We have been pretty busy at Blue Danube Wine this spring. Several weeks ago, we were featured at Google’s Wine Wednesday, a biweekly tasting event organized by the Google wine club. To help the chefs of the hosting cafe prepare tidbits that could be paired with each wine, we had brought some wine samples to them ahead of time.
We anticipated that few Googlers would be familiar with Central-Eastern European wines so we chose the following selection of wines from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia, showcasing some of the best wines currently produced along the Danube river and the Dalmatian coast:
2010 Sommer Bergweingarten M Grüner Veltliner: founded in 1698, the Sommer Winery is now run by winemaker and Grüner Veltliner specialist Leo Sommer and his wife Silvane. The estate is located in the Neusiedlersee-Hügelland region near Lake Neusiedl in eastern Austria. The wine was dry, crisp, mineral with a good structure on the palate. The chefs chose to pair it with a creamy Morel and Aspargus Risotto.
2009 Kabaj Ravan: Kabaj Winery is owned and run by French-born winemaker Jean-Michel Morel and his wine Katja Kabaj. It is located in Goriška Brda in Western Slovenia, an appellation known as Collio on the Italian side of the border. The wine is 100% Sauvignon Vert also known as Friulano in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. The wine is aged in French barrique for malolactic fermentation and 12 months on the lees. Paired with Brandade, a salt cod puree with garlic and olive oil, it was medium-bodied with a moderate acidity, nutty flavors and a distinctive complexity on the finish.
2009 Krajančić Intrada: Pošip is a Croatian indigenous grape variety primarily found on the island of Korčula in Dalmatia and Poet winemaker Luka Krajančić of Krajančić Winery is one of the best Pošip producer on the island. The wine’s name is Intrada, which means entrance and it is the best introduction to the Krajančić Pošip production. Showing an attractive floral nose, it had a good concentration on the palate with a mouth filling acidity. This was a last minute addition to our tasting so there was no proposed food pairing for the wine.
2009 J. Heinrich Blaufränkisch Goldberg: the wine is produced by Johann Heinrich of J. Heinrich Winery, located in the Mittelburgenland wine region, Austria’s red wine country. It is 100% Blaufränkisch sourced from the estate’s top vineyard, the Goldberg, from vines Heinrich’s grandfather planted 50 years ago. The wine was dark with a nose of wild berries and black cherries. On the palate, it was spicy with balanced tannins and acidity. It was paired with Smoked Duck Breast Salad & Preserved Stone Fruit.
2008 Eszterbauer Tüke Bikavér: The Tüke Bikavér is a modern, well-crafted version of the traditional Hungarian Bull’s Blood. It is a rich and complex blend of Kékfrankos, Kadarka, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, produced by 10th generation winemaker Janos Eszterbauer of Eszterbauer Winery. The winery is located in the Szekszárd Wine Region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary. The Google chefs proposed Lamb Sliders & Pepper Ragout to go with this food friendly wine.
2005 Miloš Stagnum: the wine is produced by Frano Miloš, a true artisan winemaker on the Croatian peninsula of Pelješac. Is is 100% Plavac Mali, a cross between the original Zinfandel (Crljenak) and Dobričić, an ancient grape variety from the Dalmatian coast. The wine is sourced from steep sloping vineyards facing the sea. The wine had a dark color and rich flavors of dark fruits and dried herbs. A big favorite of the Google chefs, it was paired with Wagyu Ribeye with Fingerling Potato Chips, Garlic Aioli, English Pea Puree.
2006 Patricius Red Lion 3 Puttonyos: founded by the Kékessy family, the Patricius Winery is located in an remodeled wine press house in the historical Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region. A blend of 70% Furmint, 30% Hárslevelű, this Tokaji Aszú 3 Puttonyos (out of 6 Puttonyos) is moderately sweet with aromas of ripe, juicy apricots, and very refreshing on the finish. It was paired with crunchy little Blue Cheese Puffs.