Showing posts with label Austria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Austria. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Three Delightful Whites. Chapeau Chaps!

Three Delightful Whites
Chapeaux Chaps!

We have been traveling all over to assemble this top notch trio of white wines for you. Maybe just a trio but they amount to quite an orchestra, maybe even capable of a symphony. The traveling has not been done by me personally but by the folks from Wine Mason, Mary Pawle and Le Caveau. They have bought well. So, let us doff the hats and say Chapeaux to the chaps and chapesses!

Turner Pageot Le Blanc 2015, Languedoc (AOP), 14%, €19.95 Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork.

Colour is a shiny pale gold. The nose, slightly honeyed, is of ripe apricot and exotic fruit. Ripe fruit abounds on the medium-dry palate. This is fruity, rich and round and quite a powerful wine with a long and mineral  finish. Very Highly Recommended.

It is an organic blend of Roussane (80%) and Marsanne (20). Turner Pageot, imported by the Wine Mason, produce a range of “gastronomic wines” and say the striking colourful collage on the label suggests exciting food and wine matches.

And the food and wine pairings they suggest are Fish and crustaceans in sauce; Saint Jacques with black truffle; Pike dumplings Nantua sauce; Noble poultry; White sausage. Old-fashioned veal blanquette. Mushrooms with cream. 

Noble poultry, how are ye! Well, come to think of it, there was some right royal Irish chicken in the Thai Green Curry from Cinnamon Cottage. I tried the wine with that delicious dish and they got on very well together!

Diwald Goldberg Grüner Veltliner, Wagram (Austria) 2013, 12.5%, €20.75 Mary Pawle Wines

The low-yielding vineyard overlooks the Danube and this organic trocken (dry) white wine has spent 8 months on lees. Importer Mary Pawle recommends matching it with scallops. It is often recommended with Asian also. Indeed, Grüner Veltliner is a very good food wine, very versatile, so much so that sommeliers regularly mention it, especially if a small group is hesitating over which wine to order.

This Diwald bottle boasts an attractive light gold colour. You’ll first meet its light fruit (apples, citrus) and white pepper on the nose. A tingly feel introduces it to the palate, that clean fruit fresh is there too, balanced by a lively and lovely acidity. Very Highly Recommended.

Framingham Classic Riesling, Marlborough 2009, 12%, €22.65 Le Caveau
Colour is an inviting rich yellow. Floral and citrus elements in the aromas and a hint of diesel too followed by a mouthful of delicious complex flavours. It is just off-dry with a little sweetness in the mix - think Mosel rather than Rhine.

Texture has been reinforced by some six months spent on lees. Balance comes from the juicy acidity and the finish is long and drying. Overall quite a rich Riesling and a Highly Recommended one.

The diesel is almost always an unwanted distraction for me in New Zealand (and Australian) Rieslings but here it is just about noticeable and hardly at all with food, especially with that delicious Skeaghanore Smoked Duck Breast.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Go East For A Classy Pair

Go East For A Classy Pair

Diwald Grüner Veltliner, Grossriedenthaler Löss (Wagram, Austria) 2014, 12.5%, €16.00 Mary Pawle
“We don’t like Coca Cola wines or Glass House tomatoes,” declares this organic pioneer from Austria, their way of saying they prefer to make their wines in the vineyard. Organic it is and it also looks and tastes very much like a well-made classic Gru-Vee.

It is light gold in colour, bright and clean. White fruits in the aromas (apples and gooseberries, I thought). Refreshing white fruit flavours follow with a perceptible tingle, superb body though and excellent balance and a good long finish. Very Highly Recommended.

The vineyard is located north of the Danube, roughly equidistant from Vienna to the south-east and Melk (with its famous monastery, where they serve an excellent sauerkraut) to the south-west.

Kilian Hunn Spätburgunder 2009 (Baden, Germany), 13%, €18.30 Karwig Wines

Lots of talk, including some guff from this quarter, on Pinot Noir from Burgundy, New Zealand, Chile, even Oregon. All good for sure. But do be sure to add Germany to the short-list. With confidence.

And yes it is Germany. Lots of Badens around. More than one in Germany, one in Switzerland and there's even a Baden-Baden in Austria (the only one I’ve visited). Baden means spa so that accounts for the many towns with the same name.

Colour is a youthful red, red to the very edge, despite its relative age. There are good berry aromas, mainly strawberries. Super fruit flavours, dry, elegant, then a persistent finish. Simply excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings. Reasons to Remember

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings
Reasons to Remember
Happy days with Joe (left)

We had joy. We had fun. We had Rieslings in the sun. And in the rain too! It is after all, one of the most versatile of wines and was a particular favourite of the late Joe Karwig as Beverly Mathews reminded us when she introduced an evening of Joe’s Rieslings at L'Attitude Wine Cafe last Wednesday. 

The rain of the day persisted in to the night on the nearby quays and streets. But the constant downpour failed to prevent a full house. “He was an incredible man,” Beverly continued. “He knew so much about wine and so much about Riesling in particular. He had these wines selected for an Autumn tasting and we thought it would be a shame not to go ahead with it.”

“It is a great demonstration of the styles of Riesling from the very dry to sweet, yet just a small sample of what they have in Karwig Wines, and the proceeds are going to the Cork Simon Community.”

She then introduced us to Joe's son Jurgen and asked him what were Joe’s favourite wines in general. Jurgen: “German whites were his main love and Italian reds. He loved the Old World wines in general.’

Marcus Gates of Karwig’s was introduced as “Cork favourite Australian” by Beverley, and he took us, enthusiastically, though the wines. He too remembered Joe: “I wish I wasn't doing this. I’d prefer to have Joe here.”

Furst Von Metternich Riesling Sekt trocken NV Rheingau
“Creamy mousse...brioche...great with Foie Gras…”, drooled Marcus as we sipped this 100% Riesling sparkling wine. “Made by a man who had 3 wives and 19 children and wanted to unite Europe”. This is genuine, made with the traditional champagne method. That creaminess, the bubbles and acidity worked very well with L’Atitude’s canape of Brie. Goes well too with pork belly, according to Marcus.
Full review (30/12/15) of this wine here.

Wohlmuth Kitzecker Riesling 2013 South Styria Austria
“This is from one of the highest growing areas in Austria,” said Marcus. “Very minerally, for sure. Makes you pucker! With peach, apricot and citrus elements in the mix, it makes for a lovely aperitif. Great with seafood. This is a baby and definitely another few years in it.”  Riesling is great with Asian and this was underlined when L’Atitude paired it with prawns. Both the flavours of the wine and the prawn improved when they met on the palate. Can't ask anymore of a match!
Georg Muller Hattenheimer Wisselbrunned GG Riesling 2012 Grand Cru Rheingau
This has the VDP eagle displayed on the neck, “a guarantee of pure wine pleasure”, not a bad start. For many years the winery was a foundation for the benefit of the town of Eltville in the Hattenheim region. In 2003, it came back into private ownership. Peter Winter, a one-time boss and long-time friend of Joe Karwig, is the new owner and kept the existing name.

Jurgen was involved in a recent harvest here. “This vineyard is a top site. ..less juice per vine.. flavours more concentrated. It is more quality, less about quantity.” Marcus enthused: "Very complex, big mouthfeel..I’d like to see it in 15 years time. But it is drinking very well now, a cracking wine and one to watch.” My favourite too!

Woollaston Estate Riesling 2006 Nelson South Island New Zealand
“This is from rainy Nelson,” said Marcus. They are certified biodynamic now and were getting there ten years ago”. The petrol aromas dominated this one even though the excellent salmon ceviche (made by L’Atitude’s Chilean Francisca) helped moderate them.
Golden oldie
Dr Heinz Wagner Saarburger Kupp Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2010 Mosel
Back to Germany for the 5th wine, an off dry, made by the 5th generation of the family who have been here since 1880. “Very steep”, said Marcus. “Even steeper than Patrick's Hill. Some minerality but a little bit of residual sugar means it's off-dry (feinherb). But it is addictive!” Great match here with a skewer of pork, apricot and red onion, very enjoyable pairing indeed.

Willi Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 2011 Mosel
We would, naturally, finish on a sweet note though this, from the south facing slopes, is not quite a dessert wine. “You have peach, grapefruit, honey. You see very few ausleses in restaurants around here.” It proved quite a match with a piece of Bleu d’Auvergne, the sweet and the salty going nicely together.

Time now for a toast to Joe as Jurgen and Marcus introduced a surprise: a 1988 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch. “There is a little bit of oxidation, just showing its age!”, said Marcus. “But still clear, vibrant, a nice little treat. Give it a moment or two for the aromas to open up. Would have been sweeter once but now drying, on its way to fading away.” And then we toasted Joe with the old Riesling and a “chorus” of clinks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

White Across The World. Chardonnay-Riesling-Gruner Veltliner

White Across The World
Chardonnay-Riesling-Gruner Veltliner

El Grano Chardonnay 2013 (Chile), 13.5%, €14.30 Le Caveau
Sun, the snow capped Andes, and the Pacific Ocean have all influenced the character of this El Grano Chardonnay. So too has the French father and son winemaking team of Denis and Gregoire Duveau. Chile is their Pays de Rêves, their country of dreams, and their organic wines are known for their very pleasant roundness.

Colour is quite a pale gold. There is a nice aromatic drift of white fruits and blossoms. The palate is loaded with fruit, fresh and round and smooth, a very pleasant balance and long echoing finish. Does this please me? Answer is a resounding yes. Very Highly Recommended.

Finca Pasion Mi Vida Chardonnay 2012 (Argentina), 13.5%, €13.50 Karwig Wines
Another everyday wine, unoaked, from Mendoza. If giving this as a present, you can add your own personalised greeting on the specially designed back label.

And there’s no reason why you wouldn't give it as a gift. Its colour is a light gold, very bright. White fruits and floral notes on the nose, a good feel, flavours and finish from a lively and pleasant wine. Recommended.

 Carl Ehrhard Rudesheim Riesling trocken 2014, Rheingau (Germany), 12%, €16.50 Karwig Wines

Colour is a shiny light gold, totally clean; micro bubbles cling to the glass. Aromas are citric and orchard, even a weak drift of petrol. Tempting flush of fruit on the attack, crisp with a little tingle too in the mouth, a refreshing acidity and a long flavourful finish. Another thoroughbred from the Ehrhard stable and Very Highly Recommended.

Johann Strauss Gruner Veltliner 2013, Kremser Sandgrube Kremstal DAC (Austria), 12.5%, €16.15 Karwig Wines

Colour here is a light to medium gold, not quite as golden as the famous Strauss statue in the Stadtpark in Vienna. White fruits in the aromas, some blossom too. Minerality and fruit front the initial attack and then refreshing flavours take over, yet balance is perfect; all combine for an excellent finale, little wave after little wave.
The Kremser has long been recognised, the Romans among its early fans, as excellent for viticulture and this Gruner is Very Highly Recommended. The producers suggest matching it with asparagus, fish, pork and scallops. I found it excellent too as an aperitif.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Four Countries. Four Bottles. Your Euro Wine Trip.

Four Countries. Four Bottles.
Your Euro Wine Trip.

Itinerary: Meet at Karwig Wines, Carrigaline 11.00 any weekday. Countries visited: France, Germany, Spain, Austria. Virtual trip possible on-line.

Chateau Mouret Graves blanc (AOC) 2014, 12.5%, €16.90, Karwig Wines

Advice from Graves on choosing a wine.
Start without preconceptions, start simply. I like. I do not like. Then try to explain why. But always return “to the notion of pleasure”. This wine made ​​me happy . Did not make ​​me happy. So yeah I bought. No, I did not buy.

I was also talking to Joe Karwig about the Mouret and he admitted that he loves the blend. He was speaking to the converted. Still, the question remained: Would this wine make me happy?

The blend of Sauvignon blanc and Semillon can vary quite a bit but this is of classic proportions with sixty per cent SB. The nose and finish are probably more Sauvignon. On the palate it delivers fruit and refreshment; it is light, clean and crisp. Green fruit, herby and grassy aromas are followed by a bright acidity in the mouth, all the characteristics you’d expect to find in a blend of these proportions.

This classic example did indeed make me happy and is Very Highly Recommended.

Moselland Riesling Classic 2014 (Mosel), 11.5%, €13.60, Karwig Wines

When people chat about Riesling, there is often a noticeable division of opinion between those it pleases and those who don't like it. This one could go some way towards bridging the divide as, on the label, it is recommended for a chat. It is also recommended for chicken, salads, fish and seafood.

It has a light straw colour and pleasing floral aromas. Nicely balanced and pretty full-bodied with no shortage of fruit, no shortage of finish either from this crisp dry wine. Moselland, created over 25 years ago, is the largest wine-growing co-op in the Rheinland-Pfalz. It pleased me and is Highly Recommended.

Las Renas Monastrell 2013 (Bullas DO), 14%, €12.45 Karwig Wines

We reviewed the 2012 edition of this wine a few months back. The 2013 is also good, maybe even a little better. Monastrell is the Spanish equivalent of Mourvedre.

Color is cherry red and it has rather intense aromas of red and black fruits. It is fresh, young and fruity, smooth, medium bodied, very pleasing and easy drinking, well balanced with average persistence at the finalé. An excellent well-priced wine and Highly Recommended.

Winzer Krems, Sandgrubel 13, Blauer Zweigelt trocken 2013, St Severin (Austria), 13%, €14.45 (check net) Karwig Wines

Blauer Zweigelt, or just plain Zweigelt, is the grape here and the colour is a light red, almost see through. Red fruits, cherry (mainly) and strawberry, in the aromas. Fresh and fruity too on the palate, traces of spice, mild and velvety, with good acidity. Light and lovely indeed, ideal for summertime recreation rather than winter mediation. Delightfully different and Highly Recommended

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Excellent Ehrhard Riesling. .. from the source..

An Excellent Ehrhard Riesling

from the source

Carl Ehrhard Rheingau 2010 Rudesheimer Riesling Kabinett, 11%, €17.80, Karwig Wines

The Rheingau is the spiritual heart of German wine, the birthplace of Riesling, according to the World Atlas of Wine. This bottle from the source is excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

The colour is a light honey and you’ll see quite a few tiny bubbles clinging to the glass. And yes there is a wee whiff of petrol in the aromas. On the palate, it is lively, full of fruit flavour, even a hint of sweetness too but it is tart as there is a crab apple acidity at play, all making for a lovely finish. Well worth a try.

Kelly’s Patch Chardonnay 2013, Australia, 13.5%, €11.05 Karwig Wines

This crisp Chardonnay, all the way from Victoria, is highly recommended. Colour is light gold, with green tints, and it has white fruit aromas. Crisp and fruity (melon, peach, and citrus), it has moderate acidity and not a bad finish at all. The year was a good one and this well made wine is Highly Recommended.

The story here is that Kelly’s Patch is named after the Kelly family whose homestead stood here long before the vines. The notorious Ned Kelly was born here and his iron mask features on the bottle. His father was a Kelly, deported from Tipperary in 1841. His mother came from Antrim, so it is rather appropriate that the wine is now imported via Magherafelt.

Winzer Krems, Grüner Veltliner Kremser Goldberg Kellermeister Privat, Kremstal DAC.

This is another superb white wine from Karwigs, that I tasted with the two above. Did a review of it late last year and you may see that here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Make Friends with Karwig’s Gru-Vee!

Make Friends with Karwig’s Gru-Vee!
In the vineyard: Das Grüne Heupferd

Winzer Krems, Kremser Goldberg Kellermeister Privat, Kremstal DAC

Vintage: 2013, Grüner Veltliner, 12.5%, €18.10, Karwig Wines

It is always worth a call to Karwig Wines in Carrigaline. Even more so when they have new Austrian wines in, as they have now. Picked up a few the other day and this Grüner Veltliner is my standout favourite. 

Colour is a pale honey, micro bubbles clinging to the glass. There are aromas of white peaches with some floral elements. On the palate, is fresh and lively (those bubbles?) with lovely fruit flavours, the slightest traces of sweetness yet well balanced all the way through the lingering finish. Very Highly Recommended.

By the way, don't worry if you over-buy. The winery says it is excellent to drink now (and I'd concur) “but has a storage capacity of 3-10 years, at ideal storage conditions even longer.” So now you know!

If you are in Karwig’s and looking for a red, here is one I can heartily recommended. It is the Caldora Sangiovese Vendemmia 2012, an IGT from Italy. This gives you an intensely fruity welcome, really easy-drinking and excellent value at €13.00! Caldora is the second label at the famous Farnese.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Reds from the Edges

Reds from the Edges
Thanks to the independents
Some unfamiliar grapes figure in these two excellent reds from the edges of old Europe, one from Austria, the other from Portugal. Not many of us, even if regular customers, will have heard of either the Blaufränkisch or the Alfrocheiro. The names of these grapes, excellent in their original areas, are not an advertiser’s dream (much easier to dream up a slogan for Merlot or Chardonnay).

But they survive, thanks primarily to the local winemakers and thanks to the independent wine merchants, of which we have a fair share in Ireland. They know, and more of their customers are coming to realise, that the bigger picture is made up of little gems whose names may not lend themselves to a catch-all slogan. Best of goods come in small parcels! (Not a bad slogan, come to think of it.)

Wohlmuth Aristos 2009 Burgenland (Austria), 13.5%, €20.59 Karwig Wines
You won’t find Wohlmuth in Hugh Johnson’s current handbook but, thankfully, you’ll find their wines in Karwig’s of Carrigaline. The Aristos, a blend of the local Blaufränkisch and Cabernet Sauvignon, is a product of the Neckenmarkt vineyard, one of a few owned by the Wohlmuth family, winemakers since 1803. The “most rigorous quality criteria” are applied while the terroir is regarded as ideal for the two varieties.

Austria is predominantly white wine country but it is a different story in the Mittelburgenland (close to the border with Hungary). Here the continental climate is ideal, especially for the juicy Blaufränkisch which also brings relatively high acidity to a blend.
Two thousand and nine was a good year in the area and it shows in this Very Highly Recommended wine. It is clean and bright with a medium red colour and aromas of dark berries. On the palate, you find the berries again, spice too, soft tannins and, yes, that balancing acidity, all the way to a long dry finish. Went well with steak the other night and the producers also recommended trying it with Lamb cutlets, also duck breast on lentils.

Flor de Viseu, Tinto Selection 2009, Dao (Portugal), 13%, €12.99-13.99, Wine Alliance stockists

Most people with a passing acquaintance of Portuguese wine will have heard of Touriga Nacional but Alfrocheiro, the main grape here, will no doubt raise a few eyebrows. Both are local grapes and popular in the Dao region.

The region, named after the local river, is the home of juicy friendly wines and this is one of them. You find red fruit aromas and a healthy looking ruby colour. The wine itself is warm, fruity and spicy. It is rather smooth with mild tannins, very engaging at all points of the palate and has a persistent dry finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Two Johann Strauss Numbers

Austria’s Grape: Grüner Veltliner
A Johann Strauss Duet.

On a coach tour through Austria some eight years ago, two things were unavoidable: one was dreaded dry pork (it featured in every dinner in the budget hotels) and the other was their “national wine” made from Grüner Veltliner.

So, I was nearly turned off pork but certainly I was turned on to GV or Gru-vee as some call it. GV may not be unique to Austria but it “belongs” to the country in the same way that Zinfandel is associated with California.

While it is a national treasure, the Austrians sometimes treat it quite nonchalantly as was the case in a wine tavern in Grinzing (close to Vienna) where they were serving it in half litre mugs at three euro a time. Quite a night. Wine, schrammelmusik and I don’t think we got pork there!

Memories of that Austrian trip came back as I recently tried two GV’s from Karwig Wines, both made by Weingut Johann Strauss in the Kremser area. This region, on the banks of the Danube and west of Vienna, is not too far east of the abbey of Melk, a famous tourist attraction that some of you may have visited.

My rainy day cruise by the Danube vineyards

Weingut Johann Strauss, 2009 Grüner Veltliner (Alte Reben, Kremser, Weinzierlberg), 13.5%, €15.70 Karwig Wines

Weingut Johann Strauss, 2009 Grüner Veltliner (Kremser, Sandgrube), 13%, €13.50 Karwig Wines

The first wine is made from the fruits of old vines (Alte Reben) in the Weinzierlberg vineyard while the second, not from old vines apparently, gets its fruit from the adjoining Sandgrube (sandpit) vineyard, both in the Kremser.

Joe Karwig says that location can be a quite important factor in Grüner Veltliner, though that didn’t seem to be the case here. Each has white fruit aromas and a colour of light gold (with green hints).

The first one has a pleasant tingly introduction, followed by fairly intense fruit flavours before a long dry finish and performed at a good level from start to finish. It is possibly a little more lush and slightly peppery than the Sandgrube but there is not much between them in my humble opinion. The Sandgrube has a very similar attack, again with nice bright fruit flavours and a similar finish.

So there you are, a pleasant alternative to the mainstream white grapes. I certainly enjoyed them and both are highly recommended, well worth a try.
Music in Grinzing wine house

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Never know what you'll see in an Austrian field!


Unless you can get yourself to a tasting, you’ll have to fund your first steps into sweet or dessert wine. And quite a few of these can be