Monday, July 9, 2012

Burgenland?


I wrestle with what to include/exclude on our menu of drinking options.  There are so many wonderful wines, brews and spirits.  I see the list changing often and with emphasis on the more limited production and owner operated products.  This alone is worthy of its own post.

My time at Pike & Western wine shop and their new sister, Soul Wine, helped open my palate in ways I can never repay.  I often rely upon recommendations from their spirited team to introduce me to the latest and greatest. 

Meet the 2009 Sattler St. Laurent from Burgenland, retails for around $20 +/-.  I had never heard of Burgenland before this wine and I couldn’t be happier to know such a place exists after trying it.  Burgenland is Austria’s most Eastern province and joined the Republic only in 1921.  Before that, they were under Hungarian administration and referred to as “Western Hungary” or “Vierburgenland”, that means four castle land.

Erich Sattler is part of a fourth generation winemaking family taking the helm around 1999.  If you’re ever in the neighborhood and want to visit them check out  http://www.erichsattler.at/Default.aspx

A bit about the grape: St. Laurent is a highly aromatic dark-skinned wine grape from the same family as Pinot Noir, originating in France.  It is the most widely planted red variety in the Czech Republic.  In Austria, it is primarily found in the regions of Niederosterreich and Burgenland.  A small quantity is also grown in New Zealand and the varietal is also finding a small foothold in Canada.

The wines are part of the Terry Theise Collection and his write up was too priceless not to share…

“Three days’ bottled when I saw it, but its juicy velvety texture was lovely and the sweet plum fruit gives a forthright tasty wine with substance and discretion. Though the texture is almost creamy, the quality of fruit is dry and leans in the Mourvedre direction. 

I had a jar of some truffle goop and wanted to make use of it. Then I thought of Bouloud’s black-truffle and foie burger, and I thought I too can be decadent, so we got some ground veal and made us some slutty patties with the truffle stuff, and just to totally gild the lily we stuffed a pat of Dartagnan black truffle butter in the middle of each, tomelt as the burgers cooked. Oh yeah baby, it tastes as good as it sounds – and the wine to drink with it is precisely, absolutely specifically and particularly a “basic” St. Laurent, assuming you can’t find a decent basic Chorey-Les-Beaune, or would rather pay half its price. 

The bigger “reserve” St. Laurent would have too much fruit, and maybe oak would show, and these wicked little burgers don’t need all that mojo – they have their own. What they need is a yummy wine that knows how to be a straight-man and let the food get the laughs. 

We’re all insanely busy stretching towards the stellar; we really got to rawk the carafe, but if I stand for anything in this lil’ wine-life of mine, it is to insist we learn to cherish wines of modesty. It will make us more kind. It will help us understand the beauty of the humble. It will save us money! 

I have a fantasy that somewhere up on a stage, some international wine mega-star, Guigal comes to mind, is getting a big ostentatious trophy for attaining an average “score” of 98.3 points for his $300+ wines, but back in the big general tasting they’re cleaning up, and a guy approaches some Rhône grower whose $12 Cotes-du-Rhône gave him pleasure, and he says to the grower, “Thank you for this wine, it makes me happy.” No question in my mind where I’d rather be, and who I’d rather be.

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