10 Year Anniversary Tasting – The Age of Riesling

We have been waiting for the annual invitation to the big summer tasting hosted by Bay Area Riesling fan & wine merchant, Bill Mayer. Finally, his newsletter arrived with only a few weeks to go to the big event. Looks to us as if Bill still is the same sponti, except of the Berkeley variety, we were in Berlin some years ago. This time we’ve been surprised that it is already his 10th tasting in a row. More than 50 fine wines (mainly from Terry Theise’s portfolio of German and Austrian wines) will be served for a fee of only $30.

We have experienced a couple of earlier tastings and can attest: they are always fun, there are usually plenty of fine wines to sample, and a good time is had by all. Well worth the money!

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

12 noon to 5pm

Oakland, California

call Bill Mayer at: (510) 549-2444 or write him at billmayer@sbcglobal.net

And keep Bill’s advice in mind: Don’t forget to spit!

Introducing Refreshing New Varietals from Hungary

Blue Danube Wine Company is proud to introduce the Craftsman series of wines from Hilltop Neszmély Winery of Hungary to California and the West Coast. This exciting new line brings the refreshingly flavors of some of Hungary’s finest grape varietals to American palates.

The six whites, two reds and one sweet wine have been carefully selected to capture the flavor and character of Hungarian wines. The varietals include Királyleányka, Irsai Olivér, Olaszrizling, Muscat Ottonel, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio (Szürkebarát), Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) and Tokaji Aszú.

Hilltop Neszmély Winery is at the forefront of the renaissance of Hungarian wine making and internationally renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson terms the winery “one of the country’s leading wine exporters”.

Focusing on importing top wines from Central Europe, in particular from Austria, Croatia, and Hungary, Blue Danube Wine is pleased to expand its portfolio of sophisticated flavorful food friendly wines. Our winemakers combine old winemaking traditions and indigenous grape varietals typical of their regions to produce distinctive wines. more

94 points to Hilltop-Neszmely Tokaj Aszú

tokajWhat a big surprise when we read the recent Wine Spectator in which Bruce Sanderson conducted a major tasting of Tokaji wines imported to the U.S. Here is what he said about the Hilltop-Neszmely 5 Puttonyos Tokaj Aszú 1993:

Lush and smoky in aroma, with flavors of orange marmalade, apricot and smoke, this is elegant, with a vibrant structure coaxing the flavors to a lengthy conclusion. Really hitting its stride now. Drink now through 2010. 125 cases imported. Wine Spectator, June 15th, 2004

Well, we had just received our alotment of a few cases as part of taking on distribution of the dry Hilltop wines in California.

BTW we do sell the Hilltop Tokaj for only $39.95, not bad considering its excellent quality. This is your chance to give it a try if you have never tasted a Tokaj Aszú.

EuroCircle Party in San Francisco

We just participated in a great reception with a very interesting international group of people from EuroCircle. This is a loose association of Europeans and folks who love Europe (or a European ;-). EuroCircle has members all over the world and organizes events, parties, dances, and well: wine tastings. Check it out and join them at their next event near you.

Blue Danube Wine Company was selected to present some of our top wines. This evening’s winner by popular vote was the Cardinal made by the Weingut Giefing in Rust, Austria. Everybody agreed that this is a wonderful Austrian style blend. The guests who were invited by founder Kaisa Kokkonen and her SF volunteers to come to a fancy modern appartment overlooking Alcatraz in the Bay of San Francisco liked the Weinrieder Eiswein very much as well. We had to force them pour smaller glasses!

Indigenous Grapes are the Way to Go

Yesterday I attended an interesting tasting in San Francisco under the heading All About Greek Wine. This is some kind of loose association of Greek wineries exporting to the US market. The 15 or so wineries presented all offered good quality wines with prices ranging from $10 to $30. The claim was made that these wines represent the ongoing renaissance of wine making in this ancient country.

One theme stood out: the focus on indigenous grape varietals (rather than pouring the Cabs, Merlots, and Chards, which are also grown in Greece). I tasted many grapes for the first time in my life and my ears are still ringing from their beautiful sounding names: Agiorghitiko, Moschofilero, Malagousia, etc. Does not look like it when you see it written, does it? Get more info at: www.AllAboutGreekWine.com

The lesson I learned for our efforts to import wines to the US: focus on indigenous grapes and offer wines that are special and add a unique dimension to the world of flavors.

Kurt Feiler inducted to Academie Internationale du Vin

Kurt Feiler, the junior principal of the Feiler-Artinger estate in Rust, at Lake Neusiedl in Austria, has been inducted to the elite wine association Academie Internationale du Vin (AIV) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

At the beginning of December Kurt Feiler will become the Academie’s youngest member and join internationally reknowned wine makers, critics, and chefs such as: Elio Altare, Léon Beyer, Yiannis Boutaris, Willi Bründlmayer, Michael Broadbent, Colette Faller, Angelo Gaja, James Halliday, Jean-Marie Peyraud, Bruno Prats, Serena Sutcliffe, Maurizio Zanella.

The wines of Feiler-Artinger are among the top Austrian wines in all categories, red, white, and sweet. I particularily enjoy their Ruster Ausbruch, a special botrytis wine made by only a few wine makers of the Ruster Ausbruch Cercle. Unfortunately, they are not easy to find in the US, so if you see a bottle, buy it!

Rieslings Deserve More Respect

Mike Dunne, the wine writer of the Sacramento Bee says: Rieslings deserve more respect. Dunne reports about a regular gathering of Riesling fans at the Thai Basil Cafe in Sacramento.
I have not attended any tastings yet but it does sound interesting and certainly indicates that Riesling continues to find new friends.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine Designates Inniskillin as New World Winery of the Year

Wine Enthusiast Magazine announced today that Inniskillin has been chosen as the New World Winery of the Year, citing the efforts of co-founders Karl Kaiser and Donald Ziraldo as the innovators and leaders of Canada’s growing wine industry.

tizwine.com (An on-line magazine published in NZ!)

First off, Congratulations to Inniskillin for this well-earned award. They certainly have been instrumental in educating the North American consumer’s taste buds to appreciate Eiswein (icewine). Along the way they innovated how to market and package fairly exotic and pricy wines. Little did we know that the winemaker of the team, Karl Kaiser, hails from Austria, where he grew up with the delicious Austrian style sweet wines, TBA (TrockenBeerenAuslese) and Eiswein. It certainly looks as if he brought a lot of his sweet ethnic heritage with him when he moved to Canada!