#WineWednesday Spotlight #60: 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 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 … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #60: Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen

#WineWednesday Spotlight #59: 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. 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. With its light peppery nose, aromas of sour cherry … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #59: Geyerhof Zweigelt StockWerk

#WineWednesday #53: Spotlight on Geyerhof’s Grüner Veltliners

Following the trace of Sisi, the beloved Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, we crossed the Erzsébet híd (Elisabeth Bridge) in Budapest and drove up the Danube River to Vienna. Contrary to Budapest, the inner city of Vienna is not exactly on the Danube but borders the Danube Canal, a smaller arm of the river. But one of the most scenic stretches of the river can be experienced just an hour from Vienna, in the Wachau. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site that lies in the Danube Valley between the towns of Melk and Krems. Driving along the river, you can admire baroque towns and monasteries, quaint villages, ruins of medieval castles and steep terraced vineyards planted with Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Facing Krems on the other side of the river is the small wine village of Oberfucha, home to the Maier family, who has been producing wines for 15 generations. We were welcomed by Ilse, her son Josef and his wife Maria. Baby Matthis, Maria and Josef’s new son, was still sleeping. First, Josef took us for a tour of the Kirchensteig (path to the church) vineyard just behind the house. While walking in the vineyard, Josef explained … Continue reading #WineWednesday #53: Spotlight on Geyerhof’s Grüner Veltliners

The Stockwerk project

Our new Austrian container is reaching U.S. shores, packed with new wines from the exceptional 2015 vintage, including the 2015 Geyerhof Stockwerk Grüner Veltliner and 2015 Geyerhof Stockwerk Zweigelt. Stockwerk is the child project of Geyerhof‘s next generation of winemakers, Ilse Maier’s son Josef and his wife Maria. We’ll let Josef describes it in his own words: StockWerk is a real project of the next generation at Geyerhof (we are the 15th generation of the family). Maria had the idea of the name and the label. Generally the label should show how organic viticulture works. In German, StockWerk means the work (Werk) on the vine (Stock). Of course the vine is in the middle, but in an organic farm, there is also a strong focus on the surrounding. For us, it was very important that the vine was not drawn bigger than the cover plants around it, because for the ecosystem, they have the same importance. The secret little helpers stand for all the manual work in our vineyards. But the label should also show the projects of Maria and me: In the right corner you can see bees. Maria’s father has been a beekeeper for 30 years and so … Continue reading The Stockwerk project

#WineWednesday Spotlight #33: Muhr-van Der Niepoort Samt und Seide

This Austrian blaufränkisch has gotten a lot of praise in the press lately. And deservedly so! See what top wine publications have to say and try a bottle for yourself. 2013 Muhr-van der Niepoort Samt & Seide Wine Enthusiast: There is nothing obvious about this wine: everything is subtle and elegant. The nose holds back and the taut palate only unfurls slowly to show a floral, fruity wine that reminds one of crimson peony petals as much as of dark, juicy cherries. yet there is nothing facile about this. it is the silky-smooth texture, however, that delivers the killer blow. A most sensuous, intriguing wine of great elegance. Little wonder: its name means silk and velvet. 92 points Wine & Spirits: Samt & Seide (“velvet & silk”) is a spot-on description for this blaufränkisch, a blend of young and old vine fruit. It’s expressive from the get-go, the rich texture holding a wealth of fresh, frisky fruit. It’s how the wine lasts over the course of several days that proves it is more than just delicious, the minerality holding it firm as a rock while the breezy acidity blows over it with notes of herbs, spice and sappy flavor. This … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #33: Muhr-van Der Niepoort Samt und Seide

Drink Your Way Through Austrian Wine

This guide by Wine Folly makes it easy to learn more about Austria’s key wine grapes and styles: Grüner Veltliner, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, Saint Laurent, Riesling, Gemischter Satz, and Sekt. Austrian wines are mostly made in the eastern side of the country (where the major population areas are) and the cooler continental climate produces racy, dry white wines and elegant, fruity reds. This is not a region for rich, opulent wines like what you’ll find in much of California and Australia. Instead, Austrian wines lean towards tart, herbaceous flavors in a style more akin to France. So, if you’re a Francophile when it comes to wine preference, Austrian wine has that certain je ne sais quoi. Shop Austrian wines

#WineWednesday Spotlight #24: Rosenhof Blaufränkisch Eiswein

Contributed by Matthew Gaughan: wine blogger and educator based in Napa, CA. See Matthew’s blog Matthew’s World of Wine & Drink. This is part two of a spotlight on Rosenhof eisweins. See the first post here. Rosenhof Blaufränkisch Eiswein 2012 Last week I wrote about an Eiswein made from Austria’s signature grape variety, Grüner Veltliner. Even more unusually, this week I focus on another of Austria’s quality varieties: Blaufränkisch, the landlocked country’s second-most planted black grape. Eiswein from a black grape is not unheard of – I’ve tasted Eisweins made from Malbec in Argentina and Cabernet Franc in Canada – but it is uncommon. Red wines produced from Blaufränkisch, called Lemberger in Germany and Washington, can come in a range of styles, from light and Pinot-esque to oaky, more concentrated, and Syrah-like. Whatever the style, the wine should be marked by high acidity, a bright colour, firm tannins, and red fruits. Like the Grüner Veltliner last week, I was curious to see how varietally specific the Eiswein would be. The Rosenhof winery is run by a father and son team, Vinzenz and Reinhard Haider, whose family have been making wine since 1947. Despite that history, the Haiders – as with many other … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #24: Rosenhof Blaufränkisch Eiswein

#WineWednesday Spotlight #23: Rosenhof Orion Eiswein

Contributed by Matthew Gaughan: wine blogger and educator based in Napa, CA. See Matthew’s blog Matthew’s World of Wine & Drink Rosenhof Orion Eiswein 2012 When I first started taking wine seriously – as opposed to merely drinking it – one of the styles of wine which most intrigued me was Eiswein (or Icewine in English, it being one of the simpler German wine terms to translate). The idea of allowing grapes to freeze and the labour involved in picking those frozen grapes in the middle of the night in inhospitable conditions made the wine one to approach with respect, and even a certain amount of reverence. The high prices charged for Eiswein – necessarily so, given the time and cost of producing it – added to the intrigue: to taste one was a luxury. Since then, I have learnt that a further challenge is to make an Eiswein that retains varietal characteristics rather than simply being a sweet wine packed full of sugar. As Eiswein is made from healthy, ripe grapes that are frozen on the vine to concentrate sugar levels, a rich, luscious sweetness can dominate. Riesling is an ideal grape to combat these challenges, due to its … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #23: Rosenhof Orion Eiswein

#WineWednesday Spotlight #22: Reiterer Schilcher

Despite what the date might indicate, spring doesn’t truly arrive until the sun comes out, the temperatures reach a balmy level, and everything blossoms. You can feel it in the air. Thankfully, this happens sooner than later in the Bay Area, except for the occasional patch of fog. In Austria, however, an even bigger transformation takes place. The frigid winter temperatures and bracing winds give way to rolling green hills and budding vineyards as far as the eye can see. Around this time of year I like to sit outside in the sunshine, especially with friends in the Styrian countryside. Styria, Austria’s second-largest federal state by geographical area, is also known as the “Green Heart of Austria”. Situated in the southeast of the country, culture here shares many similarities and traditions with neighboring Slovenia to the south and Hungary to the east. The wines of Styria are also exceptionally unique, due to a milder, more Mediterranean climate, which is trapped in the “bowl” formed by the Alps to the north. These wines, almost exclusively white varietals, possess crisp, clean acidity and a lightheartedness that make them perfect to enjoy on the terrace in the warm spring breeze. In keeping with … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #22: Reiterer Schilcher

Spring Ahead with The Floral Muhr-Van der Niepoort Samt & Seide Blaufränkisch

Wine Enthusiast recommends a few wines to get you into the season! Check out the article “Spring Ahead with These Floral Wines” by Jameson Fink. Since April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Floral wines, naturally. Enjoying aromatic wines is a sure-fire path to sensory pleasure. These five wines selected by our editors deliver vibrant floral bouquets—even if it’s raining outside. One of our wines is on the list: Muhr-Van der Niepoort 2013 Samt & Seide Blaufränkisch There’s nothing obvious about this subtle and elegant wine.The nose holds back and the taut palate unfurls slowly to show a floral, fruity wine reminiscent of crimson peony petals as much as of dark, juicy cherries. A sensuous, intriguing wine of great elegance whose name means “Silk & Velvet.” —Anne Krebiehl