World Class Organic Wines from Austria

Austria is now home to some of the best organic winemakers. We’re proud to represent the very gifted Ilse Maier of Weingut Geyerhof and Dorli Muhr of Muhr-van der Niepoort. Thanks to the leadership of Ilse Maier, Weingut Geyerhof in Oberfucha, Kremstal, has been organic since 1988. Ilse Maier’s family has lived in the wine village of Oberfucha since the 16th century and for Ilse, it became vital to preserve the biodiversity surrounding the village, not only for the vineyards but also for the wildlife and farm animals. In the vineyards, Ilse and her son Josef are working hard to keep the vines healthy and the soil loose and nicely moist underneath. They farm without using any pesticides, insecticides or weed control material. Clover is planted in every other row to naturally increase nitrogen in the soil, compost is used to nourish the plants, and the local wildlife is welcome. To save the grasslands around the village from overgrowth, the family is even raising cattle, which provide meat and milk and also manure for the fields. Maria Maier, Ilse’s daughter in-law, comes from a beekeeping family. She has started beekeeping in the vineyards. The bees are healthy and thriving thanks … Continue reading World Class Organic Wines from Austria

#WineWednesday Spotlight #60: Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen

If last week’s #WineWednesday Spotlight was a red wine from a mainly white wine appellation, this week’s Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen is a white wine from Carnuntum, a wine district east of Vienna, better known for its fruity Zweigelt and elegant Blaufränkisch. Dorli Muhr was in New York City this week presenting her latest vintage and maybe you had a chance to meet her and taste her Prellenkirchen. Prellenkirchen refers to the name of one of the main wine-growing villages of the region. The wine is an organic blend of 90% Grüner Veltliner from 25-to-30-year-old vines and 10% Riesling for a touch of freshness. Part of the grapes is sourced from a limestone vineyard on the Spitzerberg Hill and the rest comes from a vineyard near Prellenkirchen. The grapes are crushed by foot and pressed after two days of maceration with their skins. Then, the must is fermented with native yeasts and matured in used French oak before being bottled with a minimal amount of sulphur. The wine shows a bright golden color and a nose of apple compote and honey. The palate is full and silky with some mineral and earthy notes on the finish. We paired it with … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #60: Muhr-van der Niepoort Prellenkirchen

#WineWednesday #53: Spotlight on Geyerhof’s Grüner Veltliners

Following the trace of Sisi, the beloved Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, we crossed the Erzsébet híd (Elisabeth Bridge) in Budapest and drove up the Danube River to Vienna. Contrary to Budapest, the inner city of Vienna is not exactly on the Danube but borders the Danube Canal, a smaller arm of the river. But one of the most scenic stretches of the river can be experienced just an hour from Vienna, in the Wachau. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site that lies in the Danube Valley between the towns of Melk and Krems. Driving along the river, you can admire baroque towns and monasteries, quaint villages, ruins of medieval castles and steep terraced vineyards planted with Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Facing Krems on the other side of the river is the small wine village of Oberfucha, home to the Maier family, who has been producing wines for 15 generations. We were welcomed by Ilse, her son Josef and his wife Maria. Baby Matthis, Maria and Josef’s new son, was still sleeping. First, Josef took us for a tour of the Kirchensteig (path to the church) vineyard just behind the house. While walking in the vineyard, Josef explained … Continue reading #WineWednesday #53: Spotlight on Geyerhof’s Grüner Veltliners

The Stockwerk project

Our new Austrian container is reaching U.S. shores, packed with new wines from the exceptional 2015 vintage, including the 2015 Geyerhof Stockwerk Grüner Veltliner and 2015 Geyerhof Stockwerk Zweigelt. Stockwerk is the child project of Geyerhof‘s next generation of winemakers, Ilse Maier’s son Josef and his wife Maria. We’ll let Josef describes it in his own words: StockWerk is a real project of the next generation at Geyerhof (we are the 15th generation of the family). Maria had the idea of the name and the label. Generally the label should show how organic viticulture works. In German, StockWerk means the work (Werk) on the vine (Stock). Of course the vine is in the middle, but in an organic farm, there is also a strong focus on the surrounding. For us, it was very important that the vine was not drawn bigger than the cover plants around it, because for the ecosystem, they have the same importance. The secret little helpers stand for all the manual work in our vineyards. But the label should also show the projects of Maria and me: In the right corner you can see bees. Maria’s father has been a beekeeper for 30 years and so … Continue reading The Stockwerk project

#WineWednesday Spotlight #23: Rosenhof Orion Eiswein

Contributed by Matthew Gaughan: wine blogger and educator based in Napa, CA. See Matthew’s blog Matthew’s World of Wine & Drink Rosenhof Orion Eiswein 2012 When I first started taking wine seriously – as opposed to merely drinking it – one of the styles of wine which most intrigued me was Eiswein (or Icewine in English, it being one of the simpler German wine terms to translate). The idea of allowing grapes to freeze and the labour involved in picking those frozen grapes in the middle of the night in inhospitable conditions made the wine one to approach with respect, and even a certain amount of reverence. The high prices charged for Eiswein – necessarily so, given the time and cost of producing it – added to the intrigue: to taste one was a luxury. Since then, I have learnt that a further challenge is to make an Eiswein that retains varietal characteristics rather than simply being a sweet wine packed full of sugar. As Eiswein is made from healthy, ripe grapes that are frozen on the vine to concentrate sugar levels, a rich, luscious sweetness can dominate. Riesling is an ideal grape to combat these challenges, due to its … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #23: Rosenhof Orion Eiswein

Its Dungeness crab season, its Grüner Veltliner season

One reason I love the holidays is that they mark the beginning of the Dungeness crab season. This tasty treat is harvested from mid November to the end of June, along the Pacific coast from Santa Barbara to as far as the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea. Being simply cooked in boiling water, its meat is sweet, tender, and slightly nutty. It is, I think, my favorite crustacean and the way I like it best is with just a squeeze of lemon, some bread and butter, and a glass of dry, mineral-driven, white wine. So the other day, we ate our first crab of the year with some delicious 2010 Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner Rosensteig. Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s national grape, accounting for more than 30 percent of the country’s vineyards and it is at its best along the Danube river were it grows in terraced vineyards on slopes so steep they can barely retain the soil, producing mineral-driven wines that can age well. The Geyerhof winery is situated on the southern slopes of the Danube Valley east of Krems. The owners, Josef and Ilse Maier, have 15 hectares of dry-farmed vineyards on loess, sand and tertiary gravel soils and … Continue reading Its Dungeness crab season, its Grüner Veltliner season

Tasting with the (Wein) Rieder Family

Fritz Rieder in his beloved Schneiderberg. This afternoon, our local friends, Andrea and Thomas, picked us up and escorted us to the Weinrieder Estate located in the center of the Weinviertel region west of Poysdorf in Kleinhadersdorf. For Andrea and Thomas, it was not their first trip to meet the Rieder’s and their excitement to see them again was contagious. Naturally, I was so excited since I have been selling their wines for a bit over a year and never visited. However, when the excitement comes from locals, you cannot help but feel like you are really onto something special! The Tasting Group: Fritz, Kristyn, Stetson, Thomas, Andrea, und Hund. As soon as we arrived, Melanie Rieder gently hurried us into the cozy little tasting room just off to the side of their very green backyard. The yard was modest, but appeared as if it were designed to entertain. Tasting with Friedrich Rieder is an experience in itself. He speaks, in German, about his wines with boisterous honest enthusiasm. Andrea translated for us. She was fast to translate, but he was faster. Ultimately language proved to be no obstacle. Friedrich loves to present his wines and is totally at home … Continue reading Tasting with the (Wein) Rieder Family

Weinrieder Extreme

Invitation to a tasting at the Weinrieder estate. Weinrieder has done it again! The Wine Enthusiast selected the Weinrieder Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2006 as the Editor’s Choice of the new Austrian vintage and awarded it 92 points. They also liked his Kugler Riesling 2007 with 91 points and even gave his great value wine, the Weinrieder Grüner Veltliner DAC respectable 86 points. Not bad for a wine that costs less than $15. Visit our online shop now and buy them before they are gone. Also very noteworthy, the terrific Eisweins (icewines) Weinrieder produces. If you had never tasted this specialty wine before we definitely encourage you to do so now with hisRiesling Eiswein from the Schneiderberg vineyard in Poysdorf just north of the capital Vienna. You are in for a special treat and an explosion of tropical fruit on your palate. On par with the ice wines from top Canadian producers like Inniskillin and Jackson-Triggs but much more refined and with an elegant lightness. Plus, the Weinrieder Eisweins cost a fraction less than their Canadian or German rivals.

Austrian Wine Dinner at Café Venezia

Café Venezia’s main dining area Last Thursday on November 8th, Blue Danube Wines supplied the wines for an Austrian Wine dinner at Café Venezia in Berkeley. It was a great opportunity for those not yet familiar with Austrian cuisine, to taste it while sipping some of the finest wines of that country. Cooking in action. Café Venezia is a nice, spacious restaurant on University Avenue that sits pleasantly far enough away from the student buzz of UC Berkeley, yet close enough to the town center to be very much a part of Berkeley. With high windows that look out to the street, you’re beckoned in to a warm interior that is held up by a wonderfully friendly wait staff. The interior picks up on the restaurant’s namesake with kitsch murals and a clothesline of laundry, while at the same time allows one to sit down, have a good meal, and feel pleasantly at home. The four course dinner started with a tasty charcuterie plate of typical Austrian meats and cheese, paired with a new release of Grüner Veltliner from Schmelz winery. Grüner Veltliner, which accounts for over a third of Austria’s vineyards, is one of the country’s most famous varietals, … Continue reading Austrian Wine Dinner at Café Venezia