A great review from The Wine Enthusiast Magazine for the Trapl Sankt Laurent Reserve: 94 Points The dark allure of elderberry and black cherry has to be teased out on the nose. It is the elderberry that gives this a medicinal, herbaceous tinge. The palate is wonderfully and enticingly tart at first but then presents the purity of ripe, black cherry. Tannins are fine and have a little crunch, and pervasive freshness keeps this elegant and sinuous. Drink 2020–2030. The small wine-growing region of Carnuntum, where the Trapl winery is located, stretches from the eastern limits of Vienna to the border of Slovakia. In the past, Carnuntum was known for big, inexpensive Zweigelt wines. But today, this historic wine region is making a come-back and Johannes Trapl has been one of the pioneers behind its revival. His vineyards have been certified organic since 2006 and the entire winery since 2010. The wine, from Sankt Laurent, a highly aromatic grape variety from the Pinot Noir family, was fermented with native yeasts with no additives. It’s silky like a Pinot and perfectly balanced. Pair it with duck or even salmon.
The Bott Frigyes Kékfrankos is not the first wine from the Kékfrankos grape that SommSelect Sommelier David Lynch has offered but “this version from southern Slovakia,” he writes, “is one of the most elegant and perfumed expressions of the variety we’ve ever come across.” Although the Kékfrankos grape is familiar—more so if you use its Austrian name, Blaufränkisch—the Južnoslovenská growing zone, home of Bott Frigyes, is not. Running up to the southern border of Slovakia, following a stretch of the Danube River just before it turns south towards Budapest, the Južnoslovenská (“southern Slovak”) region is well-represented by this Bott Frigyes red. Had we tasted it blind, I might have guessed top-level Oregon Pinot or maybe Cru Beaujolais from Morgon, but as it was we broke out our wine maps and hunted down Južnoslovenská in a fit of inspiration. It makes me wonder what other revelations we might be missing in this wide world of wine. If you try one bottle outside your comfort zone this year, let this be it. It is that good! Follow the Hungarian connection and David’s recommendation: it’s a wine to enjoy this season with a comforting and saucy Chicken Paprikash. And read David’s article here.
In classic post holiday season fashion, I’m just now writing the January newsletter on the 10th. January feels like you need to pop the clutch going up a hill in order to get things going again. No push button start to this month. It’s also a time when the pendulum starts to swing the other way in terms of drinking. While of course a champion of all things sparkling, aged, sweet, fortified and so on throughout the holidays, now I crave a solid and refreshing table wine – ideally in liter form. On a practical level, wines like this not only help us atone for some perhaps overextended purchases, but also mark the return to casual dinners and that end of the day glass or two. Keeping this in mind, here are some liters to help transition into the New Year. Ironically, the smallest country in the portfolio has our largest selection of liters – Slovenia. About an hour’s drive south of Graz, the heart of Austria’s Styria, and just north of the Slovenian city of Maribor, we find Silvo Črnko (Chair-n-ko). This is an impossibly fertile region littered with apples, hops, pumpkin seed oil and wine at every turn. … Continue reading Liter-ally, the Only Way to Start the New Year
Last month, Wine & Spirits Magazine published its “Year’s Best Hungarian Wines” comprised of 16 wines rated exceptional (90+ points) by Executive Editor Tara Q. Thomas and her tasting panel. Here is what she says about the Kikelet Lonyai Hárslevelű: 90 points. French vintner Stéphanie Berecz worked at Disznókó before marrying a Hungarian and starting to produce wines from his family’s vineyards in 2002. Hárslevelu has become one of her specialties, as this wine shows: From a vineyard rich in loess, in Tarcal, it’s silky and broad, with a linden-leaf fragrance. The acidity feels a little edgy, highlighting some of the bitterness of the phenolics, which gives the wine the cut to match a fatty fish, like halibut. Lónyai vineyard lies within the commune of Tarcal in Tokaj where Stéphanie Berecz and her husband Zsolt live. Its soil, made of deep loess mixed with volcanic rocks, brings a bright acidity and aromatics to the wine. It’s a very distinctive Hárslevelű built to age. Find it on our webshop and try it with a Paprika Fisherman’s Stew.
The Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner Rosensteig is one of my favorite winter wines, crisp, spicy, zippy and delicious with Dungeness crabs and fresh oysters. It was also one of the top wine picks of Canadian wine writer and sommelier Bill Zacharkiw last week: Organic. Great gruner! Walks the line nicely between a fresher, apero-style white filled with lemony zip, and a riper gruner with notes of camomile and spice on the finish. Lots going on here so let it warm a touch to benefit from the unique aromatics. Grape variety: Gruner veltliner. Residual sugar: 2.5 g/l. Serve at: 8-12 C. Drink now-2023. Food pairing idea: aperitif, white fish with herbs and lemon butter. The wine is sourced from organic vineyards made of loess and alluvial soil near the Danube River in Kremstal, Austria. It’s complex without being too heavy. Try it now.