It’s a tough job having to taste wine for a living but hey! Someone has to do it I guess. It’s not often that I get to actually go somewhere for a Master Class with a true master and to go to the Wine Makers Club in Farringdon was truly special. One of my suppliers (Red Squirrel) invited me to an Austrian evening with two young and brilliant wine makers that grew up next door to one another.
I have a growing passion and love for Austrian wines. From such a small country that one usually associated with what I like to call the ‘Old, Old World’ they are producing some excellent traditional grape variety wines with a few of your usual suspects too. These two gents are young, fun, funky and adventurous when it comes to life and in taking over their family vineyards.
The evening was a show case of two producers Dwald and Holzer; both make a range of Gruner Veltliner, Resiling, Zweigelt and even these stunning orange wines that are all the trend at the moment.
Eschenhof Holzer – Arnold took over the family vineyard at the tender ages of 22; with his brother they are the 4th generation to tend to the 13-hectare family farm. Bursting with traditional grape varieties, single vineyard bottlings and their sexy, trendy labels no wonder they are making a storm in the Austrian wine trade.
Altweingarten Gruner Veltliner 2015 – Made from old vines in a single vineyard; this could be my favourite Gruner of the movement, with each vintage out doing the last. I was introduced to it about a year ago after saying to the guys at RSW I really wanted one for the wine list and this is what they found! Beautifully crisp and clean, full of Jasmine & Honeysuckle blossoms, white pepper with a few lemons and limes too. Aromatic yet elegant, its length goes on for ages and works wonderfully in the sun or with a winter cheese fondue!
The Orange ‘Roter Veltliner’ 2013 – Roter Veltliner being a VERY local grape with small plantings in Wagram, this is a very unique and special wine. The grapes are hand-picked with a precision like nothing else and then left to the wild yeasts and some skin contact (about 3 week’s worth!) produces this wonderfully intense, rich wine that in the mouth is surprisingly dry and floral. With Christmas spice, lemon grass & toasty butter. The pairings could go on for ever but my go to would be an Asian spiced roast pork belly.
Diwald – Second generation wine maker whose family has been a pioneer of organic wine in Austria since the 80’s. He makes small-scale but classic, clean cut Gruners & Rieslings and does as little as possible in the cellar, showing immense patience and a limitless passion for wine.
Gruner Veltliner ‘Goldberg’ 2014 – Wild ferment, long lees contact & stainless steel it is a mix between ripe fruits and herbs, darker than the Holzer GV with piles of white pepper, rosemary, and a mouth feel like white chocolate. Martin says that the Goldberg is hard to beat on a cold year!
Riesling ‘Fuchsentanz’ 2014 – Fuchsentaz means ‘fox dance’ which relates to the local foxes saying goodnight to the hazy sun’s rays. This is a sexy, organic Riesling which has been handpicked from two sites and gone through wild ferment in stainless steel, producing this slightly off dry wine, a decent amount of minerality, full of ripe peach, oranges, grape fruits and baskets of spring blossoms. A sexy, voluptuous wine that would be perfect just on its own!
So there we have 4 very different wines from a small region showcasing what can be produced with different approaches. I love both of these winemakers each for different reasons! All available from Red Squirrel (www.redsquirrelwine.com) along with some other ‘out of the box’ wines which are truly scrumptious. We would love to know you thoughts or even if you have come across any of these wines in the past!!!
All my love,
Good food is very often, even most often, simple food. - Anthony Bourdain