Karen MacNeil, author of the Wine Bible and Director of the Wine Program at the Culinary Institute of America, recently wrote this “Fascinating Fact” on the history of sweet wine production: The world’s most highly prized dessert wines actually got off to a rotten start. The Sauternes region of France is best known for these wines today, but the practice of using botrytized grapes (those infected with the fungus Botrytis cinerea)to make unctuously sweet dessert wines actually began in Hungary’s Tokay region around 1650. (By comparison, the first Sauternes is thought to be an 1847 Chateau d’Yquem.) As the story goes, the Hungarian harvest was delayed that year due to a Turkish invasion. After several weeks of battle, Hungarians returned to their vineyards to find their grapes shriveled and rotting on the vine. They harvested them anyway, and, much to their surprise, found that, thanks to the fungus, the tiny amount of concentrated liquid left inside each grape tasted like honey! Sign up to receive more fascinating facts with Karen MacNeil’s WineSpeed at www.karenmacneil.com Try this “highly prized” wine for yourself! We have examples from several producers in Tokaj: Dorogi Eszencia 2008 Füleky Pallas Tokaji Late Harvest 2012 Füleky Tokaj … Continue reading Fascinating Fact from WineSpeed: Botrytis Beginnings
Whether you are hosting a dinner party or need the perfect wine for a lazy day at the beach, a liter bottle is the answer. Think about it: it’s 33% more wine! Not only does this format provide more volume, it is also greener for the environment and the wines tend to be low in alcohol, refreshing, and alarmingly easy to drink. As the 1-Liter trend is getting more and more popular, we have now quite a collection of liters from several countries and a dizzying array of grape varieties. Our newest 1 Liter: the 2013 Pfneisl Blaufränker Rather than make wine with their father and uncles who run the well established family estate in Austria, Birgit and Katrin Pfneisl decided to farm their ancestral vines In Sopron, Hungary, where Blaufränkisch is Kékfrankos and Pfneisl is Pfneiszl. Organic farming, old vines and wild fermentation all contribute to the finesse of their wines. Their Kékfrankos has always been more Blaufränkisch than most Blaufränkisch so we were happy to discover Birgit and Katrin’s increasing involvement in the Austrian estate and immediately taken with the results. Blaufränker is that wine: a collaborative wine project between Blue Danube Wine Co and the Pfneisl sisters, … Continue reading Follow the Liter
The Region Illmitz is located on the eastern shore of Lake Neusiedl. It is this proximity to the lake that make the area a famous wine region. The moisture and humidity result in consistent production of botrytis, or noble rot, which attacks the berries. The fungus removes all the water from the grapes, leaving behind pure concentrated sugars. This is the cornerstone for the most celebrated sweet wines. The Winery The Rosenhof estate is set amidst one of the most beautiful European sceneries where Reinhard Haider is able to balance extreme levels of sugar and acid without losing fruit in the process. The family business started here in 1947 with both a farm and vineyards. By 1969 the focus was almost exclusively on viticulture with the addition of a hotel and restaurant featuring authentic Pannonian cuisine. Pannonian flavors are a melding of Hungarian, Croatian, Czech, Slovakian and Austria influences creating one of Europe’s heartiest cuisines. The sweet wines they produce from Blaufränkisch, Chardonnay, Welschriesling, and Grüner Veltliner are particularly well known and praised internationally. If dry wines are your preference, Rosenhof also produces fine red and white dry wines. Things to do and see As aforementioned, there is a hotel … Continue reading Visit a Winery: Rosenhof in Illmitz, Austria
Award-winning author John Mariani shares his view on Austria’s wine future in this article for the Huffington Post. Not only does he find the wines from Burgenland to be the most exciting, he is also enamored by one of the producers we work with in the region, Juris. I was, however, most impressed by the Austrian red wines I tasted, for I’d never had much interest in them before and very little at all with those from Burgenland. I had a splendid wine named Juris (George) from Gols, made from the often finicky St. Laurent grape, related to Pinot Noir, but with more body and concentration. Continue reading the article and then browse Juris wines.
Nice words and a little on the history of Bio-Weingut Geyerhof in Austria’s Kremstal region coming all the way from Macau. Written by Jacky Cheong for the Macau Daily Times. THE PASTORAL SYMPHONY Sandwiched between Wachau to its southwest and Kamptal to its northeast, Kremstal (literally: Krems Valley) is one of the top wine regions of Austria, producing some of the finest Grüner Veltliner and Riesling in this mortal world. Its… Read the whole article here To learn more about the wines mentioned and purchase some for yourself, check out our website.
Are you a wine lover who is like me obsessed with George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire? Wine is a major theme in the series and is often associated with the most important plots: a wineseller attempts to poison Daenerys with a cask of of fine Arbor red; King Robert who only loved three things: war, women and wine, is mortally wounded by a boar while hunting drunk; at his wedding, Joffrey’s wine is poisoned and he dies after drinking from his wine goblet. Now, did you know that pairing wines with each of the 9 main houses of Westeros has become increasingly popular on the internet? Check this version based on regions and climates or this one based on wine labels and the houses’ sigils. And don’t miss the Game of Thrones Wine Map. So I couldn’t resist. Here is my Blue Danube version: House Stark The Starks are lean of build and long of face. They live in Winterfell in the North, a castle warmed by natural hot springs, evidence of some volcanic activity. Their wine is the 2011 Bott Csontos Furmint from the Tokaj region. The wine grows on volcanic slopes where the soil … Continue reading What if the Westeros Houses were drinking Blue Danube Wines?
Vienna is Europe’s only metropolis with a wine region within the city limits. Wien or Vienna, as us English speakers call it, is an ancient pre-Roman city of Imperial grandeur, and authentic rural charm. It is also Europe’s only metropolis with a wine region within the city limits. The region is known simply as Wien. Today the vineyards drape the hills of Nussberg and Bisamberg that overlook the city center. Between the city and the hills are streets of Heurigers—wineries that are part wine tavern, part picnic and part concert—uniting the cosmopolitan and the country. Heurigers are quintessentially Viennese. Heurig means “this year’s”. Their beginnings date back to the late 18th Century when Holy Roman Emperor Joseph the II, one of the three Enlightened Monarchs, gave permission to the local farmers to sell their wine privately. Variations do exist, but the traditional Heuriger observes a few simple but important rules. No recorded music! Homemade food! Homemade wine! The unyielding affection the Viennese have for the Heuriger has in a most beautiful way, preserved these familial businesses and in doing so protected a delicious and traditional wine type, Gemischter Satz. Gemischter-what??? Gemischter Satz (Geh-meest-er Saw-tz), which means “mixed set”, is Vienna’s … Continue reading Curious & Thirsty – WEIN (WINE) City
Founded by Ilse Maier of Geyerhof and her friend of many years, Burgenland red wine specialist Birgit Braunstein, the WildWux project takes a holistic approach to wildlife and environmental protection. The goal of the project is to go beyond organic viticulture and give back part of the vineyard to nature under the supervision of wildlife specialists. 30% of the vineyard is been restored into a wildlife corridor that preserves biological diversity and protects local species such as the red-backed shrike, the inches ios, the European tree frog, the bumble bee, and the spermophilus, in their natural habitat. “Preserving nature and utilizing the vitality of the soil” is Ilse Maier’s motto at Geyerhof. The family has been managing vineyards organically for many years, focusing on a sound eco-system and healthy soils. Organic viticulture is much more than avoiding chemicals. For the Maier family, it is a trapeze act without a safety net. The vineyards need to be continuously monitored in order to catch diseases in their earliest stages. Small failures can have disastrous consequences and sometimes, it’s too late to implement remedying measures. “We have worked on specialized know-how during the last fifteen years and this has taken a great deal … Continue reading The WildWux Project
Our Austrian bio-estate Geyerhof continues to gather many kudos from wine critics. In their July edition the Wine Enthusiast awarded 90+ points to two Gruner Veltliner: Steinleithn and Gaisberg, both from premier cru vineyards: 93 Points Geyerhof 2010 Steinleithn Erste Lage Reserve Grüner Veltliner (Kremstal): Steely and mineral in character, this is a taut, nervy wine. It has great acidity and balance, with green fruit and sliced apple flavors. Keep for 3–4 years. Screwcap. 92 Points Geyerhof 2010 Gaisberg Erste Lage Reserve Grüner Veltliner (Kremstal): While the wine is technically dry, its richness gives it a sweeter sensation. The ripe apricot and pineapple fruit is cut with knife-like acidity, allowing this concentrated wine to remain poised, with a crisp finish. The Kirchensteig Vineyard was a cellar selection, online exclusive: 93 Points Geyerhof 2010 Kirchensteig Erste Lage Reserve Riesling (Kremstal): One of a series of great single-vineyard wines from Geyerhof, this is as impressive as the rest. It has weight, complexity and richness. Its perfumed fruits provide a delicate counterpoint to the acidity, taut minerality and herbal edge. For aging over at least five years. And Jon Bonné of the San Francisco Chronicle marvels about the Geyerhof 2010 Gaisberg Reserve Grüner … Continue reading Kudos for Geyerhof!
We have been pretty busy at Blue Danube Wine this spring. Several weeks ago, we were featured at Google’s Wine Wednesday, a biweekly tasting event organized by the Google wine club. To help the chefs of the hosting cafe prepare tidbits that could be paired with each wine, we had brought some wine samples to them ahead of time. We anticipated that few Googlers would be familiar with Central-Eastern European wines so we chose the following selection of wines from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia, showcasing some of the best wines currently produced along the Danube river and the Dalmatian coast: 2010 Sommer Bergweingarten M Grüner Veltliner: founded in 1698, the Sommer Winery is now run by winemaker and Grüner Veltliner specialist Leo Sommer and his wife Silvane. The estate is located in the Neusiedlersee-Hügelland region near Lake Neusiedl in eastern Austria. The wine was dry, crisp, mineral with a good structure on the palate. The chefs chose to pair it with a creamy Morel and Aspargus Risotto. 2009 Kabaj Ravan: Kabaj Winery is owned and run by French-born winemaker Jean-Michel Morel and his wine Katja Kabaj. It is located in Goriška Brda in Western Slovenia, an appellation known as … Continue reading Blue Danube Tasting at Google