#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

The Fragrance of Austria by Stuart Pigott

On March 22nd we held a tasting of two dynamic Austrian wine estates, Geyerhof and Muhr-van der Niepoort, at Jadis Wine Bar in New York. Acclaimed wine critic and writer Stuart Pigott attended and has graciously allowed us to share his review of the event here. Enjoy! New York Wine Diary: Day 5 – The Fragrance of Austria by Stuart Pigott Last night at Jadis wine bar on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side I had a Close Encounter of the Third Kind with the wonderful fragrance that Austrian wine is capable of. I’m not talking about the in-your-face kind of aromas that many so-called Icon Wines from around the globe have – they are often so over-concentrated that they slams into you like rogue waves – much less the kind of overwhelming artificiality that many modern fragrances (for men and for women!) display. No, I’m talking about the aromatic delicacy that is possible in various parts of Austria, particularly with indigenous grape varieties like the white Grüner Veltliner and the red Blaufränkisch (aka Kékfrankos / Lemberger), or well-integrated immigrants like the white Riesling (from Germany) and Sauvignon Blanc (from the Loire in France). Let’s start with tannic red … Continue reading The Fragrance of Austria by Stuart Pigott

#WineWednesday Spotlight #17: Muhr-van der Niepoort Samt & Seide

Our friend James the Wine Guy just posted another great video review, this time of the delicious Austrian red Muhr-van der Niepoort Samt & Seide. The name means Velvet & Silk in German and is an accurate description of the wine’s character. Composed of 100% Blaufränkisch from the extreme eastern Austrian winegrowing region Carnuntum, it speaks with authority and elegance in equal measure. I love, love, love Austrian red wines…I just delight in this wine. I think it’s so expressive and beautiful. James gives this wine 94 points out of 100 finding fruit, earth, and floral aromatics. He suggests pairing it with foods like pork, beef, salmon, red sauce dishes, and anything spiced with paprika. Watch the whole review below. Try a bottle or even better, buy our Austrian 6-pack! It includes the Bernreiter Heuriger 2014 (1 Liter), the Bernreiter Gemischter Satz 2013, the Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner Rosensteig 2014, the Geyerhof Zweigelt Ried Richtern 2011, the Muhr-van der Niepoort Samt & Seide 2012 and the Muhr-van der Niepoort Spitzerberg 2012. All 6 bottles for just $150! Sign up for Club Vino Danubia and get free shipping!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #15: Muhr-van der Niepoort Blaufränkisch Spitzerberg

…in abstract terms, this wine from the growing region Carnuntum at the far eastern end of Austria offers a marvellous combination of purpose and charm. More elegant than most of the monumental Blaufränkisch that neighbouring Burgenland produced in the blockbuster red wine vintage 2012, the colour is a deep ruby red with violet highlights, showing slightly lighter at the rim. A vivid and multifacetted aromatic profile incorporates subtle hints of the old cigar-box – both the substance of which the box was made and its contents – which manifest themselves as a light spiciness on the surface of a bouquet characterised by deep, dark cherry and blackberry fruit. On the palate, the wine delivers such a solid sense of substance that one is not really prepared for the grace and delicacy of its overall impression. The luscious texture of the Blaufränkisch fruit (again, dark cherries and blackberry) is supported by a nearly seamless framework of soft, ripened tannins and pert acidity, coming together in a finish that integrates this great vineyard site’s storied minerality with the generous material grown on the vine. Excellent length, comparatively low alcohol – 13° on the label and I think (for once) somebody is telling the … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #15: Muhr-van der Niepoort Blaufränkisch Spitzerberg

Introducing Muhr-van der Niepoort – Pinpoint Precision on the Spitzerberg

Spitzerberg is the last and least of the Lesser Carpathians. It is neither spitz – pointed, nor Berg – a mountain; a slump-shouldered acclivity at best, covered mostly with trees and only partially with the vine, situated in a protected nature preserve. In the easternmost Austrian winegrowing region Carnuntum, it lies closer to Bratislava than to Vienna. Grapes have been grown here for centuries, taking advantage of the hillside’s position as the first elevation encountered by the warm and dry air masses that stream northward from the Pannonian plain, but its vineyards had fallen into a state of neglect and desuetude for most of the recent decades. Muhr-van der Niepoort’s top wine, Blaufränkisch Spitzerberg – as well as their Blaufränkisch Samt & Seide – are distinctive, in that the estate has chosen not to model their wines on examples from the Leithagebirge, the Eisenberg and or Gols, but rather expresses the contrast of their meager and parched hillside soils to the moisture-retentive heavier ground down around Lake Neusiedl. Spitzerberg offers an elegant, subtle and mineral-driven perspective on the confluence of old vines and fossil limestone; long-lived and long on the palate, fine and densely packed. The vines are old – … Continue reading Introducing Muhr-van der Niepoort – Pinpoint Precision on the Spitzerberg