Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Dan Smothergill » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:44 am

After WW I Steiermark lost 30.000 hectare of wine producing land to Yugoslavia. The so called Untersteiermark. What was left is 10% and is nowadays called Süd-Steiermark.

Wick-
I was struck by the difference between Styria and the adjoining region to the south of what now is Slovenia. Winery after winery line the fairly well marked wine trails of Styria. The roads are narrow and it sometimes could take a while to find the place you were looking for, but with persistence you found it. Just a few miles away in Slovenia we had a devil of a time finding wineries, and then there was a good chance they were not open. The purpose of the trip was to tour the wine regions of Slovenia. Driving from Vienna we passed through Styria. Awfully glad we did.

Do you know a map showing the difference you refer to between pre- and post- WW I Styria?
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Wick White » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:32 am

Here's a map of the Untersteiermark before 1918:
http://www.untersteirer.at/Landkarte-Un ... 8-h085.jpg

Heutige Staatsgrenze is the country it's border nowadays
The image is too large to post on the board

And here is a map of the Südsteiermark nowadays:
http://www.weinausoesterreich.at/wein/i ... ermark.gif
For some weird reason I can't post .gif images on the board
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Salil » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:20 pm

2007 Moric Blaufränkisch
Seriously awesome. Bright red berries, spices, herbs and faint smoky and earthy touches on a frame that's so silken and finessed it brings to mind a really good Chambolle-Musigny; there's really good acidity here keeping it incredibly fresh, light on its feet and precise and a long smoke and herb-filled finish.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:56 pm

2006 Nikolaihof Grüner Veltliner 'Hefeabzug' -Wachau, Österreich 12%

I thought that it might seem to my wife that we slammed on the brakes when we went from the Vinothek last night to the little Hefeabzug tonight. Not so. The Hefeabzug is every bit as impressive playing its game as any of Nikolaihofs exceptional wines. Is there a finer producer in Austria? Not in my mind.

For me this is the perfect entry-level Grüner (though Nikolaihof does make a Steinfeder GV as well.) The ’06 has settled into a lithesome sweet pea and green bean heaven. The leesy white pepper and capsicum of its youth has turned to a wonderfully briny sea spray, and the extra 2006 vintage voluptuousness is now svelte. The acids remain firm. I think that most people (the Saahs included) prefer to drink this puppy young. Ok, but I think that the best years for this “modest” wine are ahead of it.

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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Salil » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:06 am

Those Nikolaihof notes have me very jealous Bill.

The Vinothek bottling is a wine I definitely have to hunt down and try some time in the future.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:31 am

Bill Hooper wrote:I thought that it might seem to my wife that we slammed on the brakes when we went from the Vinothek last night to the little Hefeabzug tonight. Not so. The Hefeabzug is every bit as impressive playing its game as any of Nikolaihofs exceptional wines.


I might have said the same thing and ordered the wines differently myself. But nice that you could experience the Hefeabzug holding its own!
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:46 am

Love those pictures. They make the place just glow with light.
Do you know the photographer?
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:28 am

Salil wrote:Those Nikolaihof notes have me very jealous Bill.

The Vinothek bottling is a wine I definitely have to hunt down and try some time in the future.


It is a unique beast and worth the price of admission! I'm curious to what/when the next bottling will be.

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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:36 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Bill Hooper wrote:I thought that it might seem to my wife that we slammed on the brakes when we went from the Vinothek last night to the little Hefeabzug tonight. Not so. The Hefeabzug is every bit as impressive playing its game as any of Nikolaihofs exceptional wines.


I might have said the same thing and ordered the wines differently myself. But nice that you could experience the Hefeabzug holding its own!


Rahsaan, In retrospect it was nice to tone it down. I'm not sure that our minds could handle the stress of another night of Vinothek ! I don't have another bottle so it wasn't an option. :cry: But as for the Hefeabzug: every good wine has its time and place. Have you tasted the '07 or '08? Those are pretty exciting wines too.

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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:56 am

Bill Hooper wrote:But as for the Hefeabzug: every good wine has its time and place. Have you tasted the '07 or '08? Those are pretty exciting wines too.

Cheers!


I have not but sounds good. Will remember that, especially given the value.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:27 pm

I'm planning to visit a wine shop in Raleigh Wednesday that carries some Austrian wines and should be opening them the second half of the month.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby wrcstl » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:24 pm

Opened the 2000 Hirsch Alte Reben Riesling on Saturday night. Dry, lots of fruit, big petrol nose but a great wine. If there was a negative it was just a little too round, probably the vintage. Went great with sauteed scallops and gingered carrots.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:51 pm

2000 showed some botrytis which makes the wines a little fat to my taste. It's also a somewhat variable vintage, so I am glad the Hirsch was acceptable.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:40 pm

2008 Nikolaihof Im Weingebirge Grüner Veltliner Federspiel -Wachau, Österreich 12%

Beautiful spring weather, the Twins win the home-opener and good Grüner Veltliner. Not a bad start to the week.
This is about the most orange-scented grüner I’ve yet tasted (it’s not just the label talking. I’ve turned the bottle around!) Fresh lime and orange peel, coriander, sea-salty white pepper and wheat (like Gose!) and yellow capsicum. The salty mineral and taut ’08 acid make for great harmony on the finish. Truly good Federspiel. No more Nikolaihof for a while (though I’m on such a roll…)

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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:57 pm

Nikolaihof is one of those producers that when I drink a bottle I wonder why I don't drink more of them. Delicious stuff. They are certified biodynamic too, for those that care about the extremes of natural viticulture (I'm happy enough with organic myself).
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:50 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:They are certified biodynamic too, for those that care about the extremes of natural viticulture


Indeed they were the worlds first Demeter certified biodynamic winery! And let it never be said that I don't care about extremes of any sort :D
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:14 am

When tasted alongside some others in comparable price ranges, I must say that have been somewhat disappointed with Nikolaihof wines in the past. Nothing specially wrong, just seemed a little duller somehow. This was at the big wine fair in Vienna, and I realise that these sort of occasions are not ideal. But it has happened twice, with a two year interval. I am always a little suspicious of wine producers who give you a big spiel about how righteous they are in their farming techniques rather than letting the wines speak for themselves.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Wick White » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:13 am

David Cobbold wrote: I am always a little suspicious of wine producers who give you a big spiel about how righteous they are in their farming techniques rather than letting the wines speak for themselves.


Unfortunately thats the case with all things in Europe that have to do with food and drinks. The so called bio-business is booming and people mostly don't have a clue about what different seals and stamps mean. Industry is (ab)using this to make money.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:37 am

Yes, we should not forget that bio (or organic) is a business, whatever the other aspects of this approach to farming may imply. It costs more to farm this way, and the wines sell for more, on the whole. This may be the due price to pay for avoiding loads of chemicals that may be harmful in some direction whilst curing problems in the vineyard. But I do not personally feel that I have to swallow the mumbo-jumbo side of "bio-dynamics" along with some good-sense pre-chemical farming practices. Like David Bueker, organics is enough for me. In any event Steiner was anti-acohol (apart from other weirdness!). And all these certification outfits are making money out of the current fashion. Above all, I feel that wine should be judged for its flavours and the pleasure it gives and one should not start by looking at the label (or labels) before thinking about one's impressions.
I know that Steiner was Austrian, but I seem to be getting away from the suject of Austrian wine here, sorry guys!
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:13 am

There's nothing wrong with going on a little tanget/side trip, especially as biodynamics clearly concerns wine. Now if we get into Steiner's politics that will be another matter. :wink:

While I am skeptical of biodynamics, and as I said, organic is enough to make me perfectly happy, I am not quite as cynical as some others appear to be. Biodynamic certification is indeed a business, but so is organic certification. What is more important to me is that in both cases producers are exploring ways to make better quality wines and have a smaller impact on the environment. I find some of the biodynamic practices hard to understand, but I could say that about chemical-based farming as well.

As for Nikolaihof, I wonder if the wines do not shout at the same volume level as some of their competitors. I consider the '99 Steiner Hund Riesling to be one of the great Austrian wines I have ever had, and it ranks there with top dry Riesling (e.g. Trimbach CFE/CSH, Hirtzberger Singerriedel, etc) from anyone/anywhere.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:11 am

David, I would say that sceptical (highly sceptical?), rather then cynical, is the word that applies to my reaction to "biodynamics". I put the expression in brackets as I can see no clear signification for the term anyway. Their use of "dynamisation" seems to relate to stirring various substances quite hard in both directions. Why not just call this "stirring". There is an awful lot of other jargon attached to various practices used, and this merely serves to increase my scepticism. "If you can't prove it, pull the wool over everyone's eyes" could be one of their guidelines !

I believe that, putting aside the moral and ecological angle, the main active principle in bodynamics, as indeed in organics, is time spent in the vineyards and observing plant and other behaviour. And this is clearly to be encouraged.

As to Steiner's politics, they were, as I can see you know, totally abject. This alone is enough to set me aside from "followers" of such a person, who, it should be said, also never farmed anything and was anti-alcohol.

Back on to the Nikolaihof wines, I can see that I should try these with some bottle age.

I would also like to congratulate you on your moderation. Obviously this is a necessary quality in a moderator, but it is so good to frequent a wine blog where the tone of discussion is reasonable, permiting various opinions to be firmly held without things degenerating. Maybe I say this because I live in a "latin" country, where things can wind up a bit fast!
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:20 am

David Cobbold wrote:"If you can't prove it, pull the wool over everyone's eyes" could be one of their guidelines!


And not just in biodynamics! :mrgreen:


David Cobbold wrote:I believe that, putting aside the moral and ecological angle, the main active principle in bodynamics, as indeed in organics, is time spent in the vineyards and observing plant and other behaviour. And this is clearly to be encouraged.


Agreed. The Burgundy critic Allan Meadows mentioned in an interview that he thought most of hte followers of biodynamics were "fanatics" (meant in a good way) & that their minute attention to every detail whether in winemaking, or more importantly in the vineyards likely had more to do with the top quality of hteir wines than any particular regimen.

David Cobbold wrote:Back on to the Nikolaihof wines, I can see that I should try these with some bottle age.


Definitely. I am often unimpressed with Nikolaihof (and Nigl for that matter) at large tastings of young wines, but they shine with bottle age (as do the Nigl wines). When young I find the wines to be generally austere, but they flesh out with such lovely bouquet when older that I kick myself for my scepticism on release.

As for moderation - I appreciate the comments. I am trying to learn to be more moderate in my style.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Tim York » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:14 pm

Grüner Veltliner Ried Zwirch Injzerdorf 2004 - Weingut Ludwig Neumayer, Traisental - Alc. 12.5% was crisp and invigorating with bright fruit, some minerals, good body, flesh and mouth-fill; 15.5/20++.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:22 pm

12.5% alcohol! Love it!
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