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

Friday, September 8, 2023

This Gru-Vee will get even the weariest of spirits moving again!

This Gru-Vee will get even the weariest of spirits moving again!

Stagård Urban.GV Grüner Veltliner 2022, 12% ABV

RRP: €21.80. Stockists: Le Caveau, 64 Wine, Greenman Wines, Bradleys Cork

Urban, a fresh and lively Gruner Veltliner, is made from fruit of vineyards that are in some of the steepest locations of the western Kremstal in Niederösterreich (Austria).

This Gru-Vee (as it is sometimes called, not to universal approval!) has a strong citrus colour. Many micro-bubbles cling to the bowl of the glass. The nose gives apple and lime. It is indeed fresh and lively on the palate with almost a spritzy lime and grapefruit flavour with pepper traces and a crisp refreshing finish.

I like the way the Stagård website puts it: ““And he's so alive, he'll get even the wearyest of spirits moving again”.  Highly Recommended. 


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


Check out my Good Value Wine List here


The current owners, Dominique & Urban, made their early reputation with exciting interpretations of Riesling.  Looks like they are doing the same with Grüner Veltliner if this beautifully made wine is anything to go by. They also produce a rosé in the Urban series, all organic and vegan. They have pursued an organic approach to the vineyards and cellar since 2006.

Their philosophy is to combine the characteristics of the grape variety with the natural conditions of the region and the vineyards. The wines are vibrant and distinguish themselves mainly by two factors: spontaneous and slow fermentation and extended time on the lees. “Above all,” says Urban, “we trust in time.” This allows each wine to find its own individual rhythm and equilibrium. These are true wines of terroir …. delightful to drink.

Stagård is an unusual name in these parts and came from Urban's father, who originally hailed from Sweden. But the history of Lesehof Stagård is as old as the town of Krems where it is situated: The "Lesehof der Tegernseer" was an old German abbey, first mentioned in official documents in 1424; its cellar dates back even further, to the year 1000. The estate passed into private hands in 1786.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

A dry Furmint! Yes indeed, here's one from Diwald, Austria's organic pioneer. And a Rioja white Maturana

A dry Furmint! Yes indeed, here's one from Diwald, Austria's organic pioneer

And below, a Rioja white Maturana, another rarity

Diwald Furmint vom Löss Trocken 2021, 12.0% ABV 
€21.00. Diwald Furmint stockists: Urru, Bandon/ Mannings, Ballylickey/ McCurtain
Wine Cellar, Cork.  Mary Pawle

Producers Diwald, always reliable, tell us “Eisenhut is the warmest vineyard in our village. It is 100% south-facing, with burnt loess soils. The site gets its name from the ironstone which can still be found here. Furmint requires a long ripening period, which is why the Eisenhut site was practically predestined for it.”

Importer Mary Pawle is delighted to have this listed again after last year’s absence. “Grapes from a 100 year old Tokay selection, late picked before botrytis. Matured on full lees for 8-12 months. With aromas of Williams Pears, it offers firm acidity. A unique wine.” 

Furmint? You may well ask. It is perhaps best known as the varietal used in Hungary’s famous dessert wines Tokaji Aszú but can, as here, be used to produce a dry wine, though the picking time is crucial. 

Colour is a light gold with micro-bubbles clinging to the glass. Aromas are gentle, sweet notes, sour notes. And that tartness and sweetness plus that acidity feature on the palate. Just swirl it around in your mouth and you get the full show before a dry finish. The acidity is reasonably bracing, not unlike some Txakoli wines, so the advice is to take it easy, sip rather than gulp.

The time of harvest for Furmint depends fundamentally on the weather conditions, as this “diva” of a grape is quite prone to rot, according to Diwald: We pick the grapes from a 100-year-old Tokay selection – we pick them late and without botrytis, and then ferment them with a small quantity of whole berries. The wine is left to mature on the full lees for 8 – 12 months, sometimes in stainless steel, sometimes in wood, whatever the vintage allows. Furmint is quite a character: it offers firm acidity, aromas of Williams pears and its typical notes of honey. Always individual, stubborn and fascinating!

The wine is organic and vegan friendly. Diwald have been “organic pioneering’ for more than 40 years, having started in 1976. The grapes have been hand-picked and spontaneously fermented. The label features a drawing of a pair of ground squirrels playing ball, I think!

Wine Folly suggest pairing it with herb-crusted poultry or fish, also try it with sushi and Chinese dumplings.

Highly Recommended.

A Rioja White From The Ancient And Obscure Maturana Blanca

Valcaliente Blanco Reserva Rioja DOC 2018, 14%, 

€21.00 (New to portfolio, not widely available yet) Mary Pawle 

Not too sure that I’ve ever drank wine made from White Maturana grapes before. The grapes are ancient, obscure, according to “…wines are usually light-bodied, with high acidity and flavors that range between citrus and more exotic quince-like fruit tastes…”.

The Regulatory Council of the Rioja DOC say it is the oldest grape variety to have a written record in Rioja. It is mentioned in a text dating to 1622. 

“The most outstanding characteristics of Maturana Blanca are its low pH and high acidity, high tartaric acid levels and low potassium levels. These characteristics compensate the high alcohol levels that this variety can reach.”

This unconventional white by Valcaliente has a deepish golden hue. The aromatics are rich with scents of exotic fruit (banana, lychee), apple too. It is smooth on the palate with those strong fruit flavours prominent especially at the finish where its acidity comes into play and balances it up to a degree, leaving a slightly bitter finish of mid length. 

Quite an unusual wine. And the producers recommend pairing it with creamy, blue and semi-cured cheeses, white meats and, "especially indicated with seafood paella". “Can be enjoyed alone or with good company,” they say. Looking for something different? This could be the one! Well worth a try.

It has been aged in Bordeaux French oak barrels for one year (according to the website) and matured in bottle during a minimum of one year, “obtaining a perfect white Reserva".

Viura is the top white wine grape in Rioja and Maturana is down and distant in third place. For all that, Grapes & Wines say both Maturana grapes (there is also a red) are regarded in Rioja "as of high quality”. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

“Quality comes from the vineyard, there is no doubt about it.” An Austrian example from Diwald in the Wagram

“Quality comes from the vineyard, there is no doubt about it.” An Austrian example from Diwald in the Wagram

Diwald Grüner Veltliner Vom Löss, Wagram 2020, 12.5% ABV 

€17.50 Stockists:Organico, Bantry/ Urru, Bandon / Taste,

 Castletownbere / Ardkeen, Waterford / Little Green Grocer Kilkenny /

Vintry, Dublin / Connemara Hamper, Clifden / Mortons of Galway / Mary Pawle Wines

“Quality comes from the vineyard, there is no doubt about it.” So say the younger generation of the Diwald family winery in Austria, organic since 1980. This one is dry, organic, hand-picked and spontaneously fermented and, yes, it is top quality.. And Very Highly Recommended.


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Colour is a light straw and there are green tints (or is that the Christmas tree creeping in?).   The “vom Löss” on the label indicates that the grapes were grown on loess sites so expect a pleasingly spicy, is light in its feet and  that speaks of its origin.

And that is what you get. Clean white fruit (apple, pear) in the aromas, notes of pepper, even ginger. Quite an initial tingle on the palate and then the clean fresh fruit flavours flow in, a lively streak of acidity there also, a twang of minerality too and a lingering finish. Excellent mouthfeel too and, like most Grüners, this promises to be an flexible companion at the table. Fun even when young and still has good aging potential - enjoy either way.

The younger generation may now have the box seat at Diwald but it was Hans and Paula Diwald who undertook something unthinkable in 1976: the conversion to organic farming. The winery now works 20 hectares of vines and exports to 18 countries on 3 continents. In 2006, Martin Diwald joined the company, was thrown in at the deep end. Now he is at the helm, determinedly leading the way into a clean and sustainable future.

“There is nothing that can be improved in the cellar, quality can only be retained. Wine must be fun, it must always offer something new and it must tempt you to have another sip. And when the bottle is suddenly empty, then you know it’s perfect!” 

“Today, the Diwald wine style follows a simple credo: the wines – whether white, red, rosé, orange or cloudy – should be lean, elegant and cheeky, but still offer depth and body. They are individual wines which speak to our – and your – taste buds….”

Wagram, bounded to the west by Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal, is one of Austria's 16 official wine regions, and its loess soil is noted for its water retaining properties. Warm days and cool nights also help the wine-growers and the climate is generally continental.


Best Value Wines 2022 Under €18.00. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

An impressive Austrian sparkling wine and an interesting semi-sparkling red from Piedmont.

An impressive Austrian sparkling wine and an interesting semi-sparkling red from Piedmont.

Loimer Brut Rosé Niederösterreich - Reserve Sekt NV, 12%

RRP €43.99

Sekt is the term for sparkling wine in Germany and Austria. This Brut Rosé Reserve blends Zweigelt, Pinot Noir and St. Laurent and spends at least 24 months on the lees. It is made with 20% reserve wines and 80% from the 2018 vintage. Bottled June 2019. Disgorged 2021. Dosage 2g/l. Traditional bottle fermentation, shaken by hand.

Good strong pink colour here with an amazing display of bubbles rising. Foam doesn’t last very long. Yeasty notes in the aromatics. The palate is mouth-filling, strawberry among the gentle fruit flavours, a pleasing mouthfeel with a lively acidity at play before a dry finish. 

The winemakers say this “comes very close to a champagne”. For me, it is better than many champagnes. Well worth a try. Very Highly Recommended.

The Loimer winery is based in the Kamptal region of Austria and it is biodynamic and Fred is a fan of cows: “Cow manure is the best you can find for composting.”  He mentioned this on a Zoom masterclass last year, following similar endorsements by Aurelio Montez (Chile) and Giovanni Manetti (Chianti Classico).

“… Use resources you find in your place, not to buy everything, but to find on the farm what you need to produce. For instance, we make our own compost and we buy very little. Second, you cannot separate plants and animals, nature works in a holistic way, together they have composted over the years to create the soil we have today.”

“Herbicide is a disaster. There is life in our soil. Always something going on, even in a small square, something like 60,000 lives in there, all doing something. We cover our soils, green cover, blooming cover. Our own compost is getting better and we spread it in the autumn and we also make compost tea out of it for spraying. Stinging nettles (they’re everywhere) and other herbs are also used for spraying teas.”

“Cow horns, many people don’t believe. You can’t really measure the impact of these preparations but you can see the difference. There is for sure an impact and cow manure is the best you can find for composting.”

Biodiversity is another essential plank. “Monoculture is a big problem today. It is necessary to create as much biodiversity as possible. Not one hundred per cent vineyard but always bushes, trees and grassland over the whole area.”

Latest from Austria. 2022 vintage seen as promising

The president of the Austrian Winegrowers’ Association Johannes Schmuckenschlager sees the 2022 vintage as promising, albeit with a somewhat lower harvest volume, in a season that has been challenging in terms of both climate and costs. “Austria’s winegrowers are already busily preparing for this year’s wine harvest. In places where grapes typically ripen earlier, such as the Seewinkel in Burgenland, harvesting has already begun. Due to the weather conditions, the harvest has begun slightly earlier than last year. In the best-case scenario, we can expect wine volumes to match the average of previous years at around 2.4 million hectolitres,” said Schmuckenschlager at a press conference in Vienna Friday (02.09.22)


Contero Brachetto D’Acqui (DOCG) 2021, 5% ABV

RRP €22.99: The Malt House, Blackrock Cellar,

Brachetto is a red wine Italian grape grown predominantly in the country’s Piedmont region.

This really delightful frizzante pours a deep pink from the screw-capped bottle and there’s a brief life for the bubbly pink head. Aromas are both floral (roses) and fruity (pomegranate, strawberry). There is a slight sweetness on the light and lively palate before a drier finish. A very pleasant low ABV wine and Highly Recommended.

Distributors Liberty tell us Contero is now owned by the Marenco family, who are Moscato and Brachetto specialists.  “The 11 hectare Contero estate remains one of the best producers of invigoratingly delicious Moscato d’Asti and Brachetto d’Acqui. The vineyards are situated on steep hills, on tufaceous-marl soils, in a perfect amphitheatre in the commune of Strevi (the heart of one of the best zones for Moscato in Piemonte).

The vines are superbly tended and produce fruit of stunning quality. The Moscato is lifted, fresh and frothing, while the Brachetto has a lovely rose petal character that emerges from the aromatic, grape-scented fruit.” 

The grapes were hand picked into wooden boxes and carefully selected. After gentle pressing, the must fermented on the skins for two to three days at low temperatures, in stainless steel tanks. The must was then separated from the skins, with fermentation halted at 5.5% volume alcohol by filtration to leave around 100g of sugar per litre. Bottling took place under pressure for a light sparkle. 

Brachetto d’Acqui is best enjoyed when served at a temperature of between 8 and 12°C. Excessive cooling should be avoided, because at cold temperatures, the wine’s aromas are not released, and their scent does not reach the palate.

Thanks to its moderate alcohol content, Brachetto d’Acqui is an excellent accompaniment for desserts and fruit, regaling even less sophisticated palates with delicious sensations. Sublime with fresh strawberries or ripe peaches in season: the aroma and scent of the fruit mingle with those of the wine, producing a heady and intensely pleasant floral bouquet.(From )

Brachetto d’Acqui has made a name for itself as an ingredient in mixed drinks, cocktails and aperitifs, proving an excellent accompaniment not only to sweets, but savouries, too. Try it with cold cuts and cheese.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Vibrant and Juicy Reds from Austria and Argentina.

Vibrant and Juicy Reds from Austria and Argentina.

Beck Ink Austria 2018, 12.5%, 

€19.70 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Colour of this Austrian blend is a mid to deep ruby, with a lighter rim. Cherry features in fairly intense aromas. Juicy and fruity on the palate. moderately spicy too. Mouthfeel is smooth, drinking is easy as harmony reigns between fruit flavours and acidity. I like light, red and dry and this is Very Highly Recommended. An easy quaffer, fresh and aromatic, and light for sure. 

The label is dominated by an octopus expelling ink. Not much else though two key words appear: trocken (dry) and Bio-Wein. Not much on the outside then but quality all the way inside this Austrian bottle.

Ink is a fresh, juicy, vibrant and delicious blend of 80% Zweigelt and 20% St. Laurent. Both are traditional Austrian varieties and the former is the most widely planted red-wine grape in the country - by the way, most of wine-growing is done in the eastern part. 

Judith Beck is based in Burgenland and has produced wines in accordance with bio-dynamic principles since 2007. There is a possibility of some sediment (none in this bottle) so probably best to decant. No big deal either way.

Interestingly, St Laurent was one of the “parents” (the other was Blaufränkisch) when Zweigelt was created in 1922. Aside from Laurent and Zweigelt, some of the other grapes that come into the light dry red category are Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cinsault, Grenache and Nebbiolo. Giant Steps in the Yarra Valley (Australia) make quite a good one, a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah, called LDR.

El Abasto Malbec Mendoza 2018, 14.5% 

€18.75 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

This vibrant fruity full-bodied wine is named after an 1983 established market that became also a centre for tango, poetry, and culture.

Mid to dark ruby is the colour. The aromas are full of dark and red fruit, all saying welcome, come on. And in the mouth, it is equally loveable, totally gluggable. That punchy yet soft fruit comes in a medium body, and the wine is smooth right through to the finalé. Put this on your Malbec shortlist. Highly Recommended.

Pair with charcuterie, cold cuts, firm cheeses, steak, burgers, pasta with red sauce. And it can be served chilled, though you probably won’t need to do that at this time of year!

There are, according to Wines of South America, two main factors that help Malbec thrive in Mendoza. The low rainfall (12” as against 30” Bordeaux) and its timing, falling mostly in the summer, promotes ripening and minimises disease. Second, Mendoza’s wide thermal amplitude (put simply, the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures) promotes aromatic development and softened tannins. The proof’s in the glass.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

País and Weiss be with you all. Salud and Prost!

País and Weiss be with you all. Salud and Prost!

Outstanding Wines from Chile and Austria.

Leonardo Erazo “A Los Viñateros Bravos” Volcánico País 2018 Itata (Chile), 12.5%

€24.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Some terrific wines, many made from the País grape, are coming out of the Itata area in Chile. And this is one of them.

Colour is quite a light ruby. Aromas of wild strawberries and, I’m told, of the local vegetation. Palate is fresh and light, vibrant, delicate red fruit flavours, touch of spice, distinctive and refreshing, smooth all the way to the finish. The granitic soils have a lot to say and tell here and, perhaps, that is why, or at least one reason, this wine reminds me of a good Beaujolais. A quiet friendly one and Very Highly Recommended. 

“A Los Viñateros Bravos” means to the brave vignerons. This is Erazo’s tribute to those the have kept these incredible red vines alive, 100% farmed by hand. Here in the interesting granitic and volcanic soils of Itata, old vines, ungratified, unirrigated, natural low yields, and natural winemaking allow us to show the impact on the wine were the roots are feeding the mother rock.

The first País (also known, particularly in California, as the Mission grape) was brought by the conquistadors in the 1550s and, for centuries, the new locals used it to make wines for themselves. But bit by bit, the big companies began to use the big-name grapes and the ancient imports lost ground. Leonardo Erazo was one who wanted to reverse this trend. He travelled the world for ten years to study wine and then came back and founded A Los Viñateros Bravos.

In Itata, Leonardo has worked with the scattered local farmers’ old vines—many well over 100 years, still growing as dry farmed, untrained small bushes—to enhance their traditional natural practices to align with biodynamic guidelines. His mission, throughout this journey, has been to bring a sense of place into the bottle. Looks like he (and others, such as Pedro Parra) is succeeding.

Beck Weissburgunder Austria 2019, 12.5%

€21.85 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This Austrian Pinot Blanc has a beautiful bright yellow gold colour. Gorgeous inviting aromas too of citrus and white fruits. Strikingly full-bodied and a delicious satisfying harmony between the complex fruit and a refreshing acidity with a hint of spice in there as well. Another outstanding wine from Judith Beck. Very Highly Recommended.

The winery says Weissburgunder is a globally underestimated grape. It is perfectly adapted to the climate and soils around Lake Neusiedl and finds its ideal conditions here. The fruit is picked by hand, and is matured, on the entire lees, for 6 months in used oak casks, so as not to add an oaky flavour and it is fragrant and refreshing.

Since 2007, Judith Beck has produced wines in accordance with biodynamic principles. They say: the focus is on the vine growing. Biodynamics is an art of healing which takes advantage of the holistic curativeness of nature. It aims at strengthening the natural resistance of the plant.The aim is to produce authentic wines with an individual aroma   while at the same time maintaining healthy soil and vines.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Cheers #24: Blacks Distillery. Teeling Masterclass. Waterford's Organic Spirit. White Hag Smash. Austria's Sweet Wines.

Cheers #24: Blacks Distillery. Waterford's Organic Spirit.

White Hag Smash. Teeling Masterclass. Austria's Sweet Wines.


Blacks Distillery Hitting Milestones

Cask No. 100 was filled this week! It's great to meet this first major production milestone ! It feels like we have been filling casks for years until a reminder like this comes along. The distillery is in full swing with both the  finest single malt and single pot still spirit  flowing well. To reach cask 100 this week really does feels great! Thanks to all the founders for your support in helping us reach this historic milestone. Founders with cask numbers 100-200 will be contacted over the course of next two weeks to confirm your inscriptions! More on Blacks Brewery and Distillery here.


 The Arcadian Series represents our otherworldly garden of delights. We sought out maverick farmers, inspirational growers, iconoclasts whose ethos & way of life respects the land & the old ways in the pursuit of pure flavours over yield imperatives. Gaia, the neopagan goddess of yore, a personification of Mother Earth herself, is a fitting custodian to bring forth Ireland’s first whisky distilled from certified organic Irish barley. More info from Waterford Distillery here

White Hag's Brand New Union Series

Union is the unification of two or more things, for a common purpose. SmaSh stands for “Single malt and Single hop”. Our Union series looks to expose our fans to some of the exciting hop varieties that we use here in our brewery . Each beer consists of only one malt - Irish Ale malt, and one hop; in this case we’re showcasing Australia’s famous Galaxy hops, and the Strata hop from Oregan, US. We use the hop throughout the entire brewing process, from kettle to dry hop, to showcase every aspect of the variety. It's an expensive beer to make, but a one off we want you to taste, so we're doing a 10% discount on the double mix case for the next 5 days - stock up in case the off licenses close! More here.

'A Taste Of Dublin 8' with Teeling Whiskey
Join Master Distiller, Alex Chasko, Head of Operations, Iain Wood & Global Brand Ambassador, Robert Caldwell for a live exclusive masterclass on November 5th, where they will be tasting a premium selection of our Distillery Exclusive and Dublin Distilled Whiskeys. The masterclass will be streamed virtually via Zoom and attendees will be treated to A Taste of Dublin 8 Pack including 30ml samples of our next Fill Your Own Experience (launching soon), our 1996 Rum Cask ‘Fill Your Own’ Release available exclusively in our distillery gift shop, our Distillery Exclusive Chinkapin Oak Whiskey and our soon to be released Peated Single Malt that is fully Dublin distilled in the Teeling Distillery. The pack will also include our Dublin Pale Ale Beer collaboration with DOT Brew. T&Cs Apply. Tickets here


Sweet gold from Rust (pictured) and the winegrowing region Neusiedlersee enjoys protection of origin. © AWMB/Marcus Wiesner
As one of Austria’s most tradition-steeped wines, Ruster Ausbruch can look back on centuries of history. After in-depth deliberations within the region, this world-famous sweet wine has now been given legal protection of its origin as Ruster Ausbruch DAC, creating the first DAC regulation exclusively for sweet wine. With this, the number of Austria’s protected designations of origin in the DAC system has grown to sixteen.

“Ruster Ausbruch is a unique and distinctive part of our Austrian heritage,” emphasises Chris Yorke, CEO of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB). “The fact that it has now been legally protected by the DAC regulations is an important step on our way to promoting regionally typical wines.” More here.