Posts Tagged ‘Burgenland’

Austrian Pet-Nat for the Summer

The 2018 Meinklang, Frizzante Rose, Austria is a perfect selection for the summer.  It is floral, fruity, and creamy with bubbles.  It is quite flavorful yet low in alcohol so you can drink a few glasses without effect.  The price point is reasonable allowing you to grab a few bottles for the upcoming hot weekend in DC.  I see that I am behind in my notes.  John first recommended this wine to me back in the Spring so I have gone through a few bottles since.  Fortunately, it is still on the shelves at MacArthur Beverages.


2018 Meinklang, Frizzante Rose, Austria – $18
A Zev Rovine Selection imported by Fruit of the Vines.  This is a blend of Blaufrankish, Zweigelt, and St Laurent.  Alcohol 10.5%.  A medium, rose petal color.  Hints of ripeness then a very lively burst of floral fruit before sweeter bubbles dissipate in a creamy, gentle finish.  *** Now.

Kakfrankos from Peter Wetzer

February 27, 2019 Leave a comment

I find it hard to believe I last tasted the wines of Peter Wetzer of Hungary nearly seven years ago.  At the time, I tasted the 2009 Kekfrankos or Blaufrankisch.  John (MacArthur Beverages) just brought in two newer vintages of Kekfrankos.  The 2012 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Spern Steiner Sopron is from the top Spern Steiner area.  It reveals a bit more age in color but in the mouth the core of fruit is still developing complexity while maintaining a fresh, citric grip.  There is fine density to it.  Even more fresh and crisp is the 2015 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Beldes Sopron.  This reveals more fruit weight yet keeps a zippy edge throughout.  While I have a slight preference for the 2012, I it is more interesting to taste the two vintages side by side.

2012 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Spern Steiner Sopron – $25
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Kekfrankos fermented in open vats then aged on the lees in used barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  The cherry, garnet color reflects the bottle age.  A fine nose of black pepper and herbaceous hints.  In the mouth are rounded flavors with some density to them.  There is some complexity surrounding the core of berry fruit which is carried by watering acidity.  With air, this dry wine develops hard flavors of cherry and strawberry.  The structure leaves citric grip on the gums.  *** Now – 2024.

2015 Peter Wetzer, Kekfrankos Beldes Sopron – $25
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.Alcohol 13.5%.  A cranberry, grapey color.  In the mouth this is a lively wine, almost with spritz on the tongue, which matches the tart, red flavors and fine grapey tannins.  It has youthful heft.  With air the zippy edge remains, perhaps more of a citric edge, red and black fruits come into focus along with ground stones.  Fresh.  **(*) Now – 2023.

A good pair from Erich Sattler

February 13, 2019 Leave a comment

I returned to MacArthur Beverages to pick up more 2017 Erich Sattler, Zwiegelt, Burgenland.  Both Jenn and I really enjoyed a bottle drunk mid week.  It is a satisfying, easy to drink wine with a good balance between green lightness and ripeness.  Sadly, there was none left in the store so I picked up the 2015 Erich Sattler, St. Laurent, Burgenland instead.  I was a bit underwhelmed at first for it does not have the tension of the Zwiegelt.  A bit reduced at first but with air it came into focus with the saline qualities balancing the tart fruit.  Well-done.

2017 Erich Sattler, Zwiegelt, Burgenland – ~$20
A Terry Theise Estate Selection imported by Skurnik Wines.  Alcohol 13%.  Bright with hints of green herbaceousness that provide attractive contrast to the ripeness.  There is watering acidity but also tension between the acidity and flavors.  This is an easy to drink, complete wine for the near term.  There is even a hint of fat.  *** Now – 2020.

2015 Erich Sattler, St. Laurent, Burgenland – ~$19
A Terry Theise Estate Selection imported by Skurnik Wines.  Alcohol 13%.  Salty flavors of modestly ripe fruit exhibit a cool tilt.  The wine has rounded edges and watering acidity.  At first the focus is on somewhat tart mulberry flavors but with air, the wine comes into focus.  It improves after an hour or two taking on dry leather, stones, and becoming more saline in the end.  *** Now – 2022.

A pair of 2014 Blaufrankisch from Burgenland

The 2014 vintage in Austria was difficult and short but the robust and thick-skinned Blaufrankisch fared reasonably well.  This weekend Jenn and I tried a pair of Blaufrankisch from Burgenland.  The 2014 Prieler, Blaufrankisch, Johanneshohe, Burgenland is our favorite of the two.  An exuberant start brings dark fruit and with air, the wine shows good length.  This vintage resulted in the addition of declassified high-quality fruit for this wine and it makes this a good value.  The 2014 Steindorfer, Blaufrankisch Selection, Burgenland seems to be in an awkward phase.  The flavors are firm and austere but there is an attractive density and persistent coating of fat. I preferred it on the second night and suggest you hold off on drinking this until the next winter.  These two wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Prieler, Blaufrankisch, Johanneshohe, Burgenland – $17
Imported by Skurnik Wines.  Alcohol 12%.  Very ripe and generous with fruit aromas.  In the mouth are dark, ripe red and black fruit flavors with a touch of lively acidity to keep it in balance.  In fact, the start is almost exuberant.  The dark fruit has a hint of wood/stem structure and with air the wine lengthens out.  *** Now – 2020.

2014 Steindorfer, Blaufrankisch Selection, Burgenland – $17
Imported by Select Wines.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch vinified in stainless steel then aged for 10 months in used barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  This is tart and clearly the more structured of the two wines.  The flavors lean towards the red spectrum but there is a surprising amount of density and fat.  With air the wine remains firm but takes on a roundness from the fat.  The flavors are of black fruit, graphite, and black pepper which I find appealing.  Though austere, it has a good finish.  In need of short-term aging.  **(*) 2019-2023.

Three Austrian wines from the back corner

January 21, 2016 1 comment

The Austrian red wine section is located in the bottom, back right corner of MacArthur Beverages.  There I found the 2011 Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee which is still on the shelves since I first tasted it two years ago.  Though a shame this wine has not yet sold out, it was a boon for me.  I found the wine has improved with bottle age, readily offering dark fruit, a touch of herbaceousness, and stones.  Moving from a blend to a single variety is the 2012 Paul Achs, Zweigelt, Burgenland.  The musky nose engages followed by tart and puckering flavors. Finally, the 2013 Gernot Heinrich, Blaufrankisch, Burgenland offers the roundest and most fruit driven flavors of all three.  Though attractive now you might be tempted to cellar it for another year.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee – $15
Imported by KW Selection.  This wine is a blend of 40% Zweigelt, 40% Blaufrankisch, and 20% Merlot.Alcohol 13.5%. Though smelling of dark fruit the nose remains fresh and scented.  In the mouth the ripe, puckering flavors exhibit some density.  The wine remains fresh with integrated acidity throughout.  The dark, ripe, black fruit mixes with a greenhouse note before the herbs, sage, and dry stone mixed finish.  *** Now – 2018.


2012 Paul Achs, Zweigelt, Burgenland – $19
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Zweigelt which was fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged for seven months in large, French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  A hint of butter makes way to musky, wafting aromas with hints of pencil.  In the mouth the bright black and red fruit is slightly tart and puckering.  With air it shows vintage perfume and a lipsticky greenhouse vein before a little ripeness comes out in the finish.  ** Now – 2017.


2013 Gernot Heinrich, Blaufrankisch, Burgenland – $22
Imported by Winebow.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts in both oak vats and stainless steel tanks followed by 13 months of aging in large French and Austrian oak casks.Alcohol 12.5%.  The rounder flavors of blue and black fruit does not have the herbaceousness of other wines.  There is a touch of oak to the weighty flavors along with integrated, salivating acidity.  This good, youthful wine might even evolve over the short-term due to fine and ripe tannins.  *** Now – 2018.


“Sturdy and Deep-Flavored”: Wines from our Thanksgiving weekend

November 30, 2015 Leave a comment

For the past several years I have taken the effort to drink American wine for the Thanksgiving holiday.  While I largely kept to that theme this year, I did kick things off with a bottle of Spanish Cava.  I did so because the earliest Thanksgiving memories of my mother are from Spain.  She spent her childhood in Zaragoza where the family was sure to celebrate Thanksgiving.  They used imported American ingredients to prepare the classic dishes of turkey with gravy, potatoes, green beans, and of course, many, many pies.  They did, however, drink Spanish wine with their meal.  Our Spanish bottle of 2010 Recaredo, Intens, Rosat Brut Nature Gran Reserva took several hours to open up.  While it does require a few more years in the cellar, it eventually revealed attractive hard cherry flavors with just the right amount of texture.


2010 Recaredo, Intens, Rosat Brut Nature Gran Reserva
Imported by Neal Rosenthal. This wine is a blend of 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Monastrell. Alcohol 12%.  After a few hours of air, the firm but quickly dissipating bubble made way to dry flavors of hard cherry and cola.  Quite different and certainly rather in need of age, things wrapped up with a textured finish and just a hint of yeast.  **(*) 2018-2025.

I tend to rely on red wine for Thanksgiving and this weekend I tasted through some mature reds.  Lou and I picked up a number of bottles from the Earthquake Cellar which was recently sold off by BP Wine.  The NV Sebastiani, Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 271, North Coast Counties bears no date but the fact that this magnum is in a 2/5 gallon bottle dates the wine to the 1970s at the latest.  I personally believe the wine is from the 1960s for several reasons which places it during a period of fascinating change as detailed in History of Sebastiani Vineyards, 1955-Present.

At the beginning of the 1960s, Sebastiani was a bulk wine operation that produced wine solely for other labels.  Some 90% of this wine was dessert wine such as port, sherry, muscatel, and tokay.  By the early 1970s the transition to selling table wine bottled under the Sebastiani name was completed.  The bulk operation was no more.

The impetus for change developed in the mid 1950s under the control of August Sebastiani.  At the time, the Allied Grape Growers/Petri Group were going to start bottling their own wine at facilities throughout the country.  Gallo, in response, decided to bottle their wine in lightweight bottles so they could ship it across the country.  These two actions put direct competition on Sebastiani which had no choice but to change.  There is also the story that August Sebastiani’s wife Sylvia tasted a “really, really, really good cream sherry” which turned out to be a wine produced by Sebastiani for another label.  Why not bottle such good wine under their own name?

The Sebastiani brand was developed in the 1950s and a very basic bottling machine known as a Fillabelmatic was purchased.  However, the transition away from bulk wine production did not begin in earnest until around 1960.  Throughout the 1960s dessert wines were still produced but various tiers of wines were developed including table and varietal wines.  The varietal wines were not only bottled in 4/5 quart bottles but also in half gallon bottles and apparently magnum bottles.

Our particular bottle of Sebastiani wine clearly predates the conversion to metric wine bottles.  This requirement was passed in 1977 and went into effect in 1979. The basic Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon label from our bottle was used during the 1960s and 1970s.  Bearing the common theme of “Sturdy and Deep-Flavored” this label was used for both non-vintage and vintages wines.  Vintages wines such as 1963 Sebastiani, Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 9, 1968 Sebastiani, Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1970 Sebastiani, Cabernet Sauvignon, Proprietor’s Reserve all list “North Coast Counties” with a winery location of “Sonoma Valley, California”.  The 1972 Mountain Burgundy, 1973 Barbera, and 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon, Proprietor’s Reserve that was bottled in 1979, all bear “Northern California” as well as the zip code 95476.  This suggests that the non-vintage blend could be from the period of 1963 through 1971.

The cork was solid and the wine itself in sturdy enough shape that it drank fine over three evenings.  It was rather stinky and animale at first but it did clean up.  The fruit was sweet with rounded flavors and no hint of French or American oak.  Instead this time-machine of a wine transported us back to the days of redwood.  The images it conjured might have outpaced the quality of the wine but it was enough to last a glass or two.

As for the other wines, the 1991 Knudsen Erath, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley slowly responded to air over the course of an evening.  With cherry and wood box flavors it only gave the slightest hint it would not develop any further.  By contrast the 1996 Newton, Unfiltered Pinot Noir, Napa Valley was forward on the nose and in the mouth with plenty of fruit and glycerin.  While clearly modern, it was not a bad drink at all, and in surprisingly strong shape.  The 1999 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Chateauneuf du Pape was in great shape, offering everything you could want from a somewhat rustic Rhone wine which has not yet hit full maturity.


NV Sebastiani Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 271, North Coast Counties (2/5 gallon)
Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was quite earthy at first with animal fur aromas.  Over time the stink faded off to reveal sweet fruit and wood box flavors in the mouth.  The wine softened a touch revealing rounded flavors and gentle old wood that lasted over the next few days.  ** Now but will last for many years.


1991 Knudsen Erath, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed gentle aromas of earth, cherry, and tobacco.  In the mouth the firm cherry flavors matched the polished wood notes.  This slightly savory wine still sported a rather fine structure.  The flavors thinned out some by the finish where there were some cola-like flavors, watering acidity, and roasted earth.  *** Now but will last.


1996 Newton, Unfiltered Pinot Noir, Napa Valley
Alcohol 14.5%.  The wine was immediately aromatic with round fruit and wood box.  In the mouth the flavors were forward with round black fruit that was almost thick with glycerin.  With air this modern wine showed more minerals, blackness, and some nearly resolved tannins.  ** Now – 2020.


1999 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Ginday Imports.  Alcohol 14%.  This wine had a good core of red and black fruit and a pleasing amount of structure that leant towards the not quite rustic personality.  Clearly a good wine in shape for continued development.  *** Now -2022.

There was also a pair of dessert wines.  From the lightest of a group, the bottle of 1988 Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes was youthful, fresh, and rather unevolved which meant it did not tire the palate at all.  A brief taste of the 2007 Velich Apetlon, Seewinkel Beerenauslese, Burgenland already reveals an interesting amount of complexity.  It is noticeably richer and thicker so think of it more as a sipping wine to wrap things up.


1988 Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes
Imported by Luke’s Distribution Co.  Alcohol 14%.  In fine condition, this wine brighter, floral and yellow fruit aromas.  In the mouth the youthful, floral and orange citrus accented fruit has an appealing level of viscosity.  The level of acidity keeps things fresh and slightly watering through the saline marked finish.  I would cellar this further.   *** Now – 2035.


2007 Velich Apetlon, Seewinkel Beerenauslese, Burgenland
This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Scheurebe, and Riesling that was fermented and aged in oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Already a deep color , aromas of petrol with both fresh and dried apricots step out of the glass. With air hints of black tea develop.  In the mouth, this is a thick wine with viscosity that is noticeable in the finish and aftertaste.  ***(*) Now – 2035.

Austrian Wine – Diversity in Red


I was fortunate to attend the Austrian Red Wine seminar presented by Wein Burgenland at Cork Tasting Room in Washington, DC this past October.    The event was organized by Stephanie Artner, Austrian Trade Commission, and Constance Chamberlain, Wine & Co.  Christian Zechmeister, Managing Director of Wein Burgenland, led us through the formal part of the tasting of which I was able to taste the Blaufrankisch, St. Laurent, and Burgenland Blends flights.  My published tasting notes are only peppered with red wines from Austria so to taste 17 wines and like so many of them, made for a memorable experience.  My favorite wines included both those with more mineral and fruitier natures.  I was certainly not surprised to prefer those with less obvious oak influences but was surprised by enjoying the small inclusion of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  All of these wines should be available in the Washington, DC area so be sure to ask for those which sound appealing.


Blaufrankisch Flight

This was an interesting start for me.  The 2009 Prieler, Leithaberg is on the other side of the lake from the 2010 Paul Achs, Blaufrankisch Edelgrund.  Thus the slate soils of the Prieler clearly came through in the wine.  The 2009 Weninger, Blaufrankisch Hochacker is from fruit located on heavy loam soils with plenty of nutrients and water absorbing capability.  The mountains are high enough to keep the cold air away.  Perhaps this made it a mouthfilling wine.  The 2009 Jalits, Eisenberg Reserve, Eisenberg is from fruit located on the red soils of Eisenberg.  This 500 ha area has heavy loam soils with a high iron content.  I believe this is revealed in the mineral flavor and structure of the wine.


2010 Paul Achs, Blaufrankisch Edelgrund, Burgenland – $35
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There was a gentle nose of ripe, sweet, perfume.  In the mouth were firm black and red fruit flavors, a hint of pepper, and integrated lively acidity.  It had a lighter body with pepper and a greenhouse note.  Brighter.


2009 Prieler, Leithaberg – $58
Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch which was aged 20 months in large barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.    There was black fruit and a hint of smoke on the nose.  In the mouth were more flavors of black fruit, minerals, and a creamy feel.  This was nicely put together with more minerals in the aftertaste.  Nice.


2009 Weninger, Blaufrankisch Hochacker, Mittelburgenland – $28
Imported by Circo Vino.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch which was aged 16 months in large barrels.  Imported by Circo Vino.  In the mouth there were sweet spices at first followed by black fruit.  The wine had a slight texture and was more mouthfilling.  The fruit was slight tart compared to the riper fruit on the nose.  There were grapey tannins in the finish.


2009 Jalits, Eisenberg Reserve, Eisenberg, Burgenland – $30
Imported by Wittauer c/o Select Wines.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch which was aged 12 months in small barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a more subtle nose.  In the mouth were red fruit, a touch fruiter than others, with black mineral flavors that mixed well with the tannins.  This showed more structure and grip.  It should evolve well.

St. Laurent Flight

St. Laurent produces low yields and is hard to grow.  The 2010 Pittnauer, St. Laurent Rosenberg is sourced from sandy soils and produced a light wine.  The 2011 Steindorfer, St. Laurent Reserve is produced using fruit from the same area but is a more modern style.  I think that should appeal broadly but for my preference I would cellar it so the oak is absorbed.  The Pinot Noir pair was interesting.  The 2009 Umathum, Pinot Noir Joiser Terrassen played it close with more mineral notes.  The 2009 Juris, Pinot Noir Reserve is sourced from soils of sandy loam and some limestone.  This produced a more aromatic and weightier wine that should age well.


2010 Pittnauer, St. Laurent Rosenberg, Burgenland – $55
Imported by Magellan Wine Imports and Savio Soares Selections.  This wine is 100% St. Laurent.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was more vegetal with black fruit and vintage perfume.  In the mouth the tart red fruit is quite filling.  There was moderately ripe cherry fruit, tangy on the tongue tip, moderate structure, and tart to almost-puckering acidity.  The tannins were a little more obvious.


2011 Steindorfer, St. Laurent Reserve, Burgenland – $30
Imported by Wittauer c/o Select Wines.  This wine is 100% St. Laurent which was aged for 14 months in barrique.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This had a richer nose of dark red berries.  There was richer, bigger flavors with minerals and racy grip. The wine turned bluer with a vanilla sweet note in the finish. There was very well balanced with obvious oak influence.  This was very approachable but should age well.  The acidity was less overt.


2009 Umathum, Pinot Noir Joiser Terrassen, Burgenland – $45
Imported by Winemonger.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a more subtle nose.  In the mouth were flavors of tart, black fruit.  The wine had concentration and picked up grip towards the finish.  This was finely made with finesse but it plays it close right now.  There were minerals towards the finish with a sweet mixture of minerals and spices in the finish.


2009 Juris, Pinot Noir Reserve, Burgenland – $46
Imported by Blue Danube Wine Company.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was lifted with ripe red and blue berries, perhaps a touch of smoke.  In the mouth there was a ripe start then sweet-tart flavors came out with tang in the finish.  There was a drying structure.  The dense blue and black fruit built weight and concentration.  This should age well.

Burgenland Blends Flight

This was a fun flight.  The first two wines were a blend of indigenous varieties with the third wine a blend of international varieties.  The 2008 Gesellmann, Op Eximium proved to be a well priced example showing attractive bottle-aged flavors.  From the same vintage the 2008 Gernot Heinrich, Pannobile showed younger berry fruit.  The 2009 Leo Hillinger, Hill 1 incorporates both Syrah and Merlot.  The later of which might seem surprising but there are sandy soils near the lake not unlike St. Emilion in Bordeaux.


2008 Gesellmann, Op Eximium, Burgenland – $27
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of Blaufrankisch, St. Laurent, and Zweigelt.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a little wood box on the nose with red fruit, sweet spices, and a spearmint hint.  This was mouthfilling with sweet wood box making it taste of some bottle age.  There was a fine grained texture with black fruit in the finish.  Then the wine turned redder with a fresh aftertaste.  Acidity is there.  A good, solid wine.


2008 Gernot Heinrich, Pannobile, Burgenland – $55
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 63% Zweigelt, 35% Blaufrankisch, and 2% St. Laurent.  Alcohol 13%.  There was younger fruit on the nose with red aromas, and an underlying dark note.  In the mouth the wine was a bit sappy with red fruit that mixed with complex flavors.  The mixed red berries were slightly ripe, with some tartness coming through.  There were ripe tannins.


2009 Leo Hillinger, Hill 1, Burgenland – $65
Imported by Wittauer c/o Select Wines. This wine is a blend of 40% Zweigelt, 20% Blaufrankisch, 20% Syrah, and 10% Merlot.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a dense nose of meaty, red and black fruit.  In the mouth were grapey fruit flavors with a little spearmint.  The wine slowly filled the mouth with more tannins and grip in the finish.  There was some roundness which matched the ripe tannins which was a little spicy.  This is set up for age.

Wine Bar Flight


After the seminar we all mingled and were free to taste from the wine bar.  As I had to leave I quickly tasted through the majority of the wines.  The 2009 Matthias Peck by Scheiblhofer, Zweigelt Andau proved to be a strong value.  Though four years apart in vintage the 2011 Netzl, Anna-Christina and 2007 Pockl, Rosso E Nero nicely show off the use of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.


2009 Matthias Peck by Scheiblhofer, Zweigelt Andau, Burgenland – $14
Imported by Monika Caha Selections.  This wine is 100% Zweigelt.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were cool blue and black fruit flavors, wood box, grippy ripe tannins, and concentration.  Nice.


2011 Hannes Reeh, Zweigelt Unplugged, Burgenland – $30
Imported by A. I. Selections.  This wine is 100% Zweigelt.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was redder fruit, tart flavors, and a drying structure.  The acidity was there.  There were young red and black flavors in the finish.  Needs time.


2009 Moric, Moric Reserve, Burgenland – $54
Imported by Winemonger.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch.  Alcohol 13%.  There were tart and tangy flavors of black fruit.  The tannins were unobtrusive.  The flavors became redder towards the finish.  This tastes young in terms of evolution.


2011 Netzl, Anna-Christina, –
Imported by Select Wines.  This wine is a blend of 60% Zweigelt, 20% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 14%.  There was nice concentration to the black fruit.  There was seamless integration of the acidity, fruit, and very fine grained tannins.  There was good fruit and a fine future for this wine.


2007 Pockl, Rosso E Nero – $50
Imported by Monika Caha Selection.  This wine is a blend of 50% Zweigelt, 20% Blaufrankisch, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This showed some mature aromas, cedar, and creamy fruit on the nose.  There were similar but haunting flavors in the mouth.  The red fruit integrated with the acidity.  The black mineral flavors came out before the drying tannins.  The aftertaste brought more minerals.  This is a youngful wine that should age well.  Nice.


2008 Anita & Hans Nittnaus, Pannobile – $36
Imported by Frederick Wildman & sons.  This wine is a blend of 60% Zweigelt and 40% Blaufrankisch.  Alcohol 13%.  There was tart, young fruit which was less evolved.  The red fruit mixed with acidity and a drying structure of citric tannins.

Pleasing Red Wine from Germany and Austria

I started tasting this trio of wines with a glass of the 2008 Gernot Heinrich, Zweigelt.  Jenn had picked the first wine and in pouring my glass, commented that it was good.  It was and though maturing it was in a younger state than the 2004 Gernot Heinrich, St. Laurent we recently tasted with Lou.  You may read about that wine in Tasting Austrian and Italian Wines With Lou.  It drank best on the first night when the fruit, mature notes, and acidity had good tension.  It softened out on the second night, when I would give it **, so I recommend you remove the glass stopper then share the entire bottle with friends.  The 2010 Sepp Moser, Zweigelt Hedwighof is young with more pepper notes, tannins, and dryer flavors.  I would personally recommend waiting to drink this until the New Year but the perfumed fruit and potpourri flavors are compelling now.  Having run out of Austrian wines I opened the 2007 Weingut Knipser, Gaudenz.  Wow, what a surprise!  The maturity immediately reminded me of a hypothetical Bordeaux blend.  I see no reason to hold back on this wine, just decant it for an hour or two.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2007 Weingut Knipser, Gaudenz, Pfalz – $20
Imported by Magellan Wine Imports.  This wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Dornfelder mixed with other red varietals.  It was aged in older barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  The initially sharper nose rounded out with air to reveal small red berries and mature aromas.  In the mouth there was a mixture of red cherry fruit and underlying mature flavors.  There were wood box flavors, citric red fruit, and some apparent structure.  The wine was almost like a cool Pinot Noir and Bordeaux blend.  The wine develops over a couple of air with gentle ripe flavors on the tongue and lips, along with acidity in the back of the throat.  *** Now-2016.


2008 Gernot Heinrich, Zweigelt, Burgenland – $16
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Zweigelt sourced from vines planted in 1985 at the Heideboden vineyard at 430-500 feet.  It was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation, and was aged for 6-8 months in French and Slavonian oak vats and barriques.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was a medium garnet ruby.  The light nose was of mixed red and black fruit, eventually turn towards ripe cranberry and strawberry.  Good aromas.  In the mouth there were good, focused flavors, some density which was coupled with the acidity.  The flavors were a touch tart and juicy in the finish.  The tannins were mostly resolved but there was a touch of soft structure and maybe a mature hint. Best on first night. *** Now-2014.


2010 Sepp Moser, Zweigelt Hedwighof, Neusiedlersee – $18
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Zweigelt sourced from the Hedwighof vineyard.  The fruit was destemmed then both fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Alcohol 12.5%  The nose was subtle with perfumed pepper aromas gently surrounding blue fruit.  In the mouth there were peppery red and black fruit, a little ripeness towards the front before taking on a dry nature.  Then the ripe red became a touch perfumed, moving on to potpourri flavors in the finish.  There were fine, drying tannins and young flavors in the back of the mouth.  **(*) 2014-2016.


Tasting Austrian and Italian Wines With Lou

June 18, 2013 3 comments

Lou came over last week so we could catch up and taste some wines.  He had recently been in San Francisco where he drank interesting wines from Huet, Donkey & Goat, Clos Saron, Ferret, and Broc Cellars at such places at Locals Corner and Terroir.  As attractive as his experience was we ended up having a pretty good night.  The 2004 Gernot Heinrich, St. Laurent was in fine shape.  It was showing maturity but not much complexity and was best drunk up on the first night.  The 2009 Weingut Arachon T. FX. T. Evolution was an interesting wine.  Weingut Arachon T. FX. T.  was started as a joint venture between Tibor Szemes, F.X. Pichler, and Manfred Tement.  After the passing of Tibor Szemes his widow jointed the venture.  A cooperative of twenty-five growers provide their best Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is then produced at the Arachon winery.  From both the first sniff and taste it is evident this is a serious wine meant to be aged.  I suspect the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot give it a bit of heft.  I would try this again in a few years when it might be even better.  I stared at the back of the 2010 Rosso Azzurro, A Crush on Mt. Eta, Nerello Mascalese label for sometime.  The graphics of the moon and lady bug looked familiar, even the font did.  It turns out this wine is the project of Jean-Marc of Domaine Rouge-Bleu.  There was pretty high-altitude volcanic fruit but the structure makes itself present and could use some integration.  Perhaps this will happen in a few years.  The 2007 I Custodi, Aetneus was a good wine.  I seemed to have drunk it more for enjoyment than for taking notes.  It was more athletic than the Rosso Azzurro and would work out well with food.  Lastly are the pair of wines from La Stoppa.  I recently tasted the 2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso with Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine.  I must agree with Phil that particular bottle was a bit bretty and took some work to get through.  This bottle was completely different and all about fresh and ripe red fruit.  Enjoyable and well priced.  I believe La Stoppa is a low sulphur winery so perhaps there will be some bottle variation.  The 2007 La Stoppa, Barbera Della Stoppa was the more serious of the two.  It showed more concentration and was also more rugged, perhaps the pure Barbera nature coming through.  I would stick this in the cellar and drink the Trebbiolo Rosso in the mean time.  As always Lou and I split the leftover wine making sure to inject a good dose of Private Preserve.  When I went to open a bottle of red wine for Jenn and I to actually drink she exclaimed, “Why? I really like these wines.”


2004 Gernot Heinrich, St. Laurent, Burgenland –
Imported by Vin Divino.  This wine is 100% St. Laurent sourced from 5-35 year old parcels in on high slopes at 140 meters in Gols. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts in both stainless steel and wooden vats, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for ten months in used oak barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was almost mature with a little wood aromas.  In the mouth there was a slightly tart start with red fruit and acidity on the tongue.  The wine rounded out a bit with black fruit.  Best on the first night.  ** Now-2015.


2009 Weingut Arachon T. FX. T., Evolution, Mittel Burgenland – $35-$40
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of  Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in stainless steel then aged in French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a good, assertive nose with almost floral pepper aromas and fine old perfume. The mouth follows the nose with black fruit and old perfume.  There was a firmness to the flavors which became racy towards the finish with a good aftertaste and watering acidity.  Serious.  *** Now-2020.


2010 Rosso Azzurro, A Crush on Mt. Eta, Nerello Mascalese, Sicily – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from old-vines at 600 meters. The fruit was partially destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts in open-top barrels then aged for one year in two neutral 500 liter barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose bore powdery ripe red berry fruit and eventually minerally, black and red fruit developed.  In the mouth there was a fine firm structure which builds up until the drying tannins stick to the lips.  With air a very delicate, pepper and graphite flavor comes out.  The flavors are attractive but the structure suggests it needs age to both resolve and integrate with the fruit.  There was watering acidity in the end.  **(*) Now-2018?


2007 I Custodi, Aetneus, Etna Rosso – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from 100+ year old vines at 750 meters.   The fruit is 80% destemmed then fermented in stainless steel vat before malolactic fermentation and 20 months aging in used barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a distinctly Sicilian nose of ripe aromas and perhaps mulberry.  The mouth follows the nose with a good amount of fruit.  The tannins were obvious early on but mix well with the dry flavors and minerals.  Despite my short note I did like it.  Drink with food.  *** Now-2018.


2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia IGT – $20
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda macerated on the skins for 20 days then fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel.  There was a bright nose of berry fruit and toasted spices.  The flavors were rich in the mouth with ripe cranberry and other youthful, ripe red, fresh fruit.  Well done.  With air there were gobs of fresh red young fruit to which the acidity played a supporting roll.  There was almost a grapey pulp texture.  *** Now-2015.


2007 La Stoppa, Barbera Della Stoppa, Emilia IGT – $32
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from 25-45 year old vines macerated on the skins for 30 days then fermented with indigenous yeasts.  It was aged for one year in used barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The first whiff was of almost stewed fruit but then the nose became articulate.  The articulated scent follows in the mouth with a very ethereal earthy flavor and brambly nature.  With air the wine became more pebbly with earthy fruit, a hint of Pilsner, and a fine, drying structure of tannins left on the lips.  This definitely needs age.  A ripe red raspberry flavor came out but there is more to this wine.  It was a  little rugged and yeasty in the aftertaste.  *** 2015-2023.


Three Solid Values

With the rather hot weather of the last month I have found myself drinking the less expensive wines I have recently reviewed. This has given me the opportunity to catch up on notes from earlier this summer.  The three wines featured in today’s post are all solid values which are reasonably priced.  If I had to pick one of these wines for today’s hot and humid 100 F weather then I would grab the Iby.  Decant it for one hour and give it a slight chill.  You will find it refreshing. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Domaine Mader, Riesling, Alsace – $16
Imported by Elite Wines Imports.  This wine is 100% Riesling.  Tasted over three nights the nose started off fresh and tart before developing a honeyed low-lying aroma.  In the mouth there were fresh flavors of white and green fruits.  The flinty acidity started to overwhelm the fruit midpalate but then things balanced out as some sweet spices came out in the finish.  Best drunk with food.  ** Now-2015.

2010 Iby, Classic, Blaufrankisch, Burgenland- $16
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.  This wine is 100% Blaufrankisch sourced from 3-30 year old vines.  It was aged for seven months in large Austrian casks.  Tasted over two nights there were brighter black cherry fruit with a good core of fruit running through.  The flavors were a touch tart at first with mild notes of pomegranate and citrus.  With air a hint of blue fruit came out and the wine became chewy.  ** Now-2015.

2007 Conti Leone de Castris, 50th Vendemmia Riserva, Salice Salentino, – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera sourced from vines planted in 1952.  It was fermented in stainless steel followed by aging 12 months in 5-year-old French oak barrels.  The nose revealed subtle black berry fruit and floral notes.  In the mouth the wine starts off soft but tights up with flavors of cherry along with dark red and black fruit.  This takes an hour or so to open up.  There is a soft nature but it still has focus.  There is puckering acidity followed by tart tannins in the finish.  A solid drink.  ** Now-2016.