Monday, January 25, 2010

Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner Wienviertel DAC Haidviertel

Today my coworker and I embarked on a delicious Grüner Veltliner from Austria to lift our spirits and distract us from the miserable, rainy afternoon outside. We decided upon the Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner Wienviertel DAC Haidviertel.

Our style preferences differ from one another, he prefers a much lighter, fruity style and the tanginess of Grüner is what really gets me. On that note, this Grüner was made for me.

A heavier weight than some Grüner's in the mouth, there are intricate flavors of minerals, light floral and green apple as well as unripe pear and even a hint of orange. The characteristic white pepper is present giving the wine an extra, spicy bite at the finish.

Considering I was already having Halibut, steamed asparagus and brown rice for dinner, I figure it was only fair I'm the one who gets to take this wine home as a Monday evening treat. I trust my roommate will be pleased as well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blaufränkisch like you've never seen it!

Friday afternoon, Austrian insiders, wine bloggers, media and friends gathered at the Austrian Wine Cultural Forum in NYC for an intimate tasting of the effects of terroir on Blaufränkisch, an Austrian red grape known for dark berries, herbal spices and medium tannins.

The event was very informal but featured wines of: Dorli Muhr, Sylvia Prieler, Paul Achs, Uwe Schiefer, Josef Umathum, Roland Velich from Moric & David Scildknecht. Several of the winemakers were in attendance so it was an incredible learning experience.

The majority of the grapes had been grown in two soil types: clay soil, which we found to be tannic and sturdy and limestone that was lighter, fruitier and more refreshing. It was hard to choose which style we liked better!

The event was hosted by James Wright and Stephan Sciendler of Winemonger but the intent Friday afternoon was not to sell wine. Instead wines from several different importers were gathered for the greater good of increasing the knowledge of indigenous, Austrian grapes that are just now reaching the attention level they deserve.

As a reference point, Blaufränkisch follows an old world style of wine making, very much drawing off of the terroir of their respected regions and taking on earthy notes of the soil. While good in their youth, some age will help meld the complex flavors of the wine together that create a softer mouth feel but with the same structure.

Blaufränkisch is a force to be reckoned with. Do not be surprised to see it at a local retailer near you soon!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Grüner Veltliner: From Austria to Oregon

Thursday afternoon was a typical afternoon in the office except for the arrival of a much anticipated bottle of Grüner Veltliner. What made this Grüner Veltliner particularly interesting was the fact that it was not from the expected country of Austria, but instead was from somewhere much more domestic: Willamette Valley, Oregon.

The wine: Daedalus Cellars Grüner Veltliner 2008 versus the Rudi Pichler Grüner Veltliner 2007 from the Wachau, Austria.

It must be said that both wines were incredibly tasty, but as this was a taste-test comparison, one must be deemed better than the other. We began with the Austrian Grüner Veltliner to use as a reference point for those less familiar with the varietal in the office.

The Rudi Pichler, Grüner Veltliner was a very elegant wine, with intense fruit aromas and incredibly balance. The wine has impressive length and proper integration of fruit, spiced white pepper and green apple notes. For more reference, there was a heated discussion with regard to who would be allowed to bring the wine home for further consumption that evening. This wine ranges between $20-$40/ bottle according to online retail sites, but we declared that this was a fair price point for a wine of such quality.

Next, we tasted the Daedalus Cellars GrüVee. I had neither reservations nor expectations for the wine as I have never had a Gruner Veltliner from any place other than Austria. At first nose, we found the wine to be fairly aromatic, but compared with the Pichler, we determined the nose was light for a Grüner Veltliner. On the palate, we discovered the same. While the characteristic citrus and green apple were present, the spicy white pepper also common to Grüner Veltliner did not seem to jump out at us as it has in other Grüner Veltliner wines. We found the Daedalus Cellars Grüner to be pleasant and light, perfect for drinking on its own. This wine retails for $21/bottle (I purchased it off of the winery website.)

All in all, we unanimously decided we liked the Pichler more than the Daedalus Cellars. Perhaps our palates are skewed from drinking so many Austrian Grüner Veltliners or perhaps we are biased because we know what Grüner Veltliner is supposed to taste like (think the French with Cabernet Sauvignon...) On the other hand, that's the beauty of Grüner: it is entirely versatile.

I'm happy to see Grüner Veltliner is becoming avaliable from other parts of the world - after all, that's a sign it's making it in the wine world, right?... every varietal has the potential to be the next Chardonnay.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

LOIS Grüner Veltliner

The LOIS Grüner Veltliner is a perfect example of the native Austrian grape: Grüner Veltliner.
A spicy, white pepper nose with intense green apple fruit and citrus backbone. Incredible length and balance with fresh acidity that can be enjoyed on its own or with food.

We tasted this wine in the office, but it is evident it would have gone well with the spicy Asian cuisine and asparagus sushi rolls we had for lunch earlier in the day.

Absolutely perfect for drinking on a sunny day, no matter what the temperature!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wine Review: Pffaffl St. Laurent Altenberg

St. Laurent may be my favorite Austrian red varietal. It's in the same family as Pinot Noir and as a result, has many of the same characteristics that dazzle my palate time after time.

The Pfaffl Altenberg St. Laurent was a perfect example of this. Light vanilla flavors with deep blackberries & black cherries. On the palate, a hint of smoke layered with the black fruits, soft tannins and an excellent finish that leaves you aching for another sip.

The Pfaffl Altenberg St. Laurent is great for simply sipping by the fire, as I did on Saturday night (while watching the Cowboys beat the Eagles...) or can be paired with roasted duck and hard cheeses.

Definitely an A+ wine!