Wednesday, June 30, 2010
In an effort to make Austrian Wine information more accessible to a curious wine consumer we have decided to change the domain name for the Austrian Wine blog to:
Please visit this blog for the latest information on Austrian wine regions, grapes, events, contests and other information! We look forward to seeing you there!
***the guess the grape contest will be moved to the new location 7/1/10
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
It was a simple case of right place, right time. On the third day of the wines show, I ran into Matt Stinton of Hearth Restaurant and Terroir Wine Bar in NYC who just so happened to be going on a private tour of the Stadlman Vineyard with winemaker, Bernhard Stadlman, and to my delight they invited me along.
Here's a little background:
The Thermenregion consists of 42 winemaking communities and 700 winegrowers, currently planted on approximately 2,600 hectares of land. The vineyard’s range begins just outside of Vienna’s city limits and runs along a chain of hills known as the Eichkogel, the Anninger, the Pfaffstättner Kogel, the Badener Berg and the Sosser Lindkogel and ends just south of Baden.
Despite the region’s historical beginnings, winemakers of the region incorporate many modern day winemaking practices such as nature friendly vineyard care, limited production, exacting grape selection and careful vinification of the wines. These practices allow the wines of the Thermenregion to stand out with refinement and elegance, depth and complexity and to pair excellently with food.
The weather was unusually cold for May when we were there, but the Thermenregion is typically known for hot summers, dry autumns and cool winters. Vines are protected from excess moisture by the Anninger ridge and see a considerable amount of sunshine which all but keeps the grapes immune from mildew and rot.
Stadlman brought Matt and I through the vineyards before moving on to the winery and gave us an overview of the region. Originally, this area was submersed in the sea which accounts for the oyster shells that have been unearthed from the soil. This created the terroir for the region that imprints each grape with a distinct minerality.
The region is made up of a variety of soil types including two primary soils that are ideal for growing both red and white grape varietals. On the slopes of the hills the soils are made up of loam-rich clay, sandy loam and brown earth with a high shell limestone content. These are ideal conditions for some of Austria’s lesser known grapes such as Zierfandler and Rotgipfler.
On the other side of the region, on flat ground in the rightly named Stone Field, the soils are predominately made of the highly permeable limestone gravel. Here red varietals such as Blaufränksich, Pinot Noir and St. Laurent thrive.
Wines have been crafted in the Thermenregion for over two thousand years beginning with the Romans in the Noricum province on the slopes of the Anninger at the base of the Pannonian basin. Wines of the Thermenregion have played an important role in Austrian history and the region is believed to be Austria’s oldest winemaking operation originating with the monastery of the Monks of Helingenkreuz.
Wines from the Thermenregion were generally chosen to accompany the meals served at Hofburg and Schönbrunn and the region was given special preservation upon the construction of the Austrian railway. The region achieved DAC status in 1985 under the Austrian Wine Act, but was called Weine von der Südbahn (the Wines from the Austrian Southern Railway) until relatively recently.
Grapes in the Thermenregion generally have thick skins due to rapid temperature changes between hot and cool that take place here and, as a result, provide for very aromatic wines. White, red and dessert wines are all produced in the Thermenregion thanks to the outstanding soil and weather conditions. Red and white grapes are generally grown in equal balance in this region; predominance depends upon the part of the region.
The Thermenregion is most famously known for the Zierfandler and Rotfipfler grape varieties as they are most widely grown in this region. Other white grapes include Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Neuberger. Predominant red grapes include St. Laurent, Pinot Noir, Blauer Portugieser and Zweigelt.
The Stadlman winery is located within the small province of Traiskirchen and is generally open to visitors via appointment only, though the building is equipped with a restaurant and tasting room that is open approximately five times a year for a total of ten days.
Bernhard brought Matt and I into the cellars where we tasted barrel samples of both the 2009 Rotgipfler and the 2009 Zierfandler. It was clear these wines had some aging to do, but I was impressed by the complexity they were already showing so early in the vinification process.
After this experience we retreated to the tasting room where Bernhard tasted us on the wines imported into the US including the 2008 vintages of the Zierfandler and Rotgipfler wines from the Anninger as well as the Zierfandler Mandol-Höf and the Rotgipfler Tagelsteiner. As a special treat, Bernhard also tasted Matt and I on the 2006 vintage of the Zierfandler Anninger showcasing the grapes ability to age and develop.
Unfortunately, the Thermenregion, as well as the Zierfandler and Rotgipfler varieties are not as readily know in the United States yet, though it has been said by many that they actually prefer them to Gruener Veltliner at times. Perfect for pairing with oysters (naturally) these wines are a gem waiting to be discovered by the masses.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
“Advanced Course – Wines and Spirits International” and “WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits” - Excellent wine education in the heart of Austrian wine
The VIEVINUM Wine Fair 2010 in Vienna hosted the launch of an exciting new wine qualification offered by the Austrian Wine Academy, conducted in English, to commence in autumn of 2010. It offers a unique opportunity to participants to combine learning about international wines with practical first hand experience in viticulture and wine-making and all of this in the unique and picturesque environment of the Academy’s training centre in Rust in the Burgenland wine region.
The Austrian Wine Academy – a not for profit organisation – was founded 20 years ago and in that short time has acquired the formidable status of being the largest wine educational institution in Continental Europe, with approximately 20 000 wine enthusiasts attending seminars annually. In addition to courses offered in
The Advanced Course – Wines and Spirits International is an internationally standardised qualification in the area of “global wines and spirits”. It covers the most important wine regions of the world, as well as all wine styles, including sparkling and fortified wines and incorporates a section on spirits. Students are taught to critically understand and evaluate international wines and spirits. The level of this qualification is internationally defined and is recommended for all professional areas of the wine business: wine trade, gastronomy, wine management and wine production. It has been designed as a residential course and late afternoons and evenings are designated to workshops, visits to vineyards and wineries and educational tastings.
Successful graduates of this course may then move on to the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits, also an international trade qualification and known in
Dr Josef Schuller MW, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Academy and current Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, comments: “This is an exciting new development which enables us to offer students from around the world the opportunity to study and progress from a solid professional level of wine, via the WSET Diploma, all the way to the Master of Wine Programme, here in this unique setting in Rust”.
Advanced Course Fee, including lunches and all visits: EUR 1290.-
Autumn Date: 11-15th October and 11 –
Spring Date: 14-18th March and
For further information, please contact: Mag (FH) Irene Bachkönig, Seehof, A 7071 Rust; phone: 0043 (0) 2685 6853-15; e-mail: email@example.com
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The European Wine Blogger's Conference, hosted by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board in Vienna October 22-24, kicked off in NYC last night at the Austrian Cultural Center with special thanks to Gabriella and Ryan Opaz of Catavino.
The event showcased a variety of wines from a variety of grapes such as Austria's indigenous Blaufränkisch, Grüner Veltliner, Zweigelt and Zierfandler, as well as international varietals such as Syrah. Another bonus was the array of Austria's field blend, Gemischter Satz, contributed by Darcy and Huber and poured by Paul Darcy.
Wines contributed and poured by Klaus Wittauer of KW Selections Mittelbach Zweigelt Rose 2009, Anton Bauer Gmörk Grüner Veltliner 2009, Tegernseerhof T 26 Grüner Veltliner Federspeiel 2009, Anton Bauer Rosenberg Reserve Grüner Veltliner 2008 , Tegernseerhof Grüner Veltliner Loibenberg 2008, Anton Bauer Wagram Pinot Noir 2006, Hillinger Zweigelt 2009, Hillinger Blaufrankisch 2008 and Hillinger Hillside 2007.
Wittauer, owner of KW Selections, has been importing Austrian wines for over ten years focusing on boutique wineries with a small about of press coverage, but also make top quality wines at an excellent price. Wittauer follows the philosophy that Austrian wines must be introduced to the general American wine drinker at a low price for every day drinking and by the glass selection. Three of KW Selections wines were recently reviewed by the Washington Post. Check it out here.
Wines were also contributed by Monika Caha Selections/Frederick Wildman and Sons, LTD Anne Micic Viducic of Aroma Wine Consulting and Monika Caha Selections poured Weninger Blaufraenkisch Hochaecker 2008, Neumeister Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Anita & Hans Nittnaus Comondor 2004, Stadlmann Zierfandler Mandelhoeh 2008, Graf Hardegg Riesling vom Schloss 2008, Fritsch Pinot Noir P 2004 and Forstreiter Gruener Veltliner Schiefer 2008. Monika Caha Selections focuses on small, family owned wineries that follow organic farming practices even though many are not certified.
An array of Gemischter Satz wines were contributed by Darcy and Huber Selections and Winebow Wines and poured by Paul Darcy. Darcy and Huber Selections focuses on the Vienna region of Austria spear heading their efforts with Austria's field blend, Gemischter Satz. From his portfolio Darcy poured Ambrositsch Gemischter Satz Sommeregg 2008, Christ Bisamberg Alte Reben 2008, Christ Wiener Gemischter Satz 2008, Cobenzl Wiener Satz Classic 2009, Edlmoser Gemischter Satz 2008, Edlmoser Maurerberg Gemischter Satz 2008, Hajszan Gemischter Satz Weissleiten 2008, Rotes Haus Gemischter Satz Nussberg Classic 2009, Rotes Haus Gemischter Satz Nussberg Reserve 2007, Zahel Gemischter Satz 2008, Zahel Nussberg Gemischter Satz Grand Reserve 2007, Zahel Sekt Gemischter Satz and Zahel Schonbrunn Gemischter Satz 2008. From Winebow's portfolio Darcy poured the Wieninger Gemischter Satz 2008 and Wieninger Nussberg Alte Reben 2008.
The event was well attended by bloggers, press and industry folk who enjoyed the walk-around cocktail party that ensued from 4-7.
Gabriella and Ryan Opaz are now headed to Seattle for the second round of the EWBC kick off event before the USWBC that is being held in Walla Walla later this week.
A short video highlighting Catavino's efforts with social media can be viewed here. This video was recorded and produced by Zev Robinson.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
How good are you at identifying Austrian wine varietals? Below you'll find the flavor profiles for four grapes grown in Austria - take a guess! (hint: two are international varieties!)
Think you got it? Leave a comment below with your answer - make sure you include your email address! Correctly identifying all four will earn you a chance to win the Austrian Wine Genesis book, retailed at $90.
The contest will run until July 21st. You will be alerted by email if you've won at that time.
**Special thanks to Weingut Fritsch for providing us with these photos.**
Brand Action Team employees are not allowed to enter.
4lb Pork Belly
1lb Pork Fat
2 TSP fresh Thyme
4 Cups Water
1 Cup Salt
Put pork belly in oven dish and cover totally with brine for 24hrs in the refrigerator.
After 24hrs empty leftover water and cover pork belly entirely with pork fat and spices. Bake for 3-4 hrs in the oven at 225F till soft.
Cut soft pork belly in squares and grill on the BBQ till perfection.
1/2 lb Small Chanterelle
2 TSP Butter
Wash, dry and cut Chanterelles thin slices. Put butter in a frying pan, add chanterelles and a little salt, and sauté till soft.
Baby Heirloom Tomato
1/2 lb Baby Heirloom Tomato
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Sugar
1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup of sliced Lovage
Fresh crushed Black Pepper
4 cups water
Wash and cut Heirloom Tomatoes in halves. Mix together spices, water and vinegar, combine with the tomatoes and refrigerate for 48 hrs.
250 ml Gegenbauer P.X. Noble Sauer (available at specialty food shops or Food Emporium in NYC)
5 pieces of Gelatins
1 Cup Water
Put Gelatin in a pot with water and vinegar, stir and bring to boil. Set aside and let cool until it turns into a thick paste. Once cool mix paste until liquefied again and serve with tomatoes, chanterelles and pork belly on the side.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
**Winemonger is owned by Stephan Schindler and Emily Weissman, James Wright is the Regional Manager for the East Coast
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thank you to Finkus Bripp of Winesontherocks.com for this fabulous interview.. part one of many :)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Although Carnuntum is a lesser known wine region of Austria, there is a plethora of quality wine coming from the fine vineyards located there. Carnuntum is one of Austria's smallest wine regions, making up only 2% of the wine growing area with 1000 hectares under vine.
A short drive from Vienna, Carnuntum is a part of Austria with a unique Roman history and many ruins are still present throughout the region today. The region spans from east of Vienna to the border of Slovakia with vineyards spread along the famous Danube river among three sectors: the Leithagebirge, the Arbesthaler Hügelland and the Hainburger Berge.
The Leithagebirge: Rich in clay, gravel and chalk. Oriented toward the west, vines are shielded from the heat and humidity by the forests located here which account for the fresh and fruity wines produced in this area.
Arbesthaler Hügelland: The soils in this sector vary as the higher portions of the hill consist of gravel soils, while lower portions consist of clay soils. Very aromatic, well-ripened grapes, that ultimately turn in to fruit-intensive white wines and velvety reds, exist in this sector as the influence from Lake Neusiedl, the Danube and neighboring forests create an ideal climate.
Hainburger Berge: Soils consist of mica-slate and granite-gneiss, along with elements of chalk. This area is a nature reserve due to some rare plant life that live in the area. Vines are planted in the south and southeast oriented slopes and have a poor soil structure and low rainfall. As a result, this is a late-ripening area of Carnuntum.
Typical wines produced in Carnuntum are sexy red wines of a combination of fruit and elegance made from Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Cabernet Sauvignon and structured examples of white wines made from Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay.
History: Carnuntum was under Roman rule until roughly 430 A.D. Evidence shows that wine has been produced in the region for thousands of years, though it is impossible to say which varietals were originally produced.
Carnuntum's wine making culture has drastically changed in the past 100 years. Originally, most of the wine producers in the area were farmers that also grew a variety of other produce. The region was best known for it's white wines that dominated production at nearly 85% which now is closer to 60-40% predominantly whites. To grow the grapes, most vintners used a stake training method for the vines and most varietals were not kept separate from each other. This resulted in many Gemischter Satz wines in the region.
Carnuntum's wine culture was all but destroyed by WWII which made a complete overhaul of the region necessary. Though the region generally stayed out the limelight through the restructuring of Austrian wine culture that took place in the 1990s, Carnuntum underwent and quality and image transformation when Austrian red varietal sales rose in 2000. A combination of fresh, young winemakers, ideal soils and unbeatable climate helped the region emerge among the larger wine producing areas.
To set itself apart from other wine making regions in Austria, Carnuntum created their own system of labeling.
Primus Carnuntum: White, kabinett wine produced mainly from the region's Grüner Veltliner grapes blended with other coveted varieties. The wine must be made from at least 200 kilos of grapes with a must weight of 16º KMW. These wines are labeled from all wineries with a uniform label featuring painter Gottfried Lav Wurm and are annually christened by notable personalities at a special ceremony before release.
Rubin Carnuntum: A red wine that can only be made of Zweigelt or Blaufränkisch that reflect the region's typical character. These wines must be of a single variety. The wines mininum must weight is 18º KMW and they must have an abv of 12.5% or higher in order to ensure aging potential. To ensure recognition, each Rubin Carnuntum wine is bottled with the same back label text and totes the Heidentor (Heather's gate, Roman archway) logo on its capsule.
Carnuntum Reserve: These wines follow the Austrian wine law for reserve wines. Wines labeled under this name must have a minimum of 13%abv, must be made of a registered grape variety and may not be bottled before November of the following year (min. 13 months of maturation.)
In short, though Carnuntum is a small wine producing area of Austria it has a very large character. From it's historical roots to modern day wine making, Carnuntum is a region not to be missed.
After the master class, several VieVinum attendees headed over the VieVinum Cup and following dinner of Vienna Whites and Lower Austrian Reds, but a couple of my new found companions and I opted to take advantage of one of the separate programs taking place that evening: dinner in the Roman ruins of the Carnuntum wine region featuring traditional Roman cuisine and an array of Zweigelt. Truth be told, I wish it had been possible to attend both - but that just wasn't possible!
The event was hosted by Wine & Partners of Austria who picked up a small group of us, twelve or so, in the city center of Vienna and whisked us away to the vineyards of Carnuntum. Our first stop was the Glatzer winery which was set up to showcase the wines of the region. Present were:
Weingut Walter Glatzer - Zweigelt 2008; Grüner Veltliner 2009
Weingut Gerhard Markowitsch -Zwiegelt 2008; Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2009
Weingut Robert Payr - Zwiegelt 2008; Grüner Veltliner Rothenberg 2008
Weingut Gerhard Pimpel - Zwiegelt 2008; Chardonnay 2009
Weingut Franz & Christine Netzl - Zwiegelt 2008; Weissburgunder Selection Barnreiser 2009
Weingut Lukas Markowitsch -Zweigelt 2008; Savignon Blanc 2009
Weingut Johannes Trapl - Rubin Carnuntum Zweigelt 2009
Weingut Franz Taferner - Rubin Carnuntum Zweigelt 2009
Weingut Stefan Ott -Zweigelt 2008
Family Grassl, Nepomukhof - Zweigelt 2008
Family Artner - Zweigelt 2008
After tasting through and a brief introduction to the region we traveled to the town of Carnuntum which hosts the preserved sit of Roman ruins. Our tour guide explained to us that everything we saw there was as close to real as it possibly could be... the coolest part? We could touch everything! The other cool part? Our dinner was actually held in one of the houses that had been preserved and reconstructed. How many people can say they've wined & dined IN ancient ruins?
To begin the dinner, we met outside of the ruins and were served a traditional, mead style beverage of white wine infused with honey paired with a hearty oat bread. Once we shuffled inside to take our places, we found many of the winemakers waiting for us to join them at dinner. The dinner consisted for four courses and each course was paired with three wines.
Ham with a crust of honey served with a wax-creamy egg and a pine nut & lovage sauce
Grüner Veltliner Arbesthal 2009 - Stefan Ott
Grüner Veltliner Selection 2009 - Neopmukhof Grassl
Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2008 - Hannes Trapl
Carnuntum green asparagus with mint
Rubin Carnuntum 2008 Zweigelt - Walter Glatzer
Rubin Carnuntum 2008 Zweigelt - Gerhard Markowitsch
Spitzerber 2007 Blaufränkisch - Robert Payr
Braised lamb served with "Liquamen" and dried plums
Zweigelt Selection 2007 - Gerhard Pimpel
Cuvee Lukas 2007 - Lukas Markowitsch
Anna-Christina 2007 - Franz & Christine Netzl
"Globuli-Topfenknödel" served with strawberry salad
Sauvignon Blanc 2009 sample of the barrel - Family Artner
Gelber Muskateller 2009 - Franz Taferner
After the dinner we met back outside to taste through more wines and share a closing cigar before being carted off to Vienna again (which ultimately ended in a trip to the famous Wien & Co.
It was really interesting to experience the wine region in such a manner - however touristy it may have actually been. Carnuntum is a lesser- known region of Austria, but is really producing some great wines with a focus on the reds. For more information on Carnuntum, check here.