Monday, January 31, 2011

First Class Dry Riesling Wine Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium

Pictures: Ingo Swoboda, Josef Schuller and Wilhelm Weil at the First Class Dry Rieslings Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium

Eight very interesting lectures, four outstanding wine tastings - one in the morning and one in the afternoon of each day - and a walking wine dinner provided for two fascinating and highly entertaining days around Riesling at the 1st International Riesling Symposium that took place a couple of months ago at Schloss Rheinhartshausen in the Rheingau in Germany. The Symposium was attended by about 150 people, including such luminaries as Jancis Robinson from the UK, Willi Bruendlmayer from Austria, Helmut Doennhoff from the Nahe, Ernst Loosen from the Mosel and Colette Faller from Domaine Weinbach in Alsace, and many others. I have provided my impressions about the Symposium here.

This posting focuses on one (of the four) major tastings, in which we tasted 21 First Class dry Rieslings from Austria, Germany, France and the New World. I have reported about the tasting of aged Rieslings here and about the tasting of lusciously sweet Rieslings here.


Worldwide, there are about 34.000 hectares planted with Riesling. Germany – with 22.400 hectares – accounts for 2/3 of the total. The second largest Riesling producer is Australia, with 4500 hectares. But this is only about 1/10 of the total. Nevertheless, Australia was a bit underrepresented at the 1st International Riesling Symposium. Alsace follows with 3500 hectares. Austria, the US with Washington State and New York State as well as New Zealand make up the remainder. But overall Riesling is really a niche wine, accounting for only less than 1 percent of total wine production in the world - but a very special niche wine.

Dry and Sweet Rieslings

We tasted dry Rieslings. Many wine drinkers, in particular outside of Europe, when they see a Riesling in the shelves, have the association of a sweet-style wine. This is however misguided. Rieslings as a rule are dry wines. Of course, there are the famous sugar sweet Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein and Schilfwein wines from Austria and Germany, the Sélection de Grains Nobles from France, the icewines from Canada and other Rieslings, made from botrytized, dried or frozen grapes. The grapes that go into these wines have such a high sugar content that there is nothing you can do to make dry wines out of these grapes. They inevitably produce nobly sweet wines. But apart from these exceptions, which account for only a tiny share of total production, Riesling grapes in Germany, Austria, Alsace, the US and Australia have normal sugar content at the time of fermentation and tend to produce dry wines, when fully fermented.

Picture: Before the Tasting

However, modern cellar methods allow winemakers in Germany to produce wines with a bit of residual sugar with these grapes. There are principally two methods applied in Germany – but neither in Austria nor Alsace - for making these sweet-style Rieslings. First, you do not let the fermentation run its course and stop it; as a result, you get a deliciously sweet and low alcohol wine. Second, you let the wine fully ferment to a normal alcohol level and then add Suessreserve (sterilized juice) to achieve the desired degree of sweetness. These sweet-style wines have lost popularity in Germany, although there appears to be a comeback, but in any case remain very popular outside of Germany, for example in the US.

Tasting of First Class Dry Rieslings

Josef Schuller, Managing Director of the Weinakademie Oesterreich led a fascinating tasting of 21 dry Rieslings. In contrast to the other 3 tastings, it was a blind tasting with the wines only being discussed – by regions – following the tasting and the wine list only distributed after the event.

3 New World Wines

Josef Schuller released information only in thin slices. The first thing we learnt was that we had tasted: 3 New World wines, 3 wines from Alsace, 6 Austrian Austrian wines, 2 wines from the Nahe and Pfalz regions in Germany and 7 Rieslings from the Rheingau. Josef Schuller wanted us first to identify the 3 New World wines. The group quickly came forward with wines (20) and (3), but it took several attempts to identify wine (4) as the third New World wine.

(20) Forrest Wines is a small producer of premium white wines in Marlborough in New Zealand. Leaving behind careers in molecular biology and medicine, John and Brigid Forest returned to Marlborough in 1988 to establish their first vineyard in Wairau River Valley. Vintage 1990 saw the first Forrest wine.

(3) The regular dry Riesling of Chateau Ste Michelle in Washington State; Ernst Loosen produces his Eroica wines in a joint venture with Chateau Ste Michelle.

(4) Frankland Estate is a family-owned and operated winery in the Frankland River region of Western Australia. Frankland Estate combine organic viticultural practises with a minimal intervention approach to the fermentation and maturation of the wines in the cellar.

3 Alsatian Wines

Wine (15) from Domaine Weinbach was quickly identified. David Schildknecht then suggested wine (16) and was right. “The acidity is higher” David said. Somebody else suggested wine (10) – a Rheingau Riesling from Weingut Wegeler – and was wrong. Finally, somebody came up with wine (21) – a Domaine Trimbach Clos Sainte Hune, arguable one of the best Rieslings of the world.

Picture: David Schildknecht at the 1st International Riesling Symposium

6 Austrian Wines

Gunter Kuenstler from Weingut Kuenstler was the first to come forward with wine (13) and he was right. “A distinctive nose, a typical Wachau wine” Gunter said. Somebody else then suggested wine (5) and was right. With some coaching by Josef Schuller, Willi Klinger identified wines (8) and (9): “More acidity, more stone fruit than the Alsatian wines” Willi said. The two other Austrian wines – (7) and (17) – were not identified by the group, despite further help by Josef Schuller.

Picture: Willi Bruendelmayer and Wilhelm Weil

2 Wines from the Pfalz and the Nahe

There was a long period of silence before David Schildknecht dared to suggest that wine (12) was from the Nahe. This was close, but wrong. Christian Witte then suggested that wine (6) was a Nahe wine: “More fruit driven” Christian Witte said and he was right. The other German non-Rheingau wine was not identified: wine (14).

Picture: Christian Witte from Schloss Johannisberg

7 Rieslings from the Rheingau

That left the remaining wines as the 7 wines from the Rheingau: (1), (2),(10),(11),(12),(18) and (19). We did not discuss the Rheingau wines. But the question came up, why Australia, the second largest Riesling producer in the World, was so underrepresented. David Schildknecht asked: “Where were the Mosel wines?” The Pfalz was also underrepresented, somebody else felt.

The Wine List

(1) 2009 Oestricher Lenchen Rosengarten, Riesling Erstes Gewaechs, Weingut Josef Spreitzer
(2) 2009 Ruedesheimer Berg Schlossberg, Riesling Erstes Gewaechs, Weingut August Kesseler
(3) 2009 Chateau Ste Michelle, Dry Riesling, Chateau Ste Michelle
(4) 2009 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge, Riesling, Frankland Estate Wines
(5) 2009 Heiligenstein 1.Lage, Kamptal DAC Reserve Riesling, Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg
(6) 2009 Niederhaeuser Hermannshoehle, Riesling Grosses Gewaechs, Weingut Hermann Doennhoff
(7) 2009 Wachstum Bodenstein, Riesling Smaragd, Weingut Prager
(8) 2009 Steinerl, Riesling Smaragd, Weingut F.X.Pichler
(9) 2009 Singerriedel, Riesling Smaragd, Weingut Franz Hirtzberger
(10) 2008 Geheimrat J, Riesling, Weingut Wegeler
(11) 2008 Hochheimer Hoelle, Riesling Erstes Gewaechs, Weingut Kuenstler
(12) 2008 Ruedesheimer Berg Rottland, Riesling Erstes Gewaechs, Weingut Johannishof
(13) 2008 Schuett, Riesling Smaragd, Weingut Emmerich Knoll
(14) 2008 Pechstein G.C., Riesling, Weingut Dr. Buerklin-Wolf
(15) 2008 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg, Cuvee Sainte Catherine, Domaine Weinbach
(16) 2007 Riesling Grand Cru Rangen de Thann, Clos Saint Urbain, Domaine Zind Humbrecht
(17) 2007 Zoebinger Heiligenstein, Riesling Lyra, Weingut Bruendelmayer
(18) 2007 Kiedricher Graefenberg, Riesling Erstes Gewaechs, Weingut Robert Weil
(19) 2007 Hattenheim Wisselbrunnen, Riesling Erstes Gewaechs, Weingut Hans Lang
(20) 2006 John Forrest, Collection Riesling, Forrest Wines
(21) 2004 Riesling Clos Sainte-Hune, Domaine Trimbach

schiller-wine - Related Postings

Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

1.International Riesling Symposium

Impressions from the Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 in New York

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

Terry Theise's Top German Wines of the 2009 Vintage

Germany's Top 16 Winemakers - Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2011

Aging Potential of Riesling – A Wine Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium in Germany Led by Jancis Robinson

Lusciously Sweet Rieslings - Wine Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium

In the Glass: 2009 Kiedricher Turmberg Riesling Trocken and 2009 Riesling Kiedricher Graefenberg Spaetlese, both Weingut R. Weil, Kiedrich, Rheingau

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace

Visiting Yann-Leon Beyer at Maison Leon Beyer in Eguisheim in Alsace

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Italy's Top Wines - 2011 Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia Wine Guide

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Pio Boffa, owner of the famous Pio Cesare Estate in the Piedmont region, in Washington DC.

One of the best, if not the best, Italian wine guide is Gambero Rosso’s Vini d’Italia. The 2011 issue includes 2.350 winemakers with over 20.000 wines, divided by region. The best winemakers are awarded glasses, from 1 to 3 glass(es). Individual wines are also awarded glasses, from 1 to 3 glass(es). This year, 402 wines got the top award of 3 wine glasses. This compares with 392 wines last year and 339 wines in the year before.

The Gambero Rosso 2011 was issued in October 2010. The German and English versions are scheduled to be released in February 2011.

The winners are listed at the end of this blog posting.

Italian Wine

Italy is home of some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in the country long before the Romans started developing their own vineyards. Two thousand years later, Italy is world leader in wine, accounting for about 20% of world wine production. Italians also lead the world in wine consumption by volume, 59 liters per capita, compared with 8 liters per capita in the US. Wine is grown in almost every region of the country.

The Classification System

Italy's classification system has 4 groups of wine, with 2 falling under the EU category Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region (QWPSR) and 2 falling under the category of table wine. The 4 classes are:

Table Wine: (1) Vino da Tavola (VDT) - a basic wine, made for local consumption; the bottle label does not indicate the region or grape variety. (2) Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) - this appellation was created in 1992 for wines that were considered to be of higher quality than simple table wines, but which did not conform to the strict wine laws for their region.

QWPSR: (3) Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and (4) Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). Both DOC and DOCG wines refer to zones which are more specific than an IGT, and the permitted grapes are also more specifically defined. Presently, there are about 120 IGT zones, 310 DOC and 30 DOCG appellations.

Wine Regions

There is wine everywhere in Italy, from the Alps in the North to Sicilia in the South, clustered into 20 wine regions, which correspond to the 20 administrative regions. The about 30 DOCG wines are located in 13 different administrative regions but most of them are concentrated in Piedmont and Tuscany.

The Piedmont area of northwestern Italy is further divided into the two popular regions of Barbaresco and Barolo. The predominant grape there is the Nebbiolo. Northeastern Italy has the Veneto area. Soave and Valpolicella are two important regions that produce many local varieties.

The large area in central Italy is Tuscany and is known for Chianti. The Sangiovese is the predominant red grape in Tuscany. The Chianti area of Tuscany is a large geographic area that is divided into eight zones. Each zone has a Chianti DOCG that regulates the Chianti made in that zone.

In Italy’s South are Puglia and the island of Sicily. The Negroamaro grape is widely grown in this area.

Italy’s Grapes

There are several hundreds of indigenous grapes in Italy. The following is a list of the most common and important ones.


Sangiovese - Italy's claim to fame, the pride of Tuscany. It produces Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese is also the backbone in many of modern-styled blends with Bordeaux varietals, typically aged in French oak barrels, to produce a wine for the world market: high-alcohol, fruity and jammy.

Nebbiolo - The most noble of Italy's varietals. Nebbiolo is difficult to master, but produces the renowned Barolo and Barbaresco. Traditionally produced Barolo can age for fifty years-plus, and is regarded by many wine enthusiasts as the greatest wine of Italy.

Montepulciano - The grape of this name is not to be confused with the Tuscan town of Montepulciano; it is most widely planted on the opposite coast in Abruzzo. Its wines develop silky plum-like fruit, friendly acidity, and light tannin.

Barbera - The most widely grown red wine grape of Piedmont and Southern Lombardy, most famously around the towns of Asti and Alba, and Pavia. Barbera wines were once considered as the lighter versions of Barolos. But this has changed. They are now sometimes aged in French barrique, intended for the international market.

Corvina - Along with the varietals rondinella and molinara, this is the principal grape which makes the famous wines of the Veneto: Valpolicella and Amarone.

Nero d'Avola - Nearly unheard of in the international market until recent years, this native varietal of Sicily is gaining attention for its plummy fruit and sweet tannins. The quality of Nero d'Avola has surged in recent years. Trader Joe’s sells a very good Nero d’Avola at a very reasonable price.

Dolcetto - A grape that grows alongside Barbera and Nebbiolo in Piedmont; a wine for everyday drinking.


Trebbiano - Behind cataratto (which is made for industrial jug wine), this is the most widely planted white varietal in Italy. It is grown throughout the country, with a special focus on the wines from Abruzzo and from Lazio, including Frascati. Mostly easy drinking wines.

Moscato - Grown mainly in Piedmont, it is mainly used in the slightly-sparkling (frizzante), semi-sweet Moscato d'Asti.

Pinot Grigio - A hugely successful commercial grape, known as Pinot Gris in France and Grauburgunder in Germany. Produces crisp and clean wines. Typically mass-produced wine in Italy.

Arneis - A crisp and floral varietal from Piedmont, which has been grown there since the 15th century.

Garganega - The main grape varietal for wines labeled Soave, this is a crisp, dry white wine from the Veneto wine region.

Gambero Rosso’s 2011 Awards

Red wine of the year: Biondi Santi – Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 (Tuscany)

White wine of the year: Köfererhof – Südtiroler Sylvaner 2009 R (Suedtirol)

Sparkling wine of the year: Le Marchesine – Franciacorta Brut 2005 Secolo Novo (Lombardy)

Sweet wine of the year: Fattoria Zerbina – Albana di Romagna Passito AR Riserva 2006 (Emilia Romagna)

Best price/quality of the year: Pievalta – Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2009

Winery of the year: Valentini (Abruzzen)

Winemaker of the year: Walter Massa (Piedmont)

Viticulterist of the year: Ruben Larentis - Ferrari (Trentino-Südtirol)

Shooting star of the year: Polvanera (Apulia)

Award for sustainable wine making: Sandi Skerk (Friaul)

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Zinfandel and Other "Italian" Wines of Seghesio Vineyards in California

Italy's Top Wines - Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia 2010

The Wines of the 2010 Giro d'Italia

Pio Boffa and the Wines of Pio Cesare, Piedmonte, Italy

Dinner in McLean - What we Ate and Drank

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

With the WienWein Winemakers in Vienna in the Heurigen Drinking Gemischter Satz Wine

Pictures: Christian G.E.Schiller with Fritz Wieninger (above)and the WienWein Group (below) at the Heurigen Mayer am Pfarrplatz in Vienna. From left to right: Georg Koenigsbauer (Cellar Master Weingut Coblenzl), Gerhard J. Lobner (General manager Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz), Alexander Skoff (Cellar Master Weingut Zahel), Fritz Wieninger (Owner and Cellar Master Weingut Wieninger), Wolfgang Krinninger (Sales Manager Weingut Zahel), Rainer Christ (Owner and Cellar Master Weingut Christ).

The participants of the European Wine Bloggers Conference 2010 (EWBC 2010) in Vienna had a very enjoyable evening at the Heurigen Mayer am Pfarrplatz in Heiligenstadt, Vienna. The WienWein group - an association of 6 innovative Viennese winemakers, whose objective is to promote the Viennese wines and in particular Viennese Gemischter Satz wines – had invited.

Vienna and Wine

That any wine comes from Vienna seems strange on the face of it. Great urban centers are not known for their vineyards, beyond a novelty vineyard here and there. But the capital of Austria is different. Around 500 vintners grow vine on around 700 hectares, all within the city limits. Indeed, Vienna has its own appellation and is one of Austria’s 4 major wine regions, with Niederoesterreich, Burgenland and Steiermark, though by far the smallest. Viennese viticulture stretches back centuries to Celtic and Roman settlements. White wine accounts for 80 percent of the production, mainly Grüner Veltliner, but also Riesling and Pinot Blanc. As for red wine, Zweigelt is the leading grape variety, followed by Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and St. Laurent.


Most of the Viennese wine is consumed in Vienna’s wine taverns - the about 100 Wiener Heurigen. The word “Heurige” means “the wine of the current year” – and this is what you drink there: the Heurigen owner’s wine of the last vintage, often coming in a jar.

Pictures: The Heurigen am Pfarrplatz

The Heurigen have been around for many centuries. They got a boost in 1784, when Emperor Joseph II formalized by decree the right of every winegrower to sell and serve home-made food and wine throughout the year at his premise. The best-known districts with large numbers of Heurige in Vienna are Grinzing, Heiligenstadt, Jedlersdorf, Mauer and Nussdorf. Although the Viennes Heurigen are the most famous in the world, you find them in all Austrian (and German) wine regions.

Gemischter Satz Wine

The most special and also most popular wine in the Heurigen is the Gemischter Satz wine. Gemischter Satz wine is made from a blend of grapes that are grown together in the field and then picked and fermented at the same time. Not too long ago, this age-old Austrian tradition was about to die, threatened by the mania for single varietal bottling. But luckily, the tradition was maintained and the grapes remained planted in mixed vineyards of Gruener Veltliner, Riesling, Muscat, Ottonel, and other grapes.

Field blends are different from more typical blended wines – cuvees - like Bordeaux, where the various grapes are grown separately and vinified separately. Many famous wines are blended wines. Red Bordeaux is generally made from a blend of grapes. Another blend is Edelzwicker, which I discussed in my “in the glass" column on November 5, 2009. See here. In the past, blending was the norm in Alsace, and these blends were called Zwicker. Edelzwicker (noble-blend) is a Zwicker made only from grapes considered to be noble.

Some people argue that Gemischter Satz is the true terroir wine. They say that winemakers can resort today to all sorts of tricks if the wine does not come out the way they want it. They can add acid if necessary, or tannins, or color, compensating in the wine cellar for what they did not get from nature in the vineyard. In the old days before the advanced techniques of today became available, they had to think ahead about what their vineyard give them. One could say that in the way they planted the vineyard you could see their vision of what would make the most complete wine.

Indeed, the Gemischter Satz practice was common throughout Central Europe in a time when most growers had very small vineyards. To reduce the risk of having no grapes - and no income - at all, they planted many varieties. It also was viewed as an approach that produces over the years a wine with consistent quality. To achieve this, they mixed varieties with a different ripening time and with different acidity levels, with a view of minimizing risk and ensuring a consistent quality of wine.

Wiener Gemischter Satz Wine

The WienWein group is clearly one of the driving forces behind the revival of the Gemischter Satz wines in Vienna. The Wien Wein group has established strict regulations for its members’ Gemischter Satz wines:

• The classic Viennese Gemischter Satz is from one or more vineyards in the Vienna wine-growing area, and is made of at least three varieties growing together in those vineyards. The wine is fermented in steel tanks in order to maintain the vividness of the fruit, and does not contain more than 12.5% alcohol. The WienWein logo must appear on the bottle capsule. Taste definition: fresh; typically “Viennese”; vivid; natural; spicy, and even rich in contrasts.

Picture: The Wines of the WienWein Group

• The site-specific Gemischter Satz originates from a single site, which must be named on the bottle label. The vines, which are planted together and feature a minimum of three grape varieties, are at least 20 years old. This wine, which can be matured in the traditional large wooden barrel (but not in barrique), must have an alcohol content of 12.5 % or more, and display the WienWein logo on the bottle capsule. Taste definition: multi-layered; expresses typicity of region and soils; complex; exciting; mineralic; elegant, terroir-rich; exudes an interplay of aromas, and is a versatile food partner.

The WienWein Winemakers

The WienWein group was founded in early 2006 by vintners from Vienna: Rainer Christ from Jedlersdorf, Michael Edlmoser from Mauer, Fritz Wieninger from Stammersdorf, and Richard Zahel from Mauer. With the presentation of the 2009 vintage, two new members have joined: Weingut Cobenzl (Grinzing) and Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz (Heiligenstadt).

Picture: Wolfgang Krinninger from Weingut Zahel in front of WienWein Group Poster in Vienna

Overall, Vienna accounts for only 1 percent of Austria’s wine production. At the same time, demand for its wines in the Heurigen of Vienna has always been strong , fuelde by its own citizens and folks from around the country and the world. It is easy to see why there was more emphasis on mass wine than on quality wine, and to a certain extent still is. Against this background, the goal of Wienwein is to extract high-quality wines from Vienna’s terroir and establish new (and higher) quality standards for Viennese wine. Here are the 6 members.

Weingut Christ

A Weingut with 6 hectares of vineyard land and around 400 years of family tradition. Owner Rainer Christ says that (1) winemaking firmly grounded in nature and (2) an innovative esprit in the vineyard and the wine cellar are the 2 cornerstones for wine making at Weingut Christ.

Amtsstrasse 10-14, 1210 wien, tel +43-1-292 51 52, fax +43-1-292 51 52,

Picture: Rainer Christ

Weingut Edlmoser

Weingut Edlmoser is located in Vienna’s 23rd district, Liesing. The family has been making wine here since 1347. The estate has been run since 1998 by Michael Edlmoser, who studied also at Hall Crest Vineyards in Santa Cruz (California). The vineyard area totals 9 hectares.

Maurer Lange Gasse 123, 1230 Wien, tel +43-1-889 86 80, fax +43-1-889 86 80,

Weingut Wieninger

The internationally renowned vintner Fritz Wieninger is one of the pioneers of the Vienna wine boom. Until Fritz took over the approximately 100-year-old winery from his parents in Stammersdorf in 1980, it had been run purely as a Heurigen, producing mass wines for the wine tavern. Right from the start he shifted to quality and premium wines, experimented with new varieties and new approaches in the cellar such as temperature-controlled fermentation and barrique-aging. For two decades, he was alone in extracting high quality wines from Vienna’s soils. Today, few would dispute that Fritz Wieninger has been the seminal figure in Vienna’s transformation and his wines continue to be benchmarks. He has 40 hectares of vineyard land.

Stammersdorfer strasse 80, 1210 Wien, tel +43-1-290 10 12, fax +43-1-290 103,

Picture: Fritz Wieninger

Weingut Zahel

Weingut Zahel has 20 hectares of vineyard land and buys fruit from another 5 hectares. In 2003 Richard Zahel was the first to market the "Wiener” Gemischter Satz. Today, Zahel’s Gemischter Satz is offered in 4 different styles. With 40% of total production, red wine is very important for Weingut Zahel. Indeed, Zahel’s flagship wine Antares was the first Viennese red wine to get more than 90 points in Falstaff, Austria’s leading wine guide.

Maurer Hauptplatz 9, 1230 Wien, tel +43-1-889 13 18, fax +43-1-889 13 18-10,

Pictures: Alexander Skoff (above) and Wolfgang Krinninger (below) from Weingut Zahel with Christian G.E.Schiller in Vienna

Weingut Cobenzl

Weingut Cobenzl is located in the suburb of Grinzing in the north-west of Vienna. 70% of the vineyards is planted with the white varieties. Weingut Cobenzl is one of the two WienWein newcomers. It is named after Count Cobenzl, who owned the estate in the 1700. After various ownership changes, the City of Vienna bought Weingut Cobenzl in the early 1900s. With 48 hectares of vineyard land, Weingut Cobenzl is one of the largest wineries in Vienna.

Weingut Cobenzl
Am Cobenzl 96, 1190 Wien, tel. +43 1320 5805, fax +43 1328 2286

Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz

Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz has been making wine since 1683 in Nussdorf. The estate is rather large, with 55 hectares of vineyard land. The former owner, Ing. Franz Mayer, is considered as the leading doyen of the wine scene in Vienna. The winery was sold to advertising entrepreneur Hans Schmid in 2006. More than a third of the annual production is exported, around half the production, mainly the light, dry wines, is served on-premise.

Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz
Pfarrplatz 2, 1190 Wien, tel. +43 1 3703361, fax +43 1 3704714

Picture: Gerhard J. Lobner from Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz

Wining, Dining and Partying In the Heurigen Mayer am Pfarrplatz

The WienWein group had invited us to one of its members’ premise, the romantic landmark-protected Mayer am Pfarrplatz. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) lived there in 1817 (therefore it is called Beethovenhaus) and the building has remained totally unchanged since then. The Mayer am Pfarrplatz is a full-fledged winery and a Heurigen at the same time, where the Mayer am Pfarrhaus wines are served.

Picture: Uli Macenka from Weingut Cobenzl and Rainer Christ from Weingut Christ at the WienWein Party at the Mayer am Pfarrplatz

We had a great time with Gemischter Satz wines and hearty Viennese food. I enjoyed very much the possibility to talk with the WienWein winemakers, taste their wines and enjoy sausages, meat, salad - and of course Wiener Schnitzel. Later that evening, we changed the venue and moved one floor down in the party room of the winery where in a cheerful round not only glasses but also dance legs were swinging. What did we dance? Wiener Waltzer - Vienna Waltz, of course.

It was an extraordinary evening.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

In the Glass: 2007 Leo Hillinger HillSide Unfiltered With Weingut Hillinger's Michael Hoeffken

Picking and Drinking Gruener Veltliner with Ewald Gruber sen. and jun., Weingut Gruber, Weinviertel, Austria

Welcome to America: Franz and Christine Netzl Estate, Carnuntum, Austria

The 2010 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna

Wine Producer Austria - Not Only Gruener Veltliner

Willi Klinger Leads Tasting of Austria's Undiscovered Stars at EWBC 2010 in Vienna

Lunch with Silvia Prieler, Weingut Prieler, Schuetzen am Gebirge, Austria

Chef Martin Weiler Suggests Amazing Food to Go With Gruener Veltliner

Austria’s Best Wines and Winemakers - Falstaff WeinGuide 2010

Producing Wines in Austria and Hungary - Franz and Franz Reinhard Weninger

Austria’s Best Red Wines - Falstaff RotweinGuide 2010/2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Visiting Yann-Leon Beyer at Maison Leon Beyer in Eguisheim in Alsace

Pictures: Christian G.E.Schiller with Yann-Leon and Marc Beyer at Maison Beyer in Eguisheim in Alsace

I visited a couple of wine makers in Alsace recently, including Jean Trimbach who I had met at the Sofitel Restaurant in Washington DC at a wine makers dinner. After Maison Trimbach, my next appointment was with Maison Leon Beyer in Eguisheim. Interestingly, Jean Trimbach reported that a few weeks ago former French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing was on a wine tasting tour in Alsace; he had two wineries on his list: Maison Trimbach and Maison Leon Beyer! Good Choice.

Maison Leon Beyer and Alsace

Maison Leon Beyer has been wine making in Alsace since the 16th century, although the estate was not truly established until 1867 when Emile Beyer created the Maison de Vin d'Alsace.

Alsace is one of the several world class French wine regions, which produces many excellent still and sparkling, red and white wines, but above all it is highly appreciated for its unoaked, dry and crisp white wines. They tend to be different from those in the other parts of France: Higher in acidity, sometimes really sour, but always a pleasant experience to have them in the glass. And they go very well with the Alsatian food, which is also unique in France. The famous choucroute you find only there in France. But of course, you find it also in neighboring Germany, for example in Frankfurt am Main. Compared with Germany, which also is famous for its world class dry wines, Alsace wines tend to be drier, more full-bodied and higher in alcohol. Finally, sweeter white wines and red wines play only a minor role in Alsace, but they have a very good sparkling wine, the Cremant d’Alsace.

Alsace sits in the northeast corner of France, sheltered by the Vosges mountains to the west and hard against the German border to the east. The vineyards reach from around Wissembourg in the north to Mulhouse, 70 miles south. Some 12 million cases are produced annually from 32,000 acres of vineyards.

Alsace is a fascinating amalgam of the German and French. The end of the 30 Years’ War in 1648 gave Alsace to France. In 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Alsace was taken by Germany. After World War I, it was once more part of France — until 1940, when Germany reclaimed it. With the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, Alsace became French yet again — and so it has remained. Wine production in Alsace traces its beginnings to the early centuries of the Roman Empire, when the Romans conquered Alsace and introduced wine.

One of the most intriguing characteristics of Alsace wines is that they are bottled under their varietal names, unlike virtually all other French wines. Four grape varieties are considered to be the best:(i) Riesling – like in Germany, the most celebrated grape; (ii) Muscat – often used to produce sweet wines in France, the Alsace version is bone-dry; (iii) Pinot Gris and (iv) Gewurztraminer –Alsace's signature grape. Three other white grape varieties are also grown: (i) Sylvaner – A high-yielding grape, producing a refreshing wine, often used for blends, (ii) Pinot Blanc and (iii) Chardonnay – used only for sparkling wine. In addition, Alsace does have a little red wine made from the Burgundy grape, Pinot Noir. The Alsatian red wines tend to be quite lightweight, but can be delicious and interesting.

Picture: Yann Beyer in front of the office desks of Marc Beyer and the late Leon Beyer

Alsace produces wines under three different appellations: (i) Appellation d'Origine Contrôlées (AOCs) for ¾ of the white, rosé and red wines, (ii) Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white wines from certain classified vineyards and (iii) Crémant d'Alsace AOC for sparkling wines. Alsace makes noble-sweet wines, but does not have the same reputation as Germany or Austria for its noble-sweet wines. I like the Edelzwicker from Alsace, which is blend and an easy to drink day to day wine.

Since the creation of the Grand Cru AOC in Alsace, a number of winemakers have however shunned the system. Maison Leon Beyer is one of the most notable names to do so. The issue Maison Leon Beyer has with the Grand Cru AOC is that in their view the Grand Cru vineyards in a number of cases have too extensive boundaries.

Maison Leon Beyer

Currently at the helm of Maison is Marc Beyer, with his son Yann Beyer, 14th generation of the family, fully involved and eventually taking over. I had the pleasure to meet both Marc and Yann Beyer, but spent most of the time with Yann.

At a crossroads, a little way out of the center of Eguisheim, Maison Léon Beyer is perpetuating the tradition of great Alsace wines. The Maison Leon Beyer was initially in the centre of Eguisheim, before relocating to a former post-house outside the village walls, at the end of the 1. World War. The business was then managed by Léon Beyer, who was succeeded by his son of the same name in 1959, who was also Mayor of Eguisheim, as was his father. An enlightened gourmet, the elegant and affable Léon Beyer II above all focused on creating the prestigious gastronomic aura that sets the winery apart from the others.

Picture: Yann Beyer with a former Employee, who has spent all his work life at Maison Leon Beyer

Eguisheim is a spectacular wine-producing town. Bruno d'Eguisheim was elected pope in 1049 under the name Léon IV. The city of the Counts of Eguisheim, which passed into the hands of the Bishop of Strasbourg in the 13th century, had always been at the centre of a flourishing vineyards. The present day vineyards, one of the most extensive in all of Alsace, total 300 hectares.

Winemaking Philosophy
Maison Leon Beyer has a longstanding reputation for making elegant, bone dry wines. "Sugar in wine is like make-up on a woman's face – it masks the imperfections", comments Marc Beyer.

Maison Leon Beyer is both a domaine and negociant. It produces wine sourced from own vineyards (20 hectares) and from lease contracts (40 hectares). It has decent sized holdings in the two Eguisheim Grands Crus, Eichberg and Pfersigberg and markets the wines under the Comtes d'Eguisheim and Les Ecalliers designations, with no mention of any Grand Cru status anywhere. There are also Vendanges Tardives and Selections de Grains Nobles cuvées.

In terms of grape varieties, the emphasis is on Riesling, but Maison Leon Beyer also grows all other classic Alsatian grape varieties. In particular, Gewuerztraminer also figures prominently in the Leon Beyer wine portfolio. Yann reported about a vertical wine tasting of Leon Beyer Gewuertztraminer that he and his father had organized in Paris last year, tasting Comtes d’Eguisheim Gewuerztraminer from the vintages 1959 to 2009. “The 1976, 1964, 1961 and 1959 were brilliant” says Yann. Le Figaro carried a one page article about the tasting on July 8, 2010.

“We practice sustainable agriculture in the vineyard” says Yann Beyer “and the harvest is by hand. We do not use any screw caps. 90% of the cork is natural cork.”

Yann Beyer

Yann Beyer, now 34, is the future face of the Maison Leon Beyer. “I grew up in the wine cellar, I have wine in my blood” Yann says. He has a license in Biochemistry, he then got a degree in Oenology from Dijon and topped all this with a Master of Economic Management in Bordeaux. He is a good looking, eligible bachelor and has a lovely dog.

Picture: Yann Beyer Presenting the Leon Beyer Wines

He speaks excellent English and is great fun to be with. I hope we will see him more at wine tasting dinners around the world. “Who has the final word in the cellar, when it comes to the fine tuning of the wine?” I ask. “My father Marc, the cellarmaster and I” answers Yann.

The Maison Leon Beyer Cellars

Yann explains Leon Beyer’s wine making philosophy: “We ferment in stainless steel tanks and large, wooden barrels. It does not really matter, if a wine is fermented in a tank or a barrel. It is more a question of fitting our needs with what is available. The barrels are smaller than the tanks and therefore the wines we produce in smaller quantities tend to end up in the wooden barrels. We never use new oak. As a rule, we bottle very early to preserve the freshness and the fruitiness. This is what Alsace is all about. The wine then matures in the bottle.”

Pictures: With Yann and Marc Beyer in the Cellar

The Maison Leon Beyer has 2 quite impressive wine cellars. One is just below the winery with stainless steel tanks and large, wooden barrels plus large amounts of bottles wine sitting there to be released. Interestingly, wines are only labeled once Leon Beyer has received an order, because of the many country specific labeling regulations and language requirements that are implied by exporting all over the world. For example, a bottle exported to Russia needs a different label than one sold in France, at least as far as the back label is concerned.

Then, there is a special cellar, dug deep into the hillside beneath the vineyards, about 50 meters away from the winery. It is amazing what you see there when you walk with Yann through the cellar.

Pictures: With Yann Beyer in the special cellar

The Beyers let their wines age in the bottles in the cellar during several years before they release them on the market, especially the two Eguisheim Grands Crus, Eichberg and Pfersigberg, marketed under the Comtes d'Eguisheim and Les Ecalliers designations.

The 2010 Vintage

Yann Beyer was very upbeat about the 2010 vintage: “It was a little scary in the beginning, not much sun. We let the grapes hang longer on the vines. At the end it worked all out. We are quite happy with the quality of the 2010 vintage. The 2010 wines will be fresh wines with a good ripeness. But of course, volume is down, by up to 50% for Gewuerztraminer and Riesling.”

The Leon Beyer Wine Portfolio

“90% of the 3 Michelin star restaurants in Europe carry our wines” says Yann Beyer”. I ask about New York. “70% of the starred restaurants in New York carry our wines” says Yann. And what about China? “We were one of the first to go to China. We have been in China now for over 30 years” answers Yann. Yann took us through the whole Leon Beyer wine portfolio: (1) Les classiques, (2) Les reserves, (3) Les grandes cuvees and (4) Les vendages tardives et selection de grains nobles.

Les Classiques

This is the Leon Beyer entry level range. Les classiques comprise Maison Leon Beyer’s 6 traditional white grape varieties: Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris, Gewuerztraminer as well as the Pinot Noir. In addition, the Cuvee Leon Beyer and the Cremant d’Alsace come under this category. The prices ex-winery range from Euro 7.50 to Euro 12. Les classiques are fresh and fruity with a body and weight that reflect the grape varietal.

2007 Leon Beyer Pinot Blanc Classique: Elegant with a hint of spice, well rounded yet delicate, combines freshness and softness, representing the happy medium in the range of Alsace wines. A well-balanced wine.

2009 Leon Beyer Riesling Classique: A dry, refined and delicately fruity wine with an elegant bouquet of mineral or floral notes.

2007 Leon Beyer Pinot Noir Classique: The only Alsace variety to produce red or rosé wines, characteristically fruity with hints of cherry. Structured, light with a definite "tarry" Pinot Noir nose.

Les Reserves

The Reserve wines are made from sections with mostly old vines. These are more complex wines than the Classic wines and can age longer. Les Reserve wines come as Muscat, Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris, Gewuerztraminer as well as the Pinot Noir. They cost between Euro 12 to Euro 15.

2005 Leon Beyer Gewurztraminer Reserve: Its intense bouquet displays rich aromas of fruit, flowers and spices. Powerful and seductive.

Les Grandes Cuvees

The Grandes Cuvees wines are selected from the two Eguisheim Grands Crus, Eichberg and Pfersigberg and marketed under the Comtes d'Eguisheim and Les Ecalliers designations, with no mention of any Grand Cru status. They are only made in great vintages. Fully mature, these wines are of exceptional quality. The Grandes Cuvees currently cost Euro 22,50 ex-winery, except for the Riesling Les Ecalliers (Euro 15).

2003 Leon Beyer Riesling Les Ecaillers: Fresh lime and peach in the nose lead to juicy, bright wet tones, cherry pit-inflected palate and a tight-focused, long and decidedly mineral finish.

2003 Leon Beyer Riesling Comtes d’Eguisheim: Fresh aromas of lemon and stony minerality with a suggestion of exotic fruits. Offers lovely richness and sweetness of lime and mint flavor, with an exhilarating sugar/acid balance. Very concentrated, dense, classic Riesling with a long life ahead of it.

2000 Leon Beyer Gewuerztraminer Comtes d’Eguisheim: Incredibly mature, remarkable fruit, stunning quality.

Les Vendages Tardives et Selection de Grains Nobles

Maison Leon Beyer has quite a number of these lusciously sweet wines in the portfolio. I counted 11 on the list, including an 1983 Gewuertztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles for Euro 1992.

Selection de Grains Nobles wines are even sweeter and richer than vendange tardive wines. They are harvested very late and the botrytised grapes are literally being picked one by one. They go very well with Foie Gras or very rich meals and desserts. These rare nectars have an enormous aging potential.

1998 Leon Beyer Gewuerztraminer Vendages Tardives: Very pure, dried pear, honey and apricot flavors accented by cinnamon. Concentrated and sweet, balanced by lively acidity, it shows heat on the finish.

schiller-Wine: Related Postings

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace

The World Class Wines of Alsace

1. International Riesling Symposium, Rheingau, Germany

In the glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

Jean Trimbach and the Wines of Maison Trimbach in Washington DC

1st International Riesling Symposium, Rheingau, Germany

Aging Potential of Riesling – A Wine Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium in Germany Led by Jancis Robinson

Thursday, January 20, 2011

President Obama Serves a “German” Riesling at State Dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao

Pictures: Official Picture of President Obama and First Lady Michelle with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House in Washington DC and German Winemaker Armin Diel in Berlin

President Obama and First Lady Michelle honored Chinese President Hu Jintao with a State Dinner on Wednesday, Janaury 15 in the White House. The 225 guests were scattered in three rooms in the White House: Blue, Red, State, with the presidents eating in the State Dining room seated in a long table seating 20. Three wines were served, including a late harvest wine from Washington State, produced in a joint venture with German star wine maker Armin Diel.

Unlike the other state dinners in the Obama White House, this time there was no guest chef, with White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford in charge. He created a "quintissentially American" state dinner menu for Chinese president Hu Jintao at the request of his delegation, the Blog Obama Foodorama reports.

The entertainment was provided by Herbie Hancock, Chris Botti, Lang Lang, Dianne Reeves and Dee Dee Bridgewater.

The Menu

D'Anjou Pear Salad with Farmstead Goat Cheese
Fennel, black walnuts and white balsamic

Poached Maine Lobster, Orange glaze carrots and black trumpet mushrooms
wine--DuMOL Chardonnay "Russian River" 2008

Lemon sorbet

Dry aged rib eye with buttermilk crisp onions
Double stuffed potatoes and creamed spinach
wine--Quilceda Creek Cabernet "Columbia Valley" 2005

Old fashioned apple pie with vanilla ice cream
wine-- Poet's Leap Riesling "botrytis" 2008

The Wines

DuMOL Chardonnay "Russian River" 2008

DuMOL is a biodynamically farmed Estate Vineyard located on 30 acres of east-facing slopes within the cool Green Valley sub-appellation of Sonoma’s historic Russian River Valley. Founded 1996, DuMOL produces a stellar lineup of highly-acclaimed Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. Partners Kerry Murphy, Andy Smith and Michael Verlander prefer to lead a low profile and let their wines speak for themselves. Their newly constructed, state-of-the-art wine making facility is powered by the sun.

Quilceda Creek Cabernet "Columbia Valley" 2005

Quilceda Creek is a boutique winery dedicated exclusively to the production of world-class Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded in 1979 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin, Quilceda Creek has had an unbroken string of highly-rated vintages that has led Robert Parker Jr. to name it Washington State's premier Cabernet Sauvignon producer. Although the winery facility is located west of the Cascade Range, the winery sources all of its grapes from six vineyards in eastern Washington.

Poet's Leap Riesling "botrytis", Long Shadows and Diel Estate 2008

Long Shadows has become, in a short time, one of the premier wineries in Washington State . It is an unusual set up. Former Stimson-Lane CEO Allen Shoup works with renowned winemakers from around the world for this venture. Each winemaker creates a single wine using Washington fruit. Add resident winemaker Gilles Nicault to shepherd all of the wines along.

The Poet’s Leap Riesling is made by Armin Diel, one of Germany’s most highly regarded Riesling producers. I met Armin recently in Berlin. His family has owned the celebrated estate of Schlossgut Diel in Burg Layen in the Nahe river valley since 1802. Schlossgut Diel is international renowned for its white wines, predominately Rieslings, across a wide range of styles. Armin Diel is also one of Germany’s leading wine writers. Armin and his wife Monika live in Burg Layen. Their daughter Caroline just completed her studies in enology in Geisenheim,Germany’s UC Davis equivalent, and is now co-managing the winery in the Nahe valley.

Developing noble rot (botrytis) in Washington is not easy and Gilles Nicault and Armin Diel have only been able to make this wine in one previous vintage (2005). It’s fermented with Sauternes yeasts, and the fermentation is long and cool to maintain freshness and vibrancy. The acids in the 2008 white are perfect to balance all that delicious residual sugar.

I have reported about the Poet's Leap Riesling here.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Wine ratings: Two American/German wines - Eroica and Poet's Leap - on Top 100 Wines from Washington State list for 2009

Germany's Grosses Gewaechs Wines - Premiere 2010 in Berlin

Aging Potential of Riesling – A Wine Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium in Germany Led by Jancis Robinson

The Wines Served at President Obama's State Dinner for Mexican President Calderon

Wine event: The Wines at the 2009 Nobel Peace Price Banquet in Honor of President Obama.

Wine Event: The Wines served at President's Obama State Dinner of the Indian Prime Minister

Wine Event: Wines served at the 2009 Nobel Prize Banquet in Stockholm

Wine Event: President Obama and the First Lady eat at the "Green" Restaurant Nora and have a "Green" Spottswoode Wine

Benzinger Wines Served at the "Green" 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tsiky – Charming Restaurant in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Serving Good Food and Malagasy Wines

Pictures: Christian G.E.Schiller with Manager and Owner Herintsoa Dany Rakotoson at Tsiky.

Generally, one can eat exceptionally well in Antananarivo, at very, very reasonable prices. When it comes to wine, you definitely find a very good selection of mainly French and South African wines in virtually all restaurants. Regrettably, many of these restaurants do not serve Malagasy wine, although Madagascar produces its own wine. Of course, the Malagasy wines are no grand cru wines, but wines which I think can compete with the vin de maison you get in a typical Bistro in France.

However, there are exceptions – restaurants in Antanananariov, where you can eat well and enjoy Malagasy wine. I have issued my list of favorites here. One of my favorite restaurants in Antananarivo is Tsiky, a place, where tourists typically do not go and expatriates with a good salary stay away from. But I went there on a regular basis when I used to live in Madagascar and often go there when I am back in Tana. Tsiky is one of my long-time Antananarivo favorites.

Wining and Dining in Madagascar

The food in Madagascar is mainly French-Malagasy. French food ranges from basic Bistro food to high-end Restaurant food. If you like French food, you are just right in Madagascar. You can eat in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, just as well as in Paris, but at considerably lower prices.

The traditional Malagasy food is rice 3 times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a bit of meat or fish, and Analamao (bok choy-type greens). The Malagasy eat this with a spoon and a fork - no knife.

Turning to wine, Madagascar produces wine. This is not well known outside the country. The vineyards are in the Betsileo area in the highlands and total about 800 hectares. This compares with 100.000 hectares in Germany or South Africa. I always try to drink Malagasy wine. The wine tends to be of good quality, but does not reach a level that it could be marketed internationally.

For imported wines, practically nothing was available in the 1980s, when I first set foot on the red island. That changed in the following years and French wine became readily available in supermarkets and restaurants. The most recent development is the influx of South African wine, which began perhaps a decade ago.

Picture: View of Antananarivo from Tsiky

I lived in Antananarivo from 1989 to 1992 and have visited Antananarivo since then on average every other year. My last visit was in 2010. Since the days of my first visit, the restaurant scene in Antananarivo has changed dramatically. As the country has opened up to the rest of the world and has become more flexible vis a vis foreign capital and know-how, a sizable number of new restaurants has emerged in Antananario. At the same time, many of the old-style restaurants are still around.

I have published two lists of Christian G.E. Schiller’s restaurants in Antananarivo. First, a comprehensive list of Antananarivo’s restaurants was released on November 3, 2010 on Schiller Wine. I rated the Antananarivo restaurants from 1 to 5 stars. You find the list here. Second, I published a list of about a dozen restaurants in Antananarivo, where you can eat well and also drink Malagasy wine with your food. Generally, you have to go below the 4 and 5 stars level in order to be served Malagasy wine with your French and/or Malagasy food. You find the list here.


The Place

Very charming Malagasy restaurant with an inviting ambiance. When I had lunch there last year, they had piano music. This is not a regular feature, I understand, but quite frequently during lunch. I rate Tsiky as a two-star restaurant.

Picture: Piano Music during lunch time at Tsiky

Tsiky is a restaurant that you do not find in any of the popular guides. But I believe it is one of the best places for French and Malagasy food at budget prices in an environment that has in my view a lot of class. In addition, I find it annoying that all the top restaurants in Antananarivo do not carry any Malagasy wines on their list. Tsiky, by contrast, does not serve any imported wine, but only Malagasy wine.

The Food

It has a two pages menu with one page Malagasy food and one page classical French bistro food. As for the former, I can recommend the Romazava for Ariary 7000. Most Malagasy dishes are in this price range. Last time, I had gambas grilles for Ariary 10.000 and my wife a pave de Zebu a la Sauce Roquefort, also for Ariary 10.000. We finished with Banane flambee for Ariary 3.500.

Christian G.E.Schiller having lunch at Tsiky

The Wines

The wine list is straightforward. No imported wine. Only local wine – Coteaux d’ Ambalavao and Cote de Fianar, red, white, gray and rose, in 0.75 and 0.375 bottles. The Coteaux d’Ambalavao is Ariary 11.000 in the 0.75 liter bottle and the Cote de Fianar Ariary 7.000. Both are produced by the Chinese Chan Fui et Fils. They produce three lines of wine: Coteaux d’Ambalavoa, Cote de Fianar and Beauvallon.

Picture: Cote de Fianar at Tsiky

Tsiky Restaurant
12 Rue Robin Ramelina - Atsimon'Analakely Antananarivo-Ville 101.
Tél: (+261 20) 22 283 87
Fax: (+261 20) 22 280 61
Manager and Owner: Herintsoa Dany Rakotoson

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Restaurant and Hotel AKOA – An Oasis of Tranquility in the Buzzing Third World City Antananarivo in Madagascar

Wining and Dining in Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar – Christian G.E. Schiller’s Private List of Restaurants in Antananarivo

The Wines of Madagascar - Good and Interesting Table Wines

Christian G.E.Schiller’s Private List of Restaurants in Antananarivo That Serve Malagasy Wine

Monday, January 17, 2011

Austria’s Best Red Wines - Falstaff RotweinGuide 2010/2011

Pictures: Christian G.E.Schiller with Silvia Prieler (above) and Peter Moser with the 3 Winners of the falstaff Prizes Andi Kollwentz, Clemens and Waltraud Reisner-Igler, Georg and Silvia Prieler (below).

The Fallstaff RotweinGuide 2010/11, an wine guide for Austrian red wine only, was released in early December 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

The Falstaff jury tasted about 1500 Austrian red wines of the vintages 2008 and 2007. The best wines went into the second round, where (1) the 3 overall winners (Falstaff winners) and (2) the 3 winners in each group of the major grape varieties were selected. In addition, (3) the 3 winners of the Donau Versicherung Reserve-Trophy were selected; these were aged wines from the 2007 vintage, released a year later than the other wines.

Austria’s Red Wine Boom

At first thought one might think of Austria’s climate as being quite cool for red wine. In the Alps and the western and northern reaches of the country this tends to be true. The eastern plains that border Hungary and Slovenia, however, are a different story. Yes, Austria has an international reputation for its white wines, but the reds have been improving. Like in Germany, in Austria there has been a revolution going on in terms of red wines in recent years. In both countries, red wine now accounts for about 1/3 of the wine production.

There are 3 key Austrian red grape varieties, although others are also grown, including international grapes. Zweigelt accounts for 9.0 % of Austria’s total production, Blaufraenkisch for 5.5 % and Blauer Portugieser 5.0 %. All other red grape varieties - including the international grapes Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah as well as St. Lauren - are below 2 percent each of Austria’s wine production.

Zwiegelt: The most abundant red grape; makes good wines ranging from simple cherry fruit reds to more substantial reds destined for aging.

Blaufränkisch: Common in Burgenland, this makes spicy, sturdy, berry fruited reds which can have some tannic structure. Probably Austria’s best red grape.

Blauer Portugieser: This red grape makes soft, approachable, juicy wines mainly for early consumption. The most widely planted red grape but not for top quality wines.

St. Laurent: Came from France in the mid-19th century, and seems to have substantial Pinot Noir parentage. It makes soft, slight herby, expressive reds; it’s a bit like Pinot Noir.

The 3 Falstaff Winners

The 3 Fallstaff winners are those wines which scored the highest points among all rated wines. It should not come as a surprise that the first and the second place went to two Blaufraenkisch wines from Burgenland. The wine with the third highest score was the number one cuvee wine.

1. 2008 Blaufränkisch Mittelburgenland DAC Reserve Biiri, Weingut Hans Igler, Deutschkreutz, Burgenland. “An ideal combination of grape variety and terroir.’ says Falstaff Editor-in-Chief Peter Moser.

2. Leithaberg DAC Weingut Prieler, Schützen am Gebirge, Burgenland. I had a lovely lunch with Silvia Prieler from Weingut Prieler a few months ago in Burgenland. She is such a charming lady and the Prieler wines are just outstanding. I reported about my lunch here. Weingut Prieler was the Falstaff winemaker of the year in 2009.

3. 2008 Steinzeiler , Weingut Kollwentz, Großhöflein.

Donau Versicherung Reserve Trophy

This award is for wines that have spent more time aging before being released. Again, the two top wines are Blaufraenkisch wines.

1. Blaufränkisch Bühl 2007, Claus Preisinger
2. Blaufränkisch Mariental 2007, Ernst Triebaumer
3. Bärnreiser Reserve 2007, Philipp Grassl

Blaufränkisch 2008

1. Mittelburgenland DAC Reserve Biiri, Weingut Hans Igler (1. Falstaff-Sieger 2010)
2. Leithaberg DAC, Weingut Prieler (2. Falstaff-Sieger 2010)
3. Blaufränkisch Jungenberg, Markus Altenburger

Cuvée 2008

1. Steinzeiler, Weingut Kollwentz (3. Falstaff-Sieger 2010)
2. Anna-Christina, Franz Netzl
3. Antares Grande Reserve, Richard Zahel

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Christine and Franz Netzl in Washington DC.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Alexander Skoff, Weingut Zahel in Vienna. Alexander Skoff, the nephew of Richard Zahel, is managing the cellar, the vineyards, customer support as well as the net activities of Weingut Zahel.

Pinot Noir 2008

1. Pinot Noir Dürr, Weingut Kollwentz
2. Pinot Noir Reserve, Gerhard Markowitsch
3. Pinot Noir 2008, Weingut Pöckl

St. Laurent 2008

1. St. Laurent Altenberg, Walter Glatzer
2. St. Laurent Reserve, Erich Sattler
3. St. Laurent Reserve, Philipp Grassl

Merlot 2008

1. Merlot Rotundo, Weingut Gottschuly-Grassl
2. Merlot Privatkeller, Schloss Gobelsburg
3. Merlot »m«, Uwe Schiefer

Syrah 2008

1. Syrah 2008, Johannes Trapl
2. Syrah 2008, Fam. Artner
3. Syrah 2008, Erich Scheiblhofer

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

1. Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Erich Scheiblhofer
2. Cabernet Sauvignon Tribun, Franz Taferner
3. Cabernet Sauvignon Kart, Hans Igler

Zweigelt 2008

1. Zweigelt Gigama, Franz Leth
2. Zweigelt Schwarz Rot, Hans Schwarz
3. Zweigelt Pannobile, Claus Preisinger

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Austria's 17 Best Zweigelt Wines - The 2010 Wein.pur List

Wine ratings: Austria's best red wines - 2010

Welcome to America: Franz and Christine Netzl Estate, Carnuntum, Austria

The 2010 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna

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Willi Klinger Leads Tasting of Austria's Undiscovered Stars at EWBC 2010 in Vienna

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