A SECOND SATURDAY TOUR OF EUROPEAN WINE STYLES AND INSPIRATIONS
This Second Saturday, we're uncorking two whites and two reds that are European in origin or inspiration, and versatile for almost any setting. We start with a roter veltliner from Austria, a wine as bright and refreshing as the better-known grüner veltliner, but with a spicy-fruity character that makes it a natural at the winter dinner table. Our second white is pinot gris from Oregon, German-inspired in approach and character, resulting in a velvet texture and beguiling acidity that just might change the way you think about pinot gris. Next is lagrein from northern Italy, where this often-overlooked red grape gets a chance to shine in a dark and delicious way, full of stone and rose notes. Finally, a classical Rhône blend provides an elegant, powerful accompaniment to hearty cold weather roasts and stews.
Leth Roter Veltliner Wagram Hofweingarten 2014
Country: AUSTRIA / Region: WAGRAM / Appellation: WAGRAM/ Varietal(s): ROTER VELTLINER --- While we’re familiar with grüner veltliner (a summer picnic favorite named for its green skin), this wine features the lesser-known, and unrelated roter veltliner (as the name suggests- a red-skinned white wine grape.) Native to the Wagram area of Austria, where it is almost exclusively grown, it produces wines with bright, refreshing character, but with a spicy-fruity element. A unique growing region in the northeast of Austria, the Wagram is distinct in its layered topography - up to 20 meters high - of loam, sand, chalk and loess that Ice Age winds blew over the primary rock base of the Danube. These tiny particles of soil covering bedrock allow the grapevine roots to absorb water and minerals even from great depths, eliminating the need for irrigation and chemical fertilizers. The climate brings major day and night temperature differences, together with cool winds that blow over from the Waldviertel, which lend distinct aromas to the grapes. Clean and crisp, with a touch of lemon zest on the nose, concentrated flavors of apple and orchard fruit and a bit more weight on the palate than grüner make this a great pick for drinking with chickpea stew.
Teutonic Wine Company Pinot Gris Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: OREGON / Appellation: DUNDEE HILLS / Varietal(s): PINOT GRIS--- “All cool climate, all the time” is the motto of Teutonic Wine Company founder Barnaby Tuttle. Graduating from washing dishes (at the age of 12) at Papa Haydn Restaurant in Southeast Portland to general manager and wine steward, it was there he developed a passion for wine, becoming obsessed with esoteric cool-climate wines after crossing paths with German wine importer Ewald Moseler. He then worked as assistant winemaker at Laurel Ridge Winery in Carlton, OR, before starting Teutonic Wine Company with his wife Olga. Recognizing parallels between Germany and his native Portland, Barnaby and Olga began producing wines that emulate that style: lean, low alcohol wines with distinct sense of place and varietal. Using only natural winemaking practices, they access some of Oregon’s most highly-regarded vineyards, including Medici, Maresh (where this pinot gris hails from), David Hill, and Laurel Vineyard. This pinot gris is a delightful sipper, great with food, and equally pleasing on its own. With distinctive aromas of stone fruit, pineapple, kiwi, and exotic tropical flowers, the slightest touch of residual sugar on the palate offers an inviting introduction before turning the show over to racy acidity that both cleanses and lingers on the palate. A gorgeous choice with roast pork loin with onions and potatoes.
Peter Zemmer Lagrein Alto Adige DOC "Raut" 2012
Country: ITALY / Region: ALTO ADIGE / Appellation: ALTO ADIGE DOC / Varietal(s): LAGREIN --- The lagrein grape has for years been on the verge of breaking into mainstream wine consciousness. The wines are known for dark colors and equally dark flavors with a bold tannin structure. Zemmer’s lagrein is oaked, 70% aged for months in large oak barrels, and 30% in small French barriques for 2-3 years. These are then blended, bottled, and further aged for a few months before release. This fantastic version is dark and fragrant, with layers of flavor and texture and a bit of spice on the finish. Wine & Spirits Magazine described it as “Old money country wine” with a “rose and stone finish”; this is perfect with a creamy risotto or roasted meats.
Domaine Montvac Vacqueyras AOC "Arabesque" 2013 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHONE VALLEY / Appellation: VACQUEYRAS AOC / Varietal(s): GRENACHE+SYRAH+MOURVEDRE --- Founded in 1860, and currently farmed by Cecile Dussiere, Domaine de Montvac has been passed from mother to daughter for the past three generations. Trained in classical dance, Cecile then began training with her father, an oenologist, in 1992. With three daughters of her own, the matrilineal tradition of Domaine de Montvac looks to be in good hands. Practicing sustainable agriculture, Domaine de Montvac avoids the use of herbicides or pesticides, and utilizes native yeasts and a light touch to let the grapes realize their maximum potential. This refined blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre displays great aromatic complexity, with flavors of dark fruit, spices, and licorice combining with a fine, powerful tannic structure. This is an elegant accompaniment to roasted red meats and stews like veal stew and Provençal stew.