Analog Wines For the Digital Age

Friday, April 29, 2011

Austrian Tasting at Elvino (all weekend long!)

Come on down to Elvino and taste the following wines with me! Tonight, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon/evening.

1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, Ca

2009 BERNHARD OTT, Grüner Veltliner “Am Berg”
A unique are, the Wagram is a cliff-like formation paralleling the Danube River, running east-west some one to ten miles from its banks. The formation is actually the remnants of the Danube’s ancient shoreline, left behind as the river moved south-east towards what is now Vienna. A string of picturesque towns sit at the base of the cliffs, while terraced vineyards grow above and in the hills that continue beyond. Most of the soil is loess, perfect feeding ground for Grüner Veltliner.

Bernhard Ott has built a considerable reputation in Austria for his Grüner Veltliner, the county’s premier white grape. In 2005 Ott committed to biodynamic farming, and according to importer Bill Mayer, the change has given the winemaker more peace as he spends his time in the vineyards. The grapes for this wine come from fruit grown at various sites on the "Berg" (the terraced vineyards above Feuresbrunn). The wine delivers the classic scents of white pepper, green apples and pears, with bright golden apple fruit, refreshing minerality on the palate wrapped up with a zesty, citrusy finish. “Exquisite lightness, fresh and crisp, casual and surprisingly adult.” says Bernhard. Tasting Tip of the Day: Try a zesty Gruner with your next sushi dinner. -Biodynamic-
2006 STADLMANN, Rotgipfler
The Stadlmanns have been growing vines in the Thermenregion (Thermal Region), south of Vienna, for seven generations. Intrinsically linked to this region, each successor has built upon the wealth of experience, experimentation and expertise from family members prior, leading to a vast knowledge of the Thermenregion and its unique terroir.

Well-regulated influences from the Pannonian basin determine the climate from the south and east while the Anninger Mountains block the cold winds from the north and west. A wide variety of well irrigated and warmed soils (natural hot springs dot the landscape) ranging from lime interspersed soil to sandy clay to alluvial rubble makes the Thermenregion one of the few winegrowing regions in the world able to produce noble white wines and full-bodied red wines, as well as elegant sweet wines of world-class quality.

A unique and traditional variety of the Thermenregion, Rotgipfler’s name is derived from the reddish coloring of the vine's bud in the springtime. Winemaking focuses on the purity and clearness of its distinctive fruity character, with aromas suggesting ripe pear, baked apple and orange tea and exotic fruit flavors balanced with cleansing acidity and minerality.
-Certified Organic-
2007 STEFAN BAUER , Zweigelt
This wine is made by Stefan Bauer, a winemaker whose reputation is on the rise in Austria, and whose Zweigelt (a hybrid of two indigenous Austrian varietals, St. Laurent & Blaufrankisch) has become a favorite at Elvino. Known as a serious young man, Bauer works reductively; meaning, he does everything he can in the vineyard to produce healthy and ripe grapes, then, the work done, he does as little as has possible in the cellar, the idea being everything he has to do there makes the wine “less good”.
Good plummy fruit here with white pepper and subtle smoky notes adding a touch of complexity. Can’t decide between Pinot Noir or Syrah? Next time reach for a Zweigelt!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Found this inner courtyard of a palazzo in Verona just by following my nose . . .

Wisteria or Glicine in Italian and every side of the courtyard was covered with this vine that must have been over 100 years old. A great way to start the day!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tasting wine @ VinoVinoVino in Cerea (how do you say "po'dunk cow-town" in Veneto?) and all our old friends and some new ones are here . . .

New vintages of Ronco Severo are on the way. But I am not sure which wines yet.

I tasted all the whites but really love the reds so we will have to see.

Ooooh, what's that? Costadila` 450 SLM in magnum with a cool new screwcap?

And really, when you get the chance to taste a whole bunch of vintages of Emidio Pepe . . . who would turn that down? By far, the best of the reds was the 2005 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and the best of the whites was the 2002!

You can tell you are in a city in Italy when . . .

when the guy across the courtyard is drying his fish caught in the river underneath his water heater on the balcony. Nice.

Yes, they still have these in Italy and yes, they still are very difficult to manage . . .

especially when you have half a gallon of wine in you.
Although, as Italian toilet holes go, this one was pretty darn clean!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

For all my friends from the Monte Cengio, Padova, days, over 20 years ago, here is a blast from the past!

My good friend, Max M'bassado Marzio, came to visit me in Verona and we wandered around and had dinner in the University area. It was great to see him and shoot the breeze. Hopefully he will make it to L.A. this year to meet the babies and his little buddy Max, who will want to chase him around and play soccer with him.

My new transportation in Italy is the Fiat 500 . . .

which is making its way to our shores as we speak since Fiat now owns 1/2 of Chrysler. It is pretty fun to drive!

Lunch with Francesca Vaira at Terroni DTLA . . . best lunch ever!

Francesca Vaira  2010 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library  2006 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library 2014 Luigi Ba...