Austria Uncorked 2011! Destination: Los Angeles
If you haven’t been to a wine tasting event, I highly recommend you find an event and check it out because it’s a great way to get the flavor of a region or country.
Just this week, our official TravelPlusWine delegation (yours truly & Ricardo) spent the afternoon in Los Angeles at the Austria Uncorked event at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. Where else can we taste hundreds of Austrian wines and sample a variety of cheeses without leaving the country?
Although we attended the European Wine Bloggers Conference this past fall in Vienna, I felt I needed a chance to get to know Austrian wines other than Grüner Veltliner (I’m still a HUGE fan) in order to really understand the country’s wines. My mission at Austria Uncorked: reds, rosés, and bubbles.
While there are so many great wines and wineries to write about, here’s an overview of a few of our favorite finds:
The stand-out wine of the day, definitely deserving of more than a passing mention, is the 2008 Elfenhof Exclusiv Zweigelt. It tasted lush and much richer than many of the other Zweigelts we tasted. The wine is super smooth and bursting with cherry juice. As you sip, for a split second, you taste an intense sweetness which quickly dissipates into a dry, easy, even earthy sipping wine. I love it when wines play tricks in my mouth and surprise me with the finish. Well worth the $23 price tag and available from Schlossadler International Wines.
Another fun wine from Elfenhof, if you enjoy sweet wines on the tart side, is the their 2009 Roter Ausbruch (made from the Roesler grape). I personally prefer the dryer side of the fence when it comes to wine, so this Roter Ausbruch provides the tartness I enjoy when it comes to sweeter wines. Price unknown.
Speaking of yummy, tart, sweet wines…
Weinrieder has a 2008 Riesling Eiswein which manages to pack a ton of awesome peachy tartness into such a cute bottle. Price unknown, distributed by Blue Danube Wine Company.
The 2008 J. Heinrich terra o. Cuvée (Mittelburgenland DAC) is a surprising yet scrumptious blend of Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The flavors blend into a great steakhouse delight that I’d even enjoy without the food. While the wine is nice, $45 seems a bit exaggerated for this bottle (Blue Danube Wine Company).
If you want a Blaüfrankisch that supposedly ‘defines’ an Austrian Blaüfrankish, the 2009 Goldberg Blaufränkish (Burgenland), a signature wine from J. Heinrich, is what you’ll want to try. Well-established in the Austrian wine world for over 300 years, the Heinrich family planted the vines for these grapes more than 50 years ago in the best vineyard location in Deutschkreutz, the Goldberg. Licorice and lavender are present in this wine while dark cherries and an appealing minerality push through the lingering finish. More great winemaking for the $20-something price range (Blue Danube Wine Company).
Many of you know way too much about my passion and love of Rosé wines… and it’s important to mention Austria makes a wide variety of nice Rosés.
I tried what I’m pretty sure is my first Zweigelt rosé yesterday which was both fun and different. Stift Klosterneuburg’s Klostersekt Rosé is summer fruity, tart, and peppery with a lovely finish – almost like burnt caramel. I’d enjoy this wine as an appetizer, with light pasta dishes, salad, or simply sip alone. (Price unknown – Importer: Leopold Imports LLC)
Upcoming Tasting Event:
May 4: Austria Uncorked – NYC
Where and when is your next event? Leave a link with information in the comments below.