WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

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WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Bruce K » Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:21 am

Horitschon Paul Lehrner 2003 Mittelburgenland Blaufrankisch Gfanger, $13
I’ve had the occasional Lemberger from Washington state, but this is my first Austrian Blaufrankisch -- actually, my first red of any kind from the country. This has a great nose that starts out with violets and turns to white pepper with some black cherry fruit as well. On the palate, there is rustic black cherry and blackberry fruit, with some earth, spice and lots of white pepper. Good acidity, medium-bodied, fairly smooth, fruity but not jammy, no oak whatsoever, very pleasant. Excellent match with a variety of middle Eastern foods (tabbouleh, hummos, olive spread, etc.) Well worth getting again. Importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, a Terry Theise Selection.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:25 am

Bruce K wrote:Terry Theise Selection.

This is a name you can pretty much take to the bank. I think Robin did a Wine advisor in the last year on guys like Theise and Kacher. When they put their name on the bottle, they are standing behind the quality of the wine. It makes it easier on the consumer who may be less than knowledgeable about places like Austria (Theise) or S. France (Kacher).
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Bruce K » Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:42 am

This is a name you can pretty much take to the bank.


So I've heard -- certainly true in this case.

Kacher


I used to look for his name on the bottle, but I must say in recent years as my own preferences have evolved, I find many of his wines overoaked and "Parkerized." I still like some of his imports (Ogier La Rosine, Pascal Perrier St.-Joseph), but I'm much more selective these days.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Mark S » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:01 pm

James Roscoe wrote:
Bruce K wrote:Terry Theise Selection.

This is a name you can pretty much take to the bank.


This is geek shorthand for honing in on good bottles: find an importer whose tastes you agree with in the regions they work with and stick by them. There are many that I would trust: Becky Wasserman for Bungundy, Neal Rosenthal, Chadderdon for esoterica, Skurnik has good representation, as does Polaner. If it is something I haven't had before but a favorite importer was on the backside, I would definately take a chance, because more than likely, it will be decent. Likewise for those importers who bring in wines I am not as enamored of.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Paul B. » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:08 pm

Bruce, the crisp acidity and that cherry/white-pepper nose of many an Austrian red are what keep me coming back to them time and again. I think that both Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt are vastly underrated and make awesome food wines.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Bruce K » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:27 pm

Thanks, Paul -- it definitely seems to be a country whose wines are worth exploring. I've had several GVs now that I like and if I can find more reds (they're pretty rare in these parts) I'll give some a try.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:30 pm

Bruce K wrote:
Kacher


I used to look for his name on the bottle, but I must say in recent years as my own preferences have evolved, I find many of his wines overoaked and "Parkerized." I still like some of his imports (Ogier La Rosine, Pascal Perrier St.-Joseph), but I'm much more selective these days.


I agree, and would add that having succumbed to this temptation has dropped a couple of other names a notch or two down on my list. Vintner Select is another, despite my admiration and affection for David Schildknecht.

I'd say Kysela is standing firm, though, and a few other tiny importers (notably John Given with Italians and, in fairness, Dressner) are also standing firm against the international trend toward dumbing down wine.
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Re: importers

Postby Bruce K » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:33 pm

find an importer whose tastes you agree with in the regions they work with and stick by them. There are many that I would trust: Becky Wasserman for Bungundy, Neal Rosenthal, Chadderdon for esoterica, Skurnik has good representation, as does Polaner.


I agree, Mark. That's been central to my buying strategy for some time. For me the list includes Louis/Dressner (obviously), Kermit Lynch (though I've been finding his imports slightly less reliable of late), Kysela (mostly), Weygandt-Metzler, John Given, and Wasserman and Rosenthal (though these two seem to be harder to find in the D.C. area where I live).
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Re: importers

Postby Bruce K » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:39 pm

I'd say Kysela is standing firm, though, and a few other tiny importers (notably John Given with Italians and, in fairness, Dressner) are also standing firm against the international trend toward dumbing down wine.


I agree as well, certainly on the few Given and many Dressner wines I've had. On Kysela, I find him much more reliable than Kacher (both importers' wines are distributed heavily in the D.C. area) and less inclined to bring in heavily oaked wines though occasionally I've found a Kysela wine that IMHO has New World-style fruit. He's also started bringing in some Aussies but I've yet to try one. In general, though, if I see a Kysela import from France, Italy, Portugal or Spain, I'm much more likely to buy it.
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Re: importers

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:31 pm

Bruce that white Burg you like, and posted about in another thread, is an Alfio Marcioni who I find pretty reliable with Bordeax and Italians at the low end.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Dan Smothergill » Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:04 am

Robin said:
I'd say Kysela is standing firm, though, and a few other tiny importers (notably John Given with Italians and, in fairness, Dressner) are also standing firm against the international trend toward dumbing down wine.


My strategy too is to look for importers like these as a way of making a first cut among the vast array of wines I know nothing about. The problem is that it requires a lot of picking bottles up from shelves and turning them around to find the name of the importer. It can be frustrating when you get few hits.

Asking clerks usually doesn't help. Many seem to just want to hear the name of a particular wine, which they don't have, and then steer you to a substitute. I've been told more than once that a particular importer wasn't carried but then found some of his wines on the shelf.

I wrote to one of the people mentioned by Robin and asked if he could simplify my life by saying which of his imports were carried by which stores in Central and Western NY. The answer in a word was "no" and the reason, as I recall, was that it was the kind of information that woudn't be good for him to let out.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Bruce K » Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:31 am

That kind of experience certainly is frustrating.

On the flip side, the last time I went to wine store closest to my house -- which is not a particularly impressive place -- I saw a single Louis/Dressner wine in stock. So I went to the wine buyer and asked him if he could get the 2004 Baudry Les Granges, the 2004 Chateau d'Oupia Minervois and the 2004 Pepiere Muscadet. He said, sure, no problem, come back in a couple of days. A week later, I went back and all three wines were there on the shelf, ready for the taking.

I know many L/D wines don't make it to the D.C. area, but these were three I had seen in other stores around town at other times, so I thought it might be possible. At any rate, sometimes things can work out.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:44 am

Dan Smothergill wrote:I wrote to one of the people mentioned by Robin and asked if he could simplify my life by saying which of his imports were carried by which stores in Central and Western NY. The answer in a word was "no" and the reason, as I recall, was that it was the kind of information that woudn't be good for him to let out.


I wouldn't mind knowing who that was, Dan, so I could berate him. :roll:

It's also worth noting, though, that an importer might not know the answer to this question, but the NY distributor should. I'd be surprised if the importer wouldn't tell you who his distributor is. (Or you could get that information from a friendly retailer, who could look it up and maybe even order it for you. A job for Ed, maybe?)
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Dan Smothergill » Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:53 am

Bruce K wrote:
I went to the wine buyer and asked him if he could get the 2004 Baudry Les Granges, the 2004 Chateau d'Oupia Minervois and the 2004 Pepiere Muscadet. He said, sure, no problem, come back in a couple of days. A week later, I went back and all three wines were there on the shelf, ready for the taking.


That's a good store. When I've asked about a wine I don't see the typical response is "if you want to order a case we can get it for you". That has come from more than one store too.
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Paul B. » Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:22 am

Dan Smothergill wrote:Bruce K wrote:
I went to the wine buyer and asked him if he could get the 2004 Baudry Les Granges, the 2004 Chateau d'Oupia Minervois and the 2004 Pepiere Muscadet. He said, sure, no problem, come back in a couple of days. A week later, I went back and all three wines were there on the shelf, ready for the taking.


That's a good store. When I've asked about a wine I don't see the typical response is "if you want to order a case we can get it for you". That has come from more than one store too.

The exact same policy exists at the LCBO. I can't just ask them, even as the purported #1 buyer of beverage alcohol in the world, to get me 2 or 3 bottles of Norton ... they have a one-case minimum, which effectively means a non-starter. I never buy whole cases of wine blind!
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Re: WTN: A Lemberger By Any Other Name . . .

Postby Bruce K » Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:45 pm

That's a good store.


You know, you're right. I often complain about the store's lack of selection (vis a vis other DC area stores), advertising wines that aren't in stock, and some of its pricing policies. But I should be more appreciative of the good things, too. Actually, the real credit goes to the wine buyer, who has always been helpful and is pretty knowledgeable. Before he started, I didn't get that kind of service.
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