Listz in the cellar, visiting the Kirnbauer Vineyards, Austria

I´ve heard of abattoirs in the UK that play classical music to the animals while they are waiting for the chop and  on a more pleasant note, people have been known to play classical music to their unborn children but classical music in a wine cellar? For the barrels? Well, why not?  They are slowly “growing up” as the French refer to maturation (elevage)  in the barrel. We were listening to the soft strains of Listz while down in the very modern wine cellar of  Kirnbauer Vineyards just outside Duetshkreuz, Mittleburg, Austria. Their cellar is very new replete with a plexiglass walkway above the cellar so you can look down and see the barrels while walking above them. Conversly, Markus says in summer, it’s also fun to be in the cellar looking up….the boys seemed to agree with that statement…but anyway… Listz was born just 5 kms away and the winemakers thought it would be nice to have local boy playing along to the local grapes. Kirnbauer is a family owned and operated  vineyard near the town of Deutschkreuz, amongst the hills of Mittleberg and close to the Neusiedlrsee.  Together, they create a unique microclimate that allows for the grapes to flourish, the hills protecting them from the winds and the shallow sea creating a warm pocket for the grapes to grow. An interesting tidbit I picked up on my trip to Burgenland with a group of winebloggers after the European Winebloggers Confernce in Austria recently. Kirnbauer specialize in blaufrankisch and, indeed the area is known as blaufrankischland because it grows so well there. A red varietal that is the specialty of Austria, blaufrankisch is a mineral laden red wine that comes from mostly the East of Austria in the area known as Burgenland. Often sporting boysenberry and red berry flavours, spice and slate notes with, depending on the area and style, either mouth coating tannins or round and elegant, it´s  red wine that´s hard to ignore. While I was in Burgenland, I tried many different blaufrankisch and many of them...

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Friendly gruner veltliner

I’ve got a few more videos left from the London International Wine Fair. I know it may seem like they’ll never stop coming but just one or two left. Some people complain that the show is too big, too much, too impersonal but I always have a great time and meet great people. I’ve had the Friendly Gruner Veltliner before, at Bibendum’s tasting at the Saatchi Gallery a few months ago, but here I had the opportunity to speak with the winemaker himself, Laurenz Maria Moser V. As you might be able to tell by the V., Laurenz is a descendent of the famous Lenz Moser clan of Austria. His grandfather was the legendary Professor Doctor Laurenz Moser III, who invented the Lenz Moser Hocherziehung trellising system now used all over Austria. Laurenz decided to branch out a few years ago and focus entirely on gruner veltliner. His goal is to produce “elegant and charming” wines, wines that are subtle and elegant yet still retain the spiciness that gruner is known for without losing it’s playful edge.  To that end, he is currently producing 3 different wines, the Friendly, Charming and Sunny Gruner Veltliners along with the Silver Bullet, a biodynamic gruner like no other. I had a quick chat and tasting with the very elegant and charming Laurenz himself…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Austrian grapes you’ve probably never heard of…

Started off the day in Chinatown for a bit of dim sum before heading off to the annual Austrian wine tasting held at the Institute of Directors on Pall Mall. There were still plenty of red lanterns hanging around, leftover from Chinese New Year. It put me in a good mood as we walked thru Leicester Sq and cut across Haymarket to get to the IOD. The Austrians are probably best know for Gruner Veltliner but there were plenty of other varietals available for tasting. What really surprised me was that gruner was not only light and zippy but could also be rich and full with aromas of melons, white flowers and peaches swirling around the glass. The Austrians are not afraid to use oak, although most of it was old oak barrels, there was a fair amount of new oak being used as well. Riesling was also well represented. I found most of them to be quite aromatic, green apples and citrus but dry. One exhibitor remarked that they were more similar to Alsatian rieslings rather then the typical off-dry German rieslings. What I found most interesting was the plethora of varietals on show and not just the usual suspects.  Blauer zweigelt– a red, quite cherry-ish, smooth and velvety. Welschriesling – not a riesling at all but a white meant to be drunk young, roter veltliner – another Austrian only varietal that has nothing to do with gruner. It was quite dry, spicy and smelled like wet rocks, lovely. Blaufrankisch– lovely stuff, loads of cherries. St. Laurent – another interesting red very rustic, wonder if it improves with age? Blauburgunder (pinot noir) was another varietal that kept popping up. Those were just some of the interesting  and different varietals on show. Alongside all the exotic Austrian varietals, there was also merlot, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, cabernet sauvignon and even syrah(!). There was one amazing chardonnay from the Artner winery. Clocking in at 15 % alcohol, you’d never know it. Slightly buttery, creamy nose, very fresh on the palate...

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