third generation winemaker. The doqi wines come in two styles: “Euro style”, fresh and fermented in stainless steel, and “Qvevri”, the traditional Georgian way of making wine in clay vessel buried in the ground.

giorgi and burkhard
Burkhard Schuchmann and Georgi Dakishvili

Read what wine professional Kerry Winslow has to say about the doqi Kisi Qvevri over at grapelive.com:

For a long time we though of Georgia as a red wine making country, though in fact, something that I learned recent at a brilliant seminar given by Lisa Granik MW, it is white wine which is most made/grown in Georgia, with grapes like this Kisi, and Mtsvane, as well as the most widely planted varietal Rkatsiteli.

doqi Kisi
Photo: grapelive.com
The Doqi Kisi Qvervi is a skin contact white with lovely aromatics and fine texture with tannic vibrancy and slightly cloudy showing a light pink/yellow tint, it is an “Orange” wine, though not as savory or as wildly funky as some, this would be a great way to start your exploration into Georgian traditional wine, Doqi also does the same wine without Qvervi, fermented in stainless, both lovely and fresh with the stainless much clearer and much more delicately crisp and mineral driven, but I adored the Qvervi with it’s exotic nature and spicy herb/anise bite. Green tea, minty fruit with lime, tangerine, white flowers, quince and stone fruits lead the way on the crunchy palate with hints of peach, dried orange rind and flinty stones make for an interesting wine with structure and racy/edgy character.

Read the whole review here.

You can purchase the doqi wines here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #61: Tinon Birtok Furmint

Tinon Birtok Furmint
Tinon Birtok Furmint

Yesterday was Wednesday November 9th and I needed something comforting. The armchair on the label of Samuel Tinon’s Birtok Furmint was inviting. According to Samuel, “It’s a wine to be drunk comfortably seated in an armchair with your feet up, in the middle of the vineyard overlooking the plain.” Perfect.

Hatari Vineyard
Tinon’s Hatari vineyard: the perfect spot to bring an armchair and have a sip of the Birtok Furmint

Birtok means Estate in Hungarian. 2014 was a tropical year in Tokaj, hot, wet and no single vineyard wines were made. Instead, the bothrytis free Furmints were blended together to make the Birtok.

Light golden, there is a nice smooth sweetness to it, balanced with acidity, minerality and stone fruit aromas. Lovely and soothing.

We have just received more wines from Samuel Tinon, sweet and dry. Check them out.

Bringing Tokaj to the US – Samuel Tinon

Samuel Tinon
Winemaker Samuel Tinon

I just happened to be listening to an interview with British wine writer Hugh Johnson last week (a major investor in Tokaj in his own right) speaking about getting the Royal Tokaji Company off the ground in the early 1990s. One of the names he mentions as ‘saving the day’ concerning the inaugural vintage was Samuel Tinon. Samuel has been going nonstop in Tokaj ever since and was even the first Frenchman to permanently settle in the appellation post Communism.

Botritized grape
Botritized grape

Although born in the sweet wine appellation of Sainte Croix du Mont in France, he and his wife Mathilde have chosen Tokaj for wine and for raising their three children. As patient zero for botrytized winemaking, Tokaj’s sweet wines were the favored drink and muse for Leo Tolstoy, Pablo Neruda, Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Diderot, and Voltaire among many others. Samuel is equally convinced of the unique quality of the place, people and wines living there today.

Flor growing on top of the Szamorodni

It’s also been nearly 20 years since he’s been to California. I’ll be dragging him around the Bay November 14th-15th and presenting seven new wines plus perhaps a few special extras. Ranging from dry/off dry Furmint and Hárslevelű to Dry Szamorodni and of course Aszú, this is special opportunity to dig into all things Tokaj.

Bottles of Aszú wine in the cellar

From the first wave of foreign investments 25 years ago to his own private operation today, Samuel can speak to how the world’s first classified wine region has the potential to re-position itself as one of the great classics again. Tokaj is no longer static or just exalting past greatness but actively moving forward. Let’s taste it!

Hatari vineyard
Határi, one of Tokaj’s best vineyards

We hope you can join us and meet Samuel Tinon at these events:

• Thursday, November 10 2016, 6:30 pm, New York:
Samuel Tinon at Bouley Restaurant
• Saturday November 12 2016, 2 pm – 4 pm Santa Cruz:
Samuel Tinon at Soif
• Monday November 14 2016, 7 pm – 9 pm, San Francisco:
In Conversation With: Samuel Tinon at Ruby Wines
• Tuesday November 15 2016, 8 pm, San Francisco:
Tinon at Lord Stanley
• Wednesday November 16 2016, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm North Hollywood:
Samuel Tinon at Liquid Assets Cellars
• Thursday November 17 2016, 6 pm – 8 pm Los Angeles:
Samuel Tinon at Lou’s wine shop
• Friday November 18 2016, 7 pm Los Angeles:
De Porres Dinner Series with Samuel Tinon
• Saturday November 19 2016, 5 pm – 8 pm Culver City:
Samuel Tinon at Bar & Garden

#WineWednesday Spotlight #60: Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen

Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen
Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen

If last week’s #WineWednesday Spotlight was a red wine from a mainly white wine appellation, this week’s Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen is a white wine from Carnuntum, a wine district east of Vienna, better known for its fruity Zweigelt and elegant Blaufränkisch.

Dorli Muhr
Dorli Muhr

Dorli Muhr was in New York City this week presenting her latest vintage and maybe you had a chance to meet her and taste her Prellenkirchen.

Prellenkirchen refers to the name of one of the main wine-growing villages of the region. The wine is an organic blend of 90% Grüner Veltliner from 25-to-30-year-old vines and 10% Riesling for a touch of freshness. Part of the grapes is sourced from a limestone vineyard on the Spitzerberg Hill and the rest comes from a vineyard near Prellenkirchen.

The grapes are crushed by foot and pressed after two days of maceration with their skins. Then, the must is fermented with native yeasts and matured in used French oak before being bottled with a minimal amount of sulphur.

The wine shows a bright golden color and a nose of apple compote and honey. The palate is full and silky with some mineral and earthy notes on the finish. We paired it with paprika spiced pork chops with mushroom in cream sauce. That was perfect.

Uncorking the Caucasus: Wines from Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia

Uncorking the Caucasus
Uncorking the Caucasus by Charine Tan and Dr Matthew Horkey

In May 2015—after four years of deliberating and planning together—Charine Tan and Dr Matthew Horkey sold almost all of their possessions, dropped the comfort and security of their lucrative careers, and left Singapore to travel around the world with a dream of building a location-independent business and to absorb the world’s lessons.

Driven by a common passion for wine, they ended up diverting all their attention and resources to the self-study of wine as they travelled through Western Europe, the Caucasus, ex-Yugoslavia, and Mexico. Uncorking the Caucasus is the first of a series of wine travel books that they will be writing. They also share wine travel tips, videos, wine-related stories, and exciting finds from lesser-known wine regions on their website exoticwinetravel.com.

Enjoying wine in Cappadocia
Enjoying wine in Cappadocia

When prompted about the name “Exotic Wine Travel”, the duo explained that the problem with lesser-known wine regions and exotic wines is that too often, visitors bounce around a country swiftly and end up tasting some substandard, local wines. For that reason, Charine and Matthew aim to explore some of the lesser-known wine regions and introduce the readers to the best they have to offer with even some anecdotal insight into their peculiarity. This should encourage wine lovers to explore more new wines and leave a wine region with the best possible impression.

Beka Gotsadze
Beka Gotsadze of Gotsa and his family

Uncorking The Caucasus is about the wines from Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia. Part travel narrative and part wine guide, the book leads the readers through a tasting tour of the wine regions in the three countries. It recommends the best wines each place has to offer, provides anecdotal insights into the wine culture of each country, and discusses the history of ancient winemaking based on archeological evidence and folklores.

Visiting 6100 year old Areni 1 Cave in Armenia
Visiting 6100 year old Areni 1 Cave in Armenia

There are many arguments about how wine came into existence but from the archaeological perspective, the signs point to about 10,000 years ago when wine originated from the Transcaucasia —which includes present-day Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey. However, this book isn’t about determining the birthplace of wine, but rather the goal is to capture the ethos of a wine region — the connection between wine, people, and place.

Qvevri found in Zorah winery
Qvevri found in Zorah winery

Dr Matthew Horkey said, “Our three-month journey through the cradle of wine deeply touched us. The producers, the land, and the people provide endless inspiration and set the stage for a story to be told. With Georgian wine becoming fashionable, unbounded gastronomy potential that is unfortunately concealed by political turbulence in Turkey, and Armenia’s strong desire to bring glory back to their wine industry, now is the time to show the world what these countries are capable of.”

wine ferments in qvevri
Watching wine ferments in a buried qvevri Georgia

For the wines highlighted in this book, besides their sensory merits, they should also spark curiosity and reflect an inspiring point of view that challenges the narrative of wine.

wine in Armenia
Discovering the inspiration behind a wine in Armenia

“In writing about our wine travel experiences, we hope to start new conversations about wine, such as the stories about the people behind wine, the meaning and context of wine, and the importance of promoting diversity in the world of wine,” said Charine Tan. “Most importantly, we want this book to encourage people to take on a liberal attitude toward lesser-known wine regions, arm them with the knowledge to explore those places, and intrigue them to try exotic wines.”

You can order the book on Amazon.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #59: Geyerhof Zweigelt StockWerk

Geyerhof Zweigelt StockWerk
Geyerhof Zweigelt StockWerk

Although Kremstal — an appellation in the Danube Valley situated around the old Austrian town of Krems — is best-known for its white wines, it enjoys a slightly warmer climate than in the nearby Wachau where the valley is narrower. Thanks to these conditions, the Maier family from Geyerhof grows organic Zweigelt (pronounced TSVYE-gelt) in deep sandy soil on east-facing slopes for their StockWerk project.

The name StockWerk, which means in German work (Werk) on the vine (Stock), reflects the philosophy of the Maier family, a pioneer of organic viticulture in Kremstal. Farming an organic vineyard implies a lot of additional hard work to keep the vine healthy and preserve biological diversity in the vineyard.

Organic vines
Organic vines in the Geyerhof vineyard

To save the grasslands around their village of Oberfucha from overgrowth, the family started raising cattle again last year. They now have manure for the fields and also meat and milk. Moreover, Maria Maier, daughter of a Beekeeper, started beekeeping two years ago. Thanks to the absence of pesticides, she has now healthy and thriving bee colonies. The cow and bees that you can see below the vine on the wine’s label illustrate that biological diversity.

zweigelt stockwerk
A cow and bees on the wine’s label

With its light peppery nose, aromas of sour cherry and violet, and a lively and refreshing mouthfeel, the Zweigelt StockWerk should go beautifully with a wide range of foods. It was particularly tasty with sauteed pork chops with tomatoes, bell peppers, and paprika.

Geoffrey Roberts Award for Vinologue Georgia, a new wine guide to the “cradle of wine”

Vinologue Georgia

In 2016, the Geoffrey Roberts Award, which commemorates the work of wine merchant Geoffrey Roberts and his lifelong interest in wine, went to Miquel Hudin, author of the Vinologue collection of enotourism books.

Miquel applied for the award to help him create a comprehensive wine tourism guide to the up-and-coming wine region of Kakheti in Georgia with full winery and region profiles as well as hundreds of wine tasting notes. This will be Miquel’s 9th Vinologue book. Previous titles include Dalmatia, Empordà, Herzegovina, Menorca, Montsant, Priorat, and Stellenbosch.

The award has helped fund the initial research but in order to complete this project, Miquel has also created a kickstarter.

If you’re interested in the wines of Georgia and/or plan to visit the country, you can support this project or preorder the book at the Vinologue online shop.