Dienstag, 24. Februar 2009

Boku Heim tasting Midweek tasting

Two wines are featured in this weeks tasting. Two totally different white wines. A mineral-driven  Riesling from the Rheingau and a buttery, full bodied Chardonnay. Anyway both are real value-for-money wines.

1. Riesling "trocken" 2007 from Weingut Prinz von Hessen - good - €10
rather pale hue, pure minerality on the nose, hints of quinces, obvious german acid structure, very distinctive, a bit short.

2. Chardonnay "Barrique" 2006 from Weingut Esterhazy - good - €7,99
peaches and pears, buttery mellow nose underlined with well integrated oak flavors, bit one dimensional, oak tannins not fully integrated on the palate, soft, could do with a bit more acid structure.

Donnerstag, 19. Februar 2009

Annual winemakers tasting

Yesterday I attended the annual winemakers tasting of the new vintage in my hometown Halbturn. The tasting was hosted by the vintners association and headed by the regional government consultant for viticulture and enology.

All wines were grouped by variety and tasted blind. Everybody had a scorecard (20 points rating system, the one and only tasting each year where I am being forced to rate wines with points) and the wines were discussed afterwards by the viticultural consultant. The ranking has no market relevance but it is important within the village and I strongly believe that´s the same in every winemaking country.

tasting notes legend
variety/winery/word rating/my points/consultants points/tasting notes

Note: all wines were from 2008!

1. Welschriesling Heinz Thury - ok - 11/17
doesn´t smell fresh, no CO2 visible, ripe yellow apples, acid ok.

2. WR Josef Grösz - good - 13/18
CO2, rather broad and mellow, some residual sugar.

3. WR Josef Unger - good/very good - 14,5/18,5
CO2, fresh and fruity, lemon/lime flavors, shows nice fruit on the palate, good acid structure.

4. WR Harald Kiss - yech - -/16
dark golden hue (fresh wine??), unclean, strong smell of peanuts, moldy.

5. WR Heinz Thury - good - 13,5/17,5
CO2, hay and apple flavors, good acid structure.

6. WR Franz Schneider, EF Straße - good/very good - 14,5/17,5
CO2, fruity and fresh, Granny Smith apples, good acid structure.

7. WR Franz Tischler - ok - 11/16,5
ripe,  bit CO2 visible, some phenolic compounds on the palate.

8. WR Josef Stadler - ok/good - 12,5/16,5
quite ripe flavors, much color, broad and some parts RS.

9. WR Josef Etl - ok - 11/18
cloudy, quite neutral on the nose, residual sugar.

10. Rhine Riesling Alois Schuster - ok - 11/18
peach, high in acidity, short, unbalanced.

11. Cuvée White Josef Etl - ok - 12/16,5
white bread, hints of Muscat, residual sugar.

12. Yellow Muscatel Alois Schuster - ok/good - 12,5/17
quite neutral, bouquet improves with O2, fruity on the palate, good acid structure.

13. Sparkling wine Harald Kiss - ok - 11/17
hints of unlcean flavors, sweet, bit undefined.

14. Chardonnay Josef Unger - good - 14/17
buttery, melon, exotic fruit cocktail, smooth, good acid structure.

15. CH Heinz Thury - good - 13/17,5
restrained,  CO2, cold fermentation flavors, balanced, good acid structure.

16. CH Franz Tischler - ok/good - 12,5/16,5
highly colored, honey, bees wax, some green unripe flavors on the palate, acid ok, decreases with O2.

17. CH Franz Schneider, Budapester Str. - yech - -/15
unclean, very reductive, rotten egg, mercaptane.

18. CH Alois Schuster - ok - 12/18
bit buttery, exotic fruits, good acid, short.

19. CH Josef Etl - ok/good - 12,5/17
bit reductive but blows of very quickly, flinty, some exotic notes, acid ok.

20. CH Josef Stadler - ok - 11/17
bit reductive, CO2, ripe flavors, phenolic, short.

21. CH Bernhard Lang - ox - -/16,5
very ripe yellow apples, aldehydic, oxidative.

22. CH Josef Etl - ok - 11,5/16,5
pure butter, very oaky, just wood on the palate, very smooth, overpowered, nearly oxidative.

23. Pinot Blanc Josef Unger - good/very good - 14,5/18
strong scents of pear, bit buttery, flinty, good acid structure, lingering.

24. Sauvignon Blanc Hein Thury - ok - 11 /16
cotton candy, cold fermentation flavors, atypical, phenolic on the palate, unripe notes.

25. SB Franz Schneider, EF Str. - good - 14/16,5
CO2, fresh, fruity, asparagus, canned peas, good acid.

26. SB Alois Schuster - good - 13/17,5
some green hints, box hedge, canned peas.

27. Sb Josef Stadler - ok - 11/15
bit reductive, atypical, rather phenolic on the palate.

28. Rosé Heinz Thury - ok - 11,5/16,5
very pale red, hints of strawberries, cotton candy, bit phenolic.

29. Rosé Franz Tischler - ok - 11/16,5
quite pink, strawberries, bit MLF flavors, not fruity on the palate, phenolic, definitely drained.

30. Zweigelt Josef Stadler - ok - 11/18
restrained fruit, purple, nearly black color, MLF notes, bit cloudy, on the threshold to oxidation.

31. ZW Alois Schuster - ok/good - 12,5/17,5
sour cherries, MLF notes, fruity but with some green edges on the palate.

32. ZW Heinz Thury - ok - 12/17,5
fruity, cherries, soft but very thin.

33. ZW Franz Tischler - ok - 11,5/ 17
just MLF aroma, smooth palate, tannin structure ok.

34. ZW Josef Etl - ok/good - 12,5/18
sour cherries, quite dense tannin structure, fruity on the palate but on the threshold to oxidation.

35. ZW Lehendorf Alois Schuster - good - 14/18
dark red color, MLF notes, extract sweetness, maybe a bit RS too, acid structure good, bit alcoholic.

36. ZW Josef Grösz - very good - 16/17
fruity, Cassis, extract sweetness, lingering.

37. ZW Josef Stadler - ok - 12/17,5
brownish color, bell pepper, CS touch, quite green on the palate, atypical.

38. ZW Josef Unger - good - 13,5/18
toasted oak, ways too young, mocca, very structured, lingering.

39. ZW Josef Grösz - ok/good - 12,5/17,5
cherries and sour cherries, simple but ok on the palate.

40. Pinot Noir Franz Tischler - ok - 11/17
stinky, bit reductive, strawberry touch.

41. Saint Laurent Josef Grösz - still ok - 10,5/17,5
just MLF aroma, Pinot-like color, bit dull.

42. SL Franz Schneider, Budapester Str. - ok - 11/-
sour cherries, iodine, soft but thin, pronounced acid.

43. Blaufränkisch Franz Tischler - still ok - 10,5/17,5
iodine, bit reductive, hints of sour cherries, very simple, decreases rapidly with O2.

44. BF Alois Schuster - ok - 11,5/16,5
brownish color, rather atypical, some spices on the palate, tannin structure ok.

45. BF Heinz Thury - ok - 11/17,5
perfumed, overripe flavors, dried fruits, fruits in rum, bit acetone.

46. BF Alois Schuster - ok - 11/18,5
MLF on the nose, yoghurt, acid driven.

47. Merlot Josef Stadler - yech/ox - -/18
deep purple color, acetone, bit Brett, plasticine, very low sulfur, soft.

48. ME Josef Unger - ok/good - 12,5/17,5
oak and spices, smooth tannin but structure ok, bit alcoholic, young.

49. ME Josef Etl - ok/good - 12,5/17
fairly colored, smooth tannins, good tannin structure, some MLF notes.

50. ME Heinz Thury - ok - 11/17
rather neutral, green hints, rather green tannins on the palate.

51. Cabernet Sauvignon Heinz Thury - ok - 11/17
rather pale colored, green, unripe, hard tannins.

52. Syrah Josef Stadler - yech - -/18
car paint, fumes, overripe, nearly oxidative, acetone on the palate.

53. Sweet wine Auslese (do not know the variety) Bernhard Lang - good - 14/17,5
acid/sweetness good balanced, rather neutral on the nose, bit short.

Some participants showed an astonishing lack of tasting competence regarding fault detection. They had not 1 faulty wine on their scorecards!!

Freitag, 13. Februar 2009

The paradox of wine

This week I read an article in „DiePresse.com“ (Im Keller: Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein 2007 « DiePresse.com). It made me think about a few things concerning the wine business. I thought about journalism, winemaking, Emile Peynaud and the question „Why do we need Wine Marketing?“

Examples are very good things and I would like to use an example to explain my thoughts.



A winemaker makes serious changes in his vineyard management system and cellar work. As result his wines do not ferment until dry - of course the wine shows a lower alcohol level but with a residual sugar level above 12 g/l. Wine does not need any interference by man. Wine creates itself. 

Antithesis: (from „The taste of wine“ by Prof. Emile Peynaud 1996, p289ff)

There are several kinds of quality. I would like to refer to the innate quality - which corresponds to natural factors and acquired quality - provided by the intervention of man. Prof. Peynaud points out that nothing is completely innate in a processed product of agricultural origin. Natural condition are only potentially, in effect everything has to be acquired, discovered or invented.

Without choosing the location, constant work in the vineyards, without drainage and improvements there would be no good soils for wine and no production of quality grapes. It is man who has chosen the grape variety and for the wine itself, it is a direct product of man´s labor. The quality of the wine depends on the choice of a method of vinification and how it is carried out.

Essentially, quality only exists if it is desired, sought after, patiently waited for; it is not a free gift. Prof. Peynaud cannot agree with the view that „one accepts human intervention (in vinification), as long as it allows the natural charateristics to remain intact,“ since it is precisely human intervention which has created and highlighted this so-called natural charateristics! 

Baron Le Roy: „Quality can be endlessly improved because it is essentially the work of man.“

BUT: Preventive enology is always better than curative enology as emphasized in the phrase: "Vinify in such a way that the wine will have to undergo no treatments other than clarification."

This paradox leads directly to our initial question. „Why do we need Wine Marketing?“


What can our winemaker - sorry, he does not want to be called a winemaker - wine attentand do?? As many people do not know very much about wine it is the task of the producer (beside some other institutions) to train the consumer. Consumers demanding higher qualities in wines are creating higher quality wines!

But the wine attendant, together with our journalist, creates an article which falsely informs the consumers. Wine does not need the interference of man. High residual sugar levels are due to this year circumstances. Nature did not want to create a dry wine! But if the consumers do not have profund knowlegde about vineyard management, vinification, tasting expertise ... they are not going to demand higher quality wines which is in fact quite good in our example as it would lead to decreasing sales. 

Last but not least two of my favorite statements of Prof. Emile Peynaud:

„Quality exists only in relation to the individual judge and then only in as far as he has the ability to perceive it and approve it.“

„The quality of wine has no existence on its own since it is dependent on the quality of the consumer. Everyone drinks the wine he of she deserves.“


The taste of wine: The Art and Science of Wine Appreciation - Emile Peynaud - 1996 - ISBN-13:978-0471113768

Mittwoch, 11. Februar 2009

Boku Heim tasting Midweek tasting

Bernhard K. and I tasted 2 Wines in this weeks "Boku Heim tasting". It is very quiet in our student house as this and the next 2 weeks are holidays at BOKU University. Anyway, we´ve got loads to do as Bernhard has to write some papers and I am busy with exams.

1. Pinot Noir "Kreideberg" 2006 from Weingut Wagentristl - good/very good
pale red hue, still purple colored, chalky, Iod, spices and cinnamon on the nose, hints of oak, truffel scent, very smooth tannins, quite lingering but could do with a bit more punch.

2. Shiraz 2003 from Rust en Vrede Estate - good/very good - €24 (Weinplateau Wien)
deep dark red hue, spicy, vanilla, very ripe, hints of fruit in rum, bit meaty but not unpleasant, hints of burnt oak, very powerful on the palate (14,5 %abv), but quite balanced and lingering.
One of my favorite Shiraz form South Africa!