Blue Danube Tasting at Google

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

Get ready for GoogaMooga!!!

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

New vintages of our popular wines on their way

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

Solving the artichokes and wine pairing dilemma: try the Kogl Magna Domenica Albus

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

Our Top 5 Wines in 2011

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.

Wine Without Frontiers

The start of an email correspondence. I remember Miha Batič, one of our Slovenian producers, telling me that his Great-Grandfather was Austrian, his Grandfather was Italian, his Father Yugoslavian, and now he is Slovenian. They’ve been working the same land and living in the same house since 1592. While borders and nationalities change, the vineyards have remained the same. To this end, Italian and Slovenian producers are in the process of creating the first ever Trans-Border DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) that celebrates the Carso (Italian) or Karst (Slovenian) region. For instance, there are already joint community initiatives such as Scenarios and Flavours from the Karst Plateau without Frontiers based in Trieste that functions much like a “Doctors Without Borders” for food and wine. Concerning wine, they focus on the grape called “Terrano” (Italian) or “Teran” (Croatian and Slovenian) coupled with the iron rich “Terra Rossa” (red earth) unique to the region. These are red wines with off the charts acidity, enough minerality to meet a healthy diets monthly quota, and often a slightly tangy wild berry flavor that make it an incredible wine of place. It’s a killer with Prosciutto. With this in mind, I’ve had many buyers admit … Continue reading Wine Without Frontiers

Bistro SF Grill Rocks

Hosts Hasim, Seni, and Gino at Bistro SF Grill. San Francisco has recently added a very vivid food destination and we are happy to be part of it with our wines: Bistro SF Grill. This is a gourmet burger restaurant owned and managed by three multi-talented friends hailing from Bosnia-Herzegovina: Hasim, Seni, and Gino. We sometimes jokingly call them the ‘Balkan Trio’. The line-up. In a short couple of months the trio has managed to put their ‘almost famous’ burgers on top of the heap. This is not your ordinary burger joint where the choices are between American or Swiss cheese. At Bistro SF Grill they serve only the finest beef some of it as exotic as Alligator, Buffalo, and Ostrich. Then there is a Lamb Burger and another made from organically fed Kobe beef. I tried most of them and my favorite is the Balkan Burger, made from a mix of lamb and beef with savory spices. Our wines from Balkan countries like Slovenia and Croatia pair beautifully with these burgers. For instance, try the Donkey Dingac or the Bibich Riserva R6 with a Balkan burger and you will agree that the wine will make the flavors jump. The … Continue reading Bistro SF Grill Rocks

Kabaj Tasting at Terroir, NYC

Jean-Michel Morel, proprietor and wine maker at Kabaj. “Taste it with your eyes closed,” says Jean Michel Morel as I swirl his Amfora 2006 in my glass. We are at the Kabaj tasting for trade and press, held Thursday at the restaurant Terroir in Tribeca, NYC. Jean Michel and Kabaj’s sales manager, Tomo Ceh, were there to pour eight wines made in the hills of Goriska Brda hard against Slovenia’s border with Italy. I closed my eyes and tasted the light amber wine in my glass. The aroma was rich, of honey and sweet pollen. The wine was smooth, with ample body and a lactic topnote, like the smell of a great cheese shop, as well as a noticeable oxidation which, with the healthy acidity and slight tannin of the wine, gave its body rigor. Beneath was an elusive floral quality and light smoke. If I hadn’t known this wine was white, with my eyes closed I might have assumed it was a red with a little age on it—and that was Jean Michel’s point. The truth about Amfora. “It’s red wine—only the color is white,” he says. The 2006 is the middle vintage of three white blends he is … Continue reading Kabaj Tasting at Terroir, NYC

Batič & Kabaj visiting NYC, PHX, LA & SF

Jean-Michel and Tomo of Kabaj – Miha Batič. We are pleased to announce the visit of two Slovenian wine makers in California in May: Miha Batič represents a pioneering organic estate in Vipava Valley. Jean-Michel Morel and Tomo Čeh come from Kabaj in Goriška Brda. Kabaj is reknowned for their unique Amphora and long maceration wines. Meet them at one of the many events we are planning. You can read the full schedule on the new community site Slovenes in USA. Please welcome Jean Michel of Kabaj when he makes his 1st step into an American Wine Bar: Terroir NY Tribeca, Thursday, May 12, 1-4pm. Jean will pour a selection of his finest wines for trade & media. R.S.V.P. required. On his trip from New York to Los Angeles Kabaj will meet and work with two James Beard Award nominees: The first is Chairman Paul Grieco of Terroir NY who was nominated for Excellence in Wine Service. We are very happy that Paul graciously agreed to host Kabaj for his first ever tasting in the United States at his renowned wine bar in Tribeca. The trade mark logo of Terroir NY. It is an honor that the first wine dinner … Continue reading Batič & Kabaj visiting NYC, PHX, LA & SF

Friends, Adventure and a lot of good Wine…

Franci Cvetko serving his full line-up at Kogl winery. Formally suited we hit the ground running on our latest work trip to Central Europe. We spent 12 days split between Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary. The night of our arrival was the kick-off Gala Dinner for the Zagreb Wine Gourmet Festival held in the capital’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Hosting over 140 wineries it is the largest tasting of Croatia’s wines all year. Attendees ranged from top politicians like President Ivo Josipovic to France’s father of biodynamic farming Nicolas Joly. The fair itself was a frenzy of trade and consumers out of their minds to taste everything Croatian. We went in with high expectations but still the number of excellent wines was shocking. There is a growing self awareness among producers that indigenous grape varieties made in local styles are Croatia’s great strength. This coupled with the rapid increases in quality is yielding the most transparent views of Croatia’s complex terroir yet seen. To watch this unfold is inexplicable. Despite the crowd, between tastings we were able to finalize most of our spring shipment. Both days we tasted until the lights flashed and our mouths hurt. After the tasting we managed … Continue reading Friends, Adventure and a lot of good Wine…