Coronica: Full Circle

Moreno Coronica in his vineyard with the typical Istrian Terra Rosso. We have just gotten back from the Blue Danube company trip to Hungary, and there are so many highlights to share. However, this must be postponed because of the 2008 Coronica Istrian Malvazija from Istria, Croatia. Why? The reason is the season. Let me explain. Istrian Malvazija is primarily grown in Slovenia and parts of northern Italy but is most at home on the large Croatian peninsula of Istria at the north end of the Adriatic where Croatia, Slovenia and Italy meet. Wines from this grape vary greatly in style. Many are made in a fresh, reductive form, akin to the commercial white wines of New Zealand, pleasant but undistinguished. Others are macerated, or made like red wine where the skins are left with the juice during fermentation, resulting in deeply colored, even orange wines with red wine structure, tannin and all. Quality varies radically among wines of this already challenging-to-appreciate style. When bad they can be undrinkable, but the best examples are unforgettably good. In July 2009 we tasted the 2007 Coronica Malvasia during a tasting of potential imports. We all immediately noticed that there was more to … Continue reading Coronica: Full Circle

Recent Breakthrough: Cabernet Sauvignon goes with lobster

a great combo: lobster with Batic Cabernet Sauvignon Rose & Enjingi Grasevina. Most of my Christmas’ are spent in Maine at my parents. Their house is on an island in the Atlantic, just off the coast. Winters are both beautiful and brutal. No matter how cold the wind, or rough the seas the seafood remains ridiculously fresh. This year brought a special surprise; soft shell lobster. These freshly molted “bugs” are the unquestionable pinnacle of the lobster world; super sweet and tender. You wont find them far from where they are caught as they are much more vulnerable, to even gentle travel, than there hard shelled brethren. There is no reason to get fancy with them. In fact you can faintly read “steam only, serve with butter” On some of their shells. So what do you drink with succulent lobster in this arctic cold? Big Chard is the standard prescription but we have forced this for years, unless you are drinking properly aged top tier Burgundy the pairing rarely works. So Cabernet of course! The pairing logic: In a form this naked, lobster is best complemented by a soft, full bodied wine. We started with a decent feline scented Sauvignon … Continue reading Recent Breakthrough: Cabernet Sauvignon goes with lobster

Tasting with the (Wein) Rieder Family

Fritz Rieder in his beloved Schneiderberg. This afternoon, our local friends, Andrea and Thomas, picked us up and escorted us to the Weinrieder Estate located in the center of the Weinviertel region west of Poysdorf in Kleinhadersdorf. For Andrea and Thomas, it was not their first trip to meet the Rieder’s and their excitement to see them again was contagious. Naturally, I was so excited since I have been selling their wines for a bit over a year and never visited. However, when the excitement comes from locals, you cannot help but feel like you are really onto something special! The Tasting Group: Fritz, Kristyn, Stetson, Thomas, Andrea, und Hund. As soon as we arrived, Melanie Rieder gently hurried us into the cozy little tasting room just off to the side of their very green backyard. The yard was modest, but appeared as if it were designed to entertain. Tasting with Friedrich Rieder is an experience in itself. He speaks, in German, about his wines with boisterous honest enthusiasm. Andrea translated for us. She was fast to translate, but he was faster. Ultimately language proved to be no obstacle. Friedrich loves to present his wines and is totally at home … Continue reading Tasting with the (Wein) Rieder Family

Whirlwind Tour of Juris Winery

Juris Vineyard’s Grapevines & Soil The Juris Winery TourA visit to this winery started with a tour of the vineyards. Axel Stiegelmar of Weingut Juris, took us on a whirlwind tour of his vineyards. We had the pleasure of sampling his Pinot Noir and St. Laurent grape varietals. It was great to taste the grapes off the vine and you can really taste the difference between the two varietals before they become wine. Juris Vineyard Soil The Juris Vineyard is located on a raised plateau of pebbles and loam. This dry farmed vineyard produces small amounts of flavor packed grapes. Also, they utilize cover crop and no herbicides in any of their vineyards. If weeds become excessive, they plow to eliminate them and then spread straw down the rows and under the vines to prevent water loss from the constant drying winds. Notice the double stalked vines in the photo above? This is their clever way of increasing plant density in the vineyard while keeping it easy to farm. The double stalked vines are actually two plants right next to each other. This method was first implemented by Axel’s father, Georg Steigelmar, who continues to influence Axel. After tasting the … Continue reading Whirlwind Tour of Juris Winery

Stetson & Kristyn Do the Danube

Stetson and Krystin in Vienna, Austria We’re on a journey through the wine regions of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. We’re here in Austria right now and we have a lot to say (maybe too much), but not enough time to say it. So, enjoy watching our video describing what we’ve learned and found so far on our wine adventure. –Stetson and Kristyn

Touchdown in Austria!

Axel Stieglmar, Weingut Juris, measuring the ripeness of the grapes (brix) with a refractometer Axel Stiegelmar of Weingut Juris promptly greeted us at the airport and whisked us away to his vineyards in Gols, near Lake Neusiedlersee in Burgenland Austria. Literally, our first stop was this vineyard. Here he checks the sugar on his St. Laurent with refractometer. Everything is looking pretty good for the 2009 vintage! Barrel Tasting After getting a great tour of his expanding vineyard holdings we explored the winery, did a bit of barrel and new release tasting, and then had an amazing lunch at Restaurant Alain Weissgerberg. It was a genuine pleasure to share this afternoon at such a fabulous restaurant with Axel and his wife Herta. They truly love food, wine, and the sharing of both. Axel even opened a bottle of Tricata, his Amarone style Blaufränkisch. It’s an unusual approach to an unusual grape but one that surprisingly works. This wine flaunted its incredible range as it opened up. Come the holidays, this would be an absolute show stopper of a wine! –Stetson and Kristyn

Preparation for Wine Adventure

We are about to enjoy a night of burgundy and food before we head off to Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Our bags are packed and ready to go. I doubt we will be sleeping tonight, but that it is what the flight is for! We will try our best to blog about our journey daily, but if you don’t hear from us…squawk! A very special thanks to Frank and Zsuzsa of Blue Danube Wine Company who have made this trip possible. Words cannot describe how much we appreciate it. –Stetson and Kristyn

Experiencing Texture and Flavor at BREADBAR

BREADBAR Hatchi Series features two Blue Danube Wines The BREADBAR Hatchi Series Wine Dinner event was packed! There was literally a “club line” at the reception stand that was about 30 people deep. To see so many people at a mall for an 8 course meal was both surreal and welcoming. BREADBAR Century City regularly hosts a series of dinners that feature guest chefs and sommeliers. This evening, the dinner was managed and featured Chef Michael Voltaggio, the Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room At The Langham, and a Bravo TV 2009 “Top Chef Las Vegas” Contestant. The beverages were managed by David Haskell, formerly of Bin 8945 Wine Bar. Chef Michael Voltaggio.Photo courtesy of LA.Eater.com David included two of of Blue Danube Wine Company’s Croatian wines in his varied and textural selection. Take a look at the menu pictured above and the food pictured below. From bubbles to beer, to Sherry to Croatia, the libations that David selected reinforced the whole texture and flavor theme. An audible favorite of the night was the Japanese tomato tartare and 2006 Križevci Winery Graševina. This wine works so well with higher acid vegetable dishes containing plenty of fresh herbs. Here, the … Continue reading Experiencing Texture and Flavor at BREADBAR