Thursday, December 12, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Mussels and Frühroter Veltliner

On the eve of a sumptuous holiday feast, something effortless yet elegant will be calling your name, such as Fine Cooking’s Steamed Mussels with Garlic, Parsley and Wine. Festive and light, these steamed mussels are fancy enough for a party and come together very quickly. Don’t forget to serve them with a warm loaf of crusty baguette to sop up the delicious juices.

Photo Credit: Fine Cooking / Scott Phillips
This meal begs for a wine that is light and refreshing. Surprise guests with the charm of the Diwald Frühroter Veltliner, a rare varietal with notes of ripe apple and citrus zest. This lovely white wine has just the right weight and minerality with a punch of herbaceousness to accompany the briny mussels.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wine of the Week - Winegut Diwald Frühroter Veltliner

Frühroter what? Dynamic young winemaker Martin Diwald is really diving into the past, vinifying this rare variety (it currently accounts for less than 1% of all vineyard plantings in Austria) and bringing it to his customers. And it's delicious! Wine Enthusiast awards the current 2018 vintage 92 points, saying:
"Notes of ripe red apple and green pear waft from the glass. The palate swings with ripe apple and a lovely pithy texture that unites citrus pith and zest in a lovely, concentrated fashion. Wonderful expression with tons of freshness. (AK)"
David Schildknecht for Vinous writes of the variety:
“‘I’m very concerned that this traditional, un-modern variety survives’ says Diwald of Frühroter Veltliner, and the present example helps make his case for that grape (whose parents are Sylvaner and Roter Veltliner)...’Frühroter Veltliner likes cool years,’ explains Diwald – which one hopes won’t be part of its undoing – and he shakes his head at the fact that he felt forced to pick his Frühroter Veltliner on the first of September in 2017, a week before we met to taste this 2016. I presume that the authorities will let this wine’s delightful name – which means ‘Thief’s Nest’ – stand as a bit of ‘fantasy’ rather than viewing it as an unregistered, illegitimate vineyard designate."

Paula and Hans Diwald pioneered their winery’s conversion to completely organic viticulture during a time when chemicals and additives were prominent in winemaking. In 1980, the Diwalds converted their 4 hectare farm into a vineyard. After some trial and error with chemical fertilizers, the two made the decision to farm organically in order to improve the quality of their fruit. Today Martin Diwald leads the second generation of the family’s commitment to producing wine that reflects Wagram’s environment, resources, and land.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Brettljause

While a holiday ski trip to the Alps may or may not be in the cards this season, you can always bring the Alps home to you by way of its scrumptious food and wine. One dish you’ll find many ski-goers enjoying after a long day on the slopes is Brettljause, a hearty snack served on a wooden board made up of a variety of cold cuts, cheeses, spreads, pickled vegetables and a lovely bread basket. Following the traditional recipe at Strudel & Schnitzel, it can easily be replicated at home.

Photo Credit: Strudel and Schnitzel

An indispensable part of the Tyrolean culinary culture, this versatile snack platter begs for a Tyrolean wine that is light and full of flavor. Enter the Erbhof Unterganzner St. Magdalener Sudtirol, a fresh and elegant red wine that is an ideal companion for a variety of dishes. Its harmonious balance between tannins and acidity for finger foods and light antipasti.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Jean-Louis Chave ‘Mon Coeur’ Named Top Value

Hot on the heels of Wine Spectator featuring famed Rhône producer Jean-Louis Chave on its December cover, the magazine has now named one of his wines as a Best Value pick for 2019. How can a producer this illustrious produce a value wine? It comes courtesy of his Sélection portfolio, bottlings that come from grapes not grown on the Chave estate (though he does have long-standing contracts with all his growers and oversees every bit of the viticultural process as closely as they were his own vines). Enter the 2017 Chave Sélection Côtes-du-Rhône "Mon Coeur," as a 90-point red that retails for under $25. As reviewer James Molesworth writes:
"Bold dark cherry compote flavors are liberally laced with violet, savory and singed anise notes, showing a nice flash of warm earth through the finish."

Congratulations to Chave for their continued success!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Wine of the Week - Erbhof Unterganzner St. Magdalener Sudtirol

As we approach the darkest day of the year, let us offer you a little something to brighten your spirits. Hailing from the South Tyrol region of Italy, the Erbhof Unterganzner St. Magdalener Sudtirol brings a little bit of flair to the table. Composed of mainly Schiava, with a splash of Lagrein for color and body, this is a lighter red that still contains a ton of personality. As Josephus Mayr from the Tenuta
Chairman of the Consortium for the protection of St. Magdalener wine says: “The St. Magdalener is a real all-rounder. Many people prefer to enjoy the wine with a meal but it is also popular as a wine to be drunk with a group of friends.” And just your luck, we happen to import Mayr's St. Magdalener. Pop a bottle and lighten up your day!


Erbhof Unterganzner was purchased by Simon Mayr in 1629 and the dedication and devotion of winemaking has been passed down for over ten generations. It is located 285 meters above sea level near the Isarco River in the predominantly German-speaking region of Trentino-Alto Adige in the north of Italy. The higher altitude of the vineyard provides excellent air circulation, which optimizes vine and grape health. Loose alluvial soil gives ideal drainage, as well as warming quickly in the spring, promoting flowering and fruit set. These conditions combine for advantageous vineyard siting, and the location is ideal for growing the traditional grapes of the area.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Recipe Wednesday: Thanksgiving Time

Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker
Last week, we explored the idea of bucking tradition and serving something other than turkey as the centerpiece meal this Thanksgiving. From stuffed veal breast to Lentil and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie from Minimalist Baker, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re sticking with the tried and true, or venturing outside your comfort zone this year, there’s always room to liven things up with something unconventional in the glass.


That’s why we’re turning to the Lulu BB1, a fun blend of Chardonnay and native grape Savagnin, to add some personality in our glasses. Not only will it delight your guests, but its strong mineral characteristics and rich round orchard fruit notes will pair remarkably well with everything on your Thanksgiving plate.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Wine of the Week - Lulu Côtes du Jura 'BB1'

This week's featured wine brings a little something different to the table. Thanksgiving dinner is a meal that encourages a wide variety of wines to try, so we've chosen one of our favorite oddballs to highlight. Lulu Vigneron operates out of the Jura, a tiny region in the east of France. The BB1 is a blend of Chardonnay and local grape Savagnin that shows the uniqueness of Jura. Hints of menthol and acacia flowers on the nose, dried and stewed citrus fruits with a strong mineral impression on the palate with an iodine and saline twist, then gentle bitters on the finish. Liven up your holiday feast with this personality-filled white!


The owners of Lulu Vigneron, Ludwig Bindernagel and Nathalie Eigenschenck, purchased the Domaine in 2000. Their first vintage came shortly after in 2002. Their motto of “the wine is made in the vineyard” is exemplified by the fact Ludwig works with the vines every day. The strict attention to detail and quality helps create very complex wines with depth and layers that reflect the individuality of Jura.