CAV – the Wine Bar and the Kitchen

The back dining area. It’s only after two years of its existence that people start to realize that CAV on Market Street in San Francisco is not only an excellent wine bar, it has a wonderful kitchen to boot. No one would be better suited than SF Chronicle restaurant critique Michael Bauer to attest the superb quality of Executive Chef’s Christine Mullen’s cuisine. The title of his review entails a double compliment: An accomplished kitchen to match the sublime wine list at CAV. Well, I feel quite qualified to provide testimony as well: I’ve recently been back to CAV specifically to check out the menu and can only rave about it. Rather than giving the details away, why don’t I leave you with good advise: Sit down and let the good times roll, i.e. tell the knowledgeable and friendly wait staff you want to explore their goodies. Trust me, they will treat you well and nicely pair each of the courses as they arrive on your table. Give it a try, you’ll love it. Not to be outdone by her culinary colleague, Wine Director Pamela Busch continued garnering additional awards to her already long list. This time it was California’s … Continue reading CAV – the Wine Bar and the Kitchen

Happy Birthday, Loisium

Prof. Dr.Tim P. reports from his recent trip to the Austrian wine regions: After your tenth or twentieth or two hundredth winery visit, they all start to look the same—tanks over here, barrels over there, crush pad in the back, tasting room out front. The same is true for wine bars and wine lists: even the most creative combinations end up sounding familiar after a while. The next fancy wine tasting bears an uncanny resemblance to the last fancy wine tasting. And then there’s the Loisium, a wine experience absolutely in a class by itself. No; make that its own universe. It’s quite a package: whimsical, ultra-modern architecture linked with ancient wine cellars; spacey sound and light environments; a blend of wine history that’s half fact and all fantasy. You might expect this kind of edgy wine trip to pop up in New York or London or maybe Berlin — not in the middle of a vineyard in Langenlois, Kamptal, way out in the Austrian countryside, where it opened in September 2003. more…

Croatian White Wines Getting Great Press

Matt Markovich writes in the San Francisco Bay Guardian the wine column Bottle Rockets (yes, that’s what they call it!). This week he is reporting on a recent trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia. Clearly, Matt had a great time sampling a number of Plavac Mali red wines. This is the ancestor of the Californian Zinfandel which in turn is the reason Matt entitles his article Original Zin. But his real love is for a particular Croatian white wine, the Pošip Čara made on Korcula Island where the famous world traveler Marco Polo was born. Matt sings the praises of this wine: Despite tasting around, we found ourselves ordering Posip Cara (poe-ship charrah) again and again. The experience of taking sips and gulps of chilled Cara in the hot sun was like taking a slurping, juicy bite from a perfect green apple. Always smooth, never too tart, and free of any alcohol bite or bitterness, it made me curse the fact that it’s apparently unavailable in the States. Do we have good news for him and all other lovers of this fine Croatian wine. You can buy it in the US! We do have it in stock and a number of … Continue reading Croatian White Wines Getting Great Press

World Wine Market files for Liquidation

We are sad to read the news that the World Wine Market filed for Chapter 7 (i.e.liquidation). This was the San Francisco based wine trade show where Blue Danube Wine Company got its public start in 2003. We also participated in the next year with an expanded portfolio of wines from Austria, Croatia, and Hungary. For us, the World Wine Market provided direct exposure to some of the key people in the trade and media in California and elsewhere in the US. It was a great venue for networking: for instance, we met the folks from Cafe Europa in Boston, Mass. and started distributing their Croatian wines from FeraVino in California. Next year, we met the top management from the import and distribution company Wine for Everyone and convinced them to represent us in the State of Florida. We will miss this show right in our neighborhood and close to the center of the Californian wine industry. For the gory details of why the WWM failed as a business turn to the article in the North Bay Business Journal.

Winemaker Wohlmuth Visits California

This weekend we had guests from Styria, the only Austrian wine region where Gruener Veltliner is not king but where Sauvingnon Blanc, Muskateller, and Morillon (Chardonnay) shine. It also happens to be the birthplace of California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Styria’s top wine maker Gerhard Wohlmuth came with his wife Maria and their friends from their home town Kitzeck. They were invited to present the Wohlmuth wines at the big Annual Styrian Ball which took place in Sacramento’s Sheraton Hotel. And since wine is their life they were eager to tour the Californian wine country. One day it was Napa Valley, then it was on to Sonoma’s Russian River, and finally to the Lodi Wine Center in the Central Valley.We started the day with a visit to the historic Niebaum-Coppola estate. Here are the Wohlmuths and the Schauers in front of a spectacular stained glass window. We all agreed that the flagship Rubicon 2000 was one of the finest wines we sampled that day, together with a rare Mondavi Fume Blanc Reserve, exclusively made from grapes grown in the I-bloc. But Wohlmuth was as eager to let the Californians taste his wines as he was to taste theirs and to convince … Continue reading Winemaker Wohlmuth Visits California

Victors Wine of the Month: Our Királyleányka

Today, we are the recipient of a lucky double whammy: This morning we read in the Sacramento Bee Mike Dunne’s favorable notes about the Irsai Olivér made by the Hilltop Neszmély Winery, then the letter carrier delivered the new Newsletter edited by bottle shop owner and tasting bar manager Victor Pugliese of Vin, Vino, Wine, our favorite wine shop in Palo Alto. Victor has published the VVW News for almost two decades. During that time it has been a monthly guide for us into the wide world of wine. You can imagine how proud we are when he surprised us by selecting one of the Hungarian wines we distribute as his featured White Wine Value of the Month. Here is what he had to say about the Királyleányka: “The world is a big place. One of the cool things about it is that you’ll never master it, you’ll never know everything. There are always new discoveries. In that spirit, and in the spirit of bringing you the best, most interesting wines we can find, here is a new discovery for us, a Hungarian white, from an Eastern European grape called Kiralyleanyka. It comes from the Neszmély district along the Danube, … Continue reading Victors Wine of the Month: Our Királyleányka

Blogging Back: Dunne on Wine in the Sac Bee

Thanks to Mike Dunne, restaurant and wine editor of the Sacramento Bee, we have the honor to publish our first Blog-Back. You may ask: What’s a Blog-Back? Well, in his wine column, Dunne on Wine – Blogging through a week in the life of a wine writer, just out today, Mike writes about a tasting of the Irsai Olivér. This is a new Hungarian white wine which he tasted at the famed Corti Brothers store in Sacramento. Blue Danube Wine Company happens to be the distributor of this fine wine, one in a line-up of eight fresh and fruity wines from the Hilltop Neszmély winery in Hungary. And he is so kind to link to our wine blog, the very one you are reading here. So we take the opportunity to say: “Egéségedre, Mike, i.e. Good Health to you (in Hungarian) and Thank You, too.” And Blog-back to his column at the Sacramento Bee so that our readers might check out his informative writings. We also want to make sure you are aware that you can purchase a bottle of the Irsai Oliver at Corti Brothers in Sacramento and a few other places around the Bay Area. Just look here … Continue reading Blogging Back: Dunne on Wine in the Sac Bee

Svijet u Čaši

After many long hours of trying to find information on Croatian wines I’ve finally come across Svijet u Čaši the web site of a magazine published in Zagreb. It’s in Croatian only which is why I have started to learn a little Croatian. The name means “The World in a Shot” or shall we say “The World in a Glass”. I hope I am not making too much a fool of myself with this translation. Anyhow, the web site has tasting notes, a detailed map of Croatian wine regions, and a buying guide. The latter does not mean much here in the US other than some indications as to who is hot, excuse me, Who is Who of Croatian wine making. If you are interested to taste the real thing and not just look at the virtuality of top Croatian wines you should look at our excellent selection of Graševina, Frankovka, Dingac, Postup, etc, definitely one of the very best in the U.S. of A. I started a subscription to the paper edition and will keep you abreast as to what I can learn from it. For now, go to the web site and brush up on your Croatian.

Three Blind Hungarians

Prof. Dr. Tim P. says: One of the hazards of wine writing is watching bottles pile up all over the house waiting to be tasted. (Somebody has to do it.) Since I firmly believe that multiple opinions are always better than one, I periodically pull together an informal panel to work through the backlog. I recently did a miscellaneous session—some wines I needed to write about, some I might mention somewhere, some I just felt duty-bound to sample because they had shown up at my door. My two tablemates were a serious student of wine somewhere on the trail of a Master of Wine certificate and the co-author of a forthcoming book on pairing desserts and desert wines. All the bottles were wrapped in brown paper bags (showing what a high-class event this was). The whites were a particularly odd quartet: two Hungarian whites from indigenous grapes (the Woodsman’s White and Carpenter’s White in the Craftsman series) and two barrel-fermented California Chardonnays. Trying to be helpful, I noted that the four wines were really two and two. “We noticed!” my pals chimed in unison; the contrast between the pale straw of two glasses and the golden oak tones of the … Continue reading Three Blind Hungarians

Austrians Everywhere

Everybody knows that we (Californians) have a governor with an Austrian background (and an Austrian accent !). And everybody knows Aaanold from one movie or the other or has seen him on TV. Probably only few fans have heard that Mr. Schwarzenegger’s fav wine maker is Gerhard Wohlmuth, both of course hailing from the same Austrian wine region, Styria. Arnold’s longing for home cooking in the US was so strong that he opened his own restaurant in Santa Monica, Schatzi on Main that dishes out traditional Austrian cuisine. If you’re talking about Austrian restaurants in the US you have to mention the expanding food empire of Wolfgang Puck. Many people have eaten in one of his restaurants, or have baked one of the gourmet pizzas sporting his name, or have watched one of his entertaining cooking shows on TV. Of course, Wolfgang is an Austrian hero too, born in the southern province of Carinthia. Thoroughly trained in France, Wolfgang continued in LA to pioneer Californian fusion cuisine with his distinct Austrian background as a major ingredient. Then there are various wine makers who have this particular ethnic heritage in common, among them one of the founders of the Canadian Inniskillin … Continue reading Austrians Everywhere