What a memorable way to begin my career with Blue Danube! The other Saturday, Frank and I introduced some of Blue Danube’s current Slovenian portfolio at the Slovenian fair in San Francisco. It was both charming and informative discussing Slovenian wine with Slovenians. More than once did a Kabaj wine invoke a smile and a personal history. Cheerful strains of a Slovenian folk duo consisting of an accordion and a stringed fretted bass instrument echoed in the hall while some of the more free spirited Slovenians danced. The entertainment made for a great tasting atmosphere. The crowd favorite of the tasting was the Crnko Yellow Muscat. One of my favorite wines we were tasting was the Stoka Teran 2009-a fleet wine with an intense raspberry flavor, and touches of cinnamon and pepper. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a more delightful introduction to Slovenian wine culture and Slovenian culture at large. Plus, now I know how well the Stoka Teran pairs with mushroom brie.
Dear Friends of Blue Danube Wine, We are happy to invite you to “Out of the Blue” a casual impromptu pre-holiday trade only tasting. Thanks to your support the Blue Danube Wine Co. portfolio is evolving. We are delving into regions, varieties and styles that demand further study and that the market has shown a taste for. Monday September 17th we will present our deepest selection of wines from Croatia and Slovenia as well as all wines which are now available in our TAKE 5 sales promotion. At this tasting we will pour the wines of ten leading estates. Some of them see their first premiere in the U.S., many are the new vintages which just arrived. This is a rare opportunity to taste them in a comprehensive line-up. SLOVENIA: Batic, Kabaj, Kogl, Crnko, and Stoka CROATIA: BIBICh, Coronica, Piquentum, Terzolo, Dingac Winery We’re sure you will enjoy exploring our expanding portfolio. Please see attached invitation. Thank you for your interest, we hope to see you at the tasting! Cheers, Frank, David, and Michael (and Stetson from New York) Bacaro LA 2308 South Union Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90007 good parking on surrounding streets Monday September 17th 2012 – 12pm-4pm Light … Continue reading Out of the BLUE tasting in LA
After 3 weeks of Friday nights at Alphabet City Wine Co finishing with my #2 East Coast tasting, I need a break. These guys don’t just sell wine, they use it. They drink it, they share it, they drink it, they sell it, drink some more, share some more, then close the shop to head over to Edi and the Wolf for more of the same. Its fun, but brutal. Party aside, manager and co-owner Keith Beavers talks about wine with the same hurried enthusiasm as a 12 year old geeking out on Star Wars (Keith’s second passion). Late night while gulping Črnko – Jareninčan with Keith, I compared the wine to Princess Lea and that was that, we were doing a tasting, next week in fact. Keith was not present due to an emergency research trip to study pina coladas in Mexico. Luckily his debaucherous Muay Thai trained, photographer/romeo/assistant-manager Ben Kaufman, pictured drinking from the bottle, was on hand to hold down the fort. We poured a really challenging line up that included the Crnko, the 09 Kabaj Rebula and the Dingač Vinarija – Pelješac. Initially I saw no apparent way to line up these 3 aromatically and texturally … Continue reading Alphabet City Wine Co. Photon Torpedos and Rebula
Wine & Spirits Magazine recently published excellent reviews of our Slovenian producers Kabaj, Kogl, and Batič: 91 Points Kabaj 2006 Goriška Brda Cuvée Morel: Winemaker Jean-Michel Morel bases this blend on merlot (60 percent) along with cabernets sauvignon and franc and a small amount of petit verdot. But it is not merlot-easy. The musky scent and potent, gravelly tannins made it austere, a powerful, chewy red that needs bottle age. Already sophisticated, with a bit of a swagger in its personality, this is built to cellar. 91 Points Kabaj 2009 Goriška Brda Ravan: Ravan is another name for zeleni sauvignon, which is [tokaj] friulano across the border in Friuli. This one is golden in color and massively fruity, balancing its grassy passionfruit flavors with a clean, tense line of acidity. It ends on a smoky note. A match for roast partridge. 88 Points Kabaj 2009 Goriška Brda Rebula (Best Buy): Deep gold in color and smoky in its scent, this wine focuses on lees and tannins, holding juicy apple flavors underneath. The structure lends it a pleasing textual roundness, finishing firm, almost gruff. For braised dark meat chicken. 92 Points Kabaj 2007 Goriška Brda Amphora: Fermented as whole berries in … Continue reading Kudos for Kabaj, Kogl, and Batič
San Fransisco based freelance photographer Robin Jolin has expertly documented a number of Blue Danube Wine Co events. Usually asking for payment in wine, we have watched her interest grow beyond the glass. Robin and her husband Jarred made their first trip to Middle Europe this past April. They spent two weeks wandering between the Slovenian/Italian border and the Island of Krk visiting wine producers and absorbing the hospitality, culture, olive oil, truffles, and most of all wine. The photographs are Robin’s, the words are Jarred’s. Read and view with caution, or risk an impulse purchase of a plane ticket to Ljubljana. Stetson: Beforehand what were your expectations of this trip?Jerred: We expected to experience a beautiful foreign land with the freedom a rented, compact automobile offers, all the while remaining well-fed on delicious, local fare and wine varietals, and to meet a small cross section of those responsible for creating these delectable treats. One aspect of traveling through this part of the world that we didn’t expect was the hospitality offered us by the winemakers we visited. Although strangers they treated us like important guests, providing us with anything necessary to keep us satiated. Another aspect we didn’t expect … Continue reading Insight and imagery: a photographer and her husband visit Slovenia and Croatia for the first time
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
The Great GoogaMooga is coming to Brooklyn this weekend. GoogaMooga is a music festival in historic Prospect Park with a spotlight on the food and the wine. A feast of elevated street food will be served, including foie gras doughnuts, dirty duck dogs, and pork-belly-shawarma tacos. Blue Danube will be there with our special guests Ildikó Eszterbauer from the Eszterbauer winery in Szekszard and her fiancé and vineyard manager Miklós Klein. We’ll be serving a selection of Eszterbauer wines as well as our Croatian best sellers, the BIBICh R6 Riserva and Dingač Pelješac. The Črnko Jareninčan, a juicy 1 Liter blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, will be our “housewine” for the event. 2011 Eszterbauer Chardonnay 2011 Eszterbauer Öröm Rosé 2009 Eszterbauer Kadarka Nagyapám 2008 Eszterbauer Tüke Bikavér 2009 BIBICh R6 Riserva 2010 Dingač Pelješac 2010 Črnko Jareninčan
The big freeze that hit Europe last February delayed most of our wine shipments but thanks to warmer weather conditions, our containers are on their way to California and New York. Shipping wine in the winter months is in fact hazardous as it can expose the wine to extreme temperatures, which may cause it to freeze (wine freezes between 15-23 degrees F) and alter its character. Our Eszterbauer shipment just arrived in Vienna from Szekszard: The new 2011 Eszterbauer Kadarka Nagyapam: One of our container was recently in the Port of Ploče on the Adriatic Sea coast, with wines from BIBICh, Miloš, and Dingač: From Slovenia, we have new wines from Batič, Kabaj, and Kogl: And some of our new releases are already available online: From Croatia: 2009 BIBICh R6 Riserva $18.95 A roughly equal blend of native red varieties Babich, Plavina, and Lasin aged 12 months in new American oak, this wine is exceptionally food friendly and will pair with anything from goat cheese to smoked meats. 2010 Dingač Plavac $12.95 Plavac Mali grape translates to “Little Blue” grape. This grape is usually simply called “Plavac” and is the cousin of the Californian Zinfandel. It is a fairly rustic … Continue reading New vintages of our popular wines on their way
Why are artichokes so hard to pair with wine? The main culprit is cynarin, a chemical compound that changes the way our taste buds perceive flavors. After eating artichokes, many people experience extra sweetness in their food and drinks, while a few others may taste more bitter flavors. My problem is that I love wine and I love artichokes, especially when signs of springs are starting to be seen all around. So the other night, I made one of my favorite spring recipes, pasta with braised artichokes, green beans, lima beans, and bacon lardons. As for the wine, I decided to try the Kogl Magna Domenica Albus 2009. Home of the Cvetko family since 1820, the Kogl Winery is located in Northeastern Slovenia, not very far from the borders of Hungary, Austria, and Croatia. With a humid continental climate and prolongued freezing periods during wintertime, the region is famous for its white wines. The Magna Domenica Albus (Latin for “Grand White Estate Wine”) is the winery’s flagship wine. It is a blend of Riesling, Yellow Muscat, and Auxerrois, aged in traditional big wooden barrels. The wine had a light golden color and a lively flowery nose. The palate was dry, … Continue reading Solving the artichokes and wine pairing dilemma: try the Kogl Magna Domenica Albus
This afternoon I got a call from our friend and wine brother, Luis Moya of Vinos Unico. Luis had another one of his many – often very good – marketing ideas. He was just about to post their Top 5 Wines for 2011 on the Vinos Unico web site. Luis wanted to convince me to do the same and later we would together with our colleagues from Return to Terroir selected and market the Top 5 wines of the famous in-famous #Port4lio group. I told Luis that this is a great idea but that we are already overworked and overcommitted. If you know Luis you know that he does not give up and never sleeps, so two hours later I see a tweet in which Luis asks us to put some effort into this project and to publish our Top 5 on our web site. So here they are: No 1: Donkey Peljesac, Plavac Mali, Vinarija Dingac, Peljesac Peninsula 2010No 2: Geyerhof: Gruner Veltliner Rosensteig, Kremstal 2009No 3: Bibich, B6 Riserva, Northern Dalmatia 2008No 4: Eszterbauer Kadarka, Szekszard 2009No 5: Kabaj Rebula, Goriska Brda 2008 Cheers, and Thank You for your support.