Austria’s Wine Future Looks Brightest in Burgenland

  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.

JURIS wine tasting with the Stiegelmars

Last week, we enjoyed the visit of Axel and Herta Stiegelmar, the charming owners of Juris Winery, who participated in a series of promotional events in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In San Francisco, they were featured at Portfolio, our annual tradeshow located this year at the San Francisco Old Mint, pouring their Pinot Noir and St. Laurent wines non-stop from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Juris is a family estate in Gols, Burgenland, run by the Stiegelmar family since the late 1500’s. After acquiring practical experience in Germany, Bordeaux and California, Axel Stiegelmar is now considered a Pinot Noir and St. Laurent specialist, producing wines of character and style with aging potential. Pinot Noir and St. Laurent are two difficult and fussy grape varieties that have actually many common characteristics. Pinot noir was most likely brought to Austria in the late 14th Century by Cistercian monks from the Order’s motherhouse in Burgundy. It grows well in the mild climate regions of Burgenland and Thermenregion (Lower Austria) and is recently gaining more importance in the country (1.4% of the plantings in 2009, up from about 0.8% in 1999). The origins of St. Laurent are mysterious but thanks to genetic testing, it is … Continue reading JURIS wine tasting with the Stiegelmars

The 2009 Juris Saint Laurent Selection is very, very delicious

2009 Juris Saint Laurent Selection As a sales rep, you never know what to expect when you taste with an account for the first time. Fortunately, my first tasting this past week with Prima Ristorante & Wine Merchants in Walnut Creek, CA was a pleasant surprise. John Rittmaster, Wine Director and Owner, has been with the restaurant and adjoining wine shop since 1994. He has developed one of the most dynamic wine lists in the area. A well respected palate, to say the least. I was pleased when he and his partner Frank Rothstein got excited about our ’09 St. Laurent from Juris, one of our Austrian producers based in Gols, Burgenland. John was so impressed that he passed along the write up below that he sent to his customer base. Thanks John for allowing us to use your wonderful post. Cheers! “Want to know how we wine merchants spend our own hard-earned dollars? Here’s a wine that I can guarantee you will find in all of our own cellars. Winemaker Axel Stieglmar Saint Laurent (Sankt Laurent locally) is one of those grapes you typically have to experience in situ, maybe from a pitcher, ever so slightly chilled, alongside one … Continue reading The 2009 Juris Saint Laurent Selection is very, very delicious

Invite Austria to your Thanksgiving table

Finding the perfect wine that can go with all the rich flavors found on the Thanksgiving menu, the turkey, the stuffing, the gravy, the cranberries, and the various side dishes, can be challenging. Nonetheless, I think that a wine that is bright and fruity, and not too tannic nor alcoholic, is always a great choice. So when I recently tasted the 2009 Juris St. Laurent Selection, I thought that this year, it was time to invite Austria to our Thanksgiving table. Owned by the Stiegelmar family, Juris farms 17 hectares of vineyards in the Neusiedlersee wine region, half way between Vienna and Budapest. This is the warmest part of Austria with climatic conditions well suited to red varieties, which explains the winery’s special focus on St Laurent and Pinot Noir wines. The Stiegelmar family has been cultivating grapes in this area since the 16th century. One of the winery’s underground cellars was built in 1756, Mozart’s birth year. It was dug 52 meters long, 12 meters below the surface, and maintains a stable temperature of 10°C (50°F). The underground cellars. But over the past 10 years, Axel Stiegelmar and his father Georg have developed a modern winery. The transport of … Continue reading Invite Austria to your Thanksgiving table

Whirlwind Tour of Juris Winery

Juris Vineyard’s Grapevines & Soil The Juris Winery TourA visit to this winery started with a tour of the vineyards. Axel Stiegelmar of Weingut Juris, took us on a whirlwind tour of his vineyards. We had the pleasure of sampling his Pinot Noir and St. Laurent grape varietals. It was great to taste the grapes off the vine and you can really taste the difference between the two varietals before they become wine. Juris Vineyard Soil The Juris Vineyard is located on a raised plateau of pebbles and loam. This dry farmed vineyard produces small amounts of flavor packed grapes. Also, they utilize cover crop and no herbicides in any of their vineyards. If weeds become excessive, they plow to eliminate them and then spread straw down the rows and under the vines to prevent water loss from the constant drying winds. Notice the double stalked vines in the photo above? This is their clever way of increasing plant density in the vineyard while keeping it easy to farm. The double stalked vines are actually two plants right next to each other. This method was first implemented by Axel’s father, Georg Steigelmar, who continues to influence Axel. After tasting the … Continue reading Whirlwind Tour of Juris Winery

Touchdown in Austria!

Axel Stieglmar, Weingut Juris, measuring the ripeness of the grapes (brix) with a refractometer Axel Stiegelmar of Weingut Juris promptly greeted us at the airport and whisked us away to his vineyards in Gols, near Lake Neusiedlersee in Burgenland Austria. Literally, our first stop was this vineyard. Here he checks the sugar on his St. Laurent with refractometer. Everything is looking pretty good for the 2009 vintage! Barrel Tasting After getting a great tour of his expanding vineyard holdings we explored the winery, did a bit of barrel and new release tasting, and then had an amazing lunch at Restaurant Alain Weissgerberg. It was a genuine pleasure to share this afternoon at such a fabulous restaurant with Axel and his wife Herta. They truly love food, wine, and the sharing of both. Axel even opened a bottle of Tricata, his Amarone style Blaufränkisch. It’s an unusual approach to an unusual grape but one that surprisingly works. This wine flaunted its incredible range as it opened up. Come the holidays, this would be an absolute show stopper of a wine! –Stetson and Kristyn