#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

Plum Dumplings: An Austro-Hungarian Treat

Anne Krebiehl MW offers this traditional recipe in her latest article for Wine Enthusiast. Read the full piece here. Known as Lekvártascherl in Austria and Barátfüle in Hungary, these plum dumplings are a delicious example of Central European sweets. The best wine pairing would be either an Austrian eiswein or late harvest wine from Hungary. Here are a few we recommend: From the Rosenhof Winery in Austria, producer of some of the finest, incredibly balanced sweet wines- Rosenhof Blaufränkisch Eiswein 2012 Rosenhof Welschriesling TBA 2010 Two late harvest wines from Tokaj, Hungary; one is made by the Füleky winery and the other by Patricius. Both wines retain a beautiful amount of freshness and lively acidity that work in harmony with the residual sugar- Füleky Pallas Tokaji Late Harvest 2012 Patricius Katinka Late Harvest 2012 Plum Dumplings Recipe Recipe courtesy Michal Rabina, Eisenstädter Mehlspeiskuchl, Schloss Esterházy, Eisenstadt, Austria Ingredients 2 cups boiled, peeled potatoes 3/4 cup quark or fromage frais 3/4 cup unsalted butter 2 egg yolks (save the whites for another use, or discard as desired) 1 whole egg 1 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon finely … Continue reading Plum Dumplings: An Austro-Hungarian Treat

#WineWednesday Spotlight #8: Bernreiter Gemischter Satz

A Visit in Vienna… First things first: this is the city whose very name means wine. In the native tongue they say Wien, which is short for the Latin name Vindobona, which means the place where the good wine grows. Indigenous Celtic peoples had been cultivating the vine and producing wine for nearly one thousand years before the ancient Romans arrived, roaming up from their nearby military installation at Carnuntum… The Römer had a longstanding affinity for the vine and its most noble product, thus had always been hip to recognising local talent whenever it crossed their paths of conquest. Second, Austria is a wine culture, more similar to France than Germany. In the early 1980’s, the great French wine-making specialist Emil Peynaud asserted that the only other wine culture in Europe like France was Austria. A little country, the remains of an extensive polycultural empire, Austria is a tourist paradise featuring wine on one end, winter sport on the other end, and Mozart in the middle. Leaving poor Mister Mozart in Salzburg and the skis in Tirol, we shall concentrate on the capital city… There are nearly fifteen hundred acres of vines within the city limits. Vienna (once officially characterised … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #8: Bernreiter Gemischter Satz

#WineWednesday Spotlight #5: Merry Christmas with the Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner Rosensteig

Sometimes it is tricky to have all your kids at home at the same time. As your kids get older, there’s something you understand very quickly: you need to be flexible with your schedule and that’s why we celebrated Christmas on Saturday December 19th. On the menu, we had a choucroute garnie, one of my daughter’s favorite dishes and a recipe that comes from my mom’s old pressure cooker cookbook. We’re also lucky to have a fantastic German butcher in the neighborhood where we can buy his own fermented sauerkraut, smoked meat and sausages. The recipe is really easy. Layer up the sauerkraut with bacon, smoked pork chops, sausages, onions, and carrots. Don’t forget the secret ingredient: a tart apple. Spice it with black peppercorns, cloves, and juniper berries, pour a bottle of Riesling, close the cooker lid, and cook for an hour. Serve with steamed potatoes and frankfurters. Although the dish calls for Alsatian Riesling, I really like it with the Austrian Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner Rosensteig. Organically farmed by the Maier family, the Rosensteig vineyard (“rose path” in German) is a terraced slope above the Danube characterized by deep loess soils. For me, the Grüner Veltliner that is produced … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #5: Merry Christmas with the Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner Rosensteig

A Danubian Thanksgiving

In preparation for this year’s holiday we have shared our favorite wines sourced from along the Danube river to enhance your celebrations. All of these wines are distinct in their own way but sure to pair beautifully with everything on your holiday table 2011 Kabaj Rebula $26.95 I first learned of the significance of cranberry sauce to the Thanksgiving table while skating on frozen cranberry bogs in Massachusetts with my then young children. I’ve since traded the bogs for the backyard orange trees of California. The best cranberry sauce is a simple and quick relish made with fresh cranberries, freshly-squeezed orange juice, peels, and sugar. No wonder the orange Kabaj Rebula wine from Slovenia pairs so well with that dish! Falling somewhere between a white and red, the wine has intense tannins contrasting with a funky, spicy orange-blossom aroma. It has excellent minerality, and a very enjoyable rich long finish. No need to switch to red for me. This wine is a perfect match for the Thanksgiving table for the recognized 100 Top Winery of 2015!” — Eugénie Cabot 2014 Martinčič Cviček $14.95 In the interest of eating and drinking for as long as possible on Thanksgiving, Cviček (Tsvee-check) is … Continue reading A Danubian Thanksgiving