Monday, June 8, 2009
Pannobile - Austrian Wine
One of the great things about moving to Austria has been learning about the different wines and regions here. For example, Grüner Veltliner wine ... wow, I never tasted anything like that in California.
One of the first wine events I attended wasn't actually a wine event, but rather a tasting arranged after a, well, fairly interesting transportation conference. Instead of the normal beer and wine, the organizer invited a representative of the Pannobile group of winemakers to present various different wines from the area. Cool idea. Anyway I was hooked ...
Today the Pannobile group had a tasting of their 2007 vintage. Most of the vintners focus on red wines made from local grapes Zweigelt, Blaufränkish (AKA Pinot Noir) and St Laurent, but they also make white wines from Weissburgunder (AKA Pinot Blanc) and Chardonnay. They all make a blend (Curvee) called Pannobile - each winemaker uses a different blend of grape types.
I focused on tasting the Pinot Noir (or Blaufränkish) and the Pannobile blends. Although all the wines I tasted were good, my favorites were the Judith Beck 2007 Pinot Noir and 2006 Blaufränkish Altenberg, the Heinrich Blaufränkish Alter Berg 2007, the Anita and Hans Nittnaus Blaufrankish "Kalk and Schiefer" 2007 and their single vineyard Blaufränkish 2006, the Leitner Ungerberg 2007 and Zechun 2007 (both curvees), and finally the Pittnauer Pinot Noir Reserve 2007. In my opinion they are all young, but quite enjoyable now, probably even better over time.
It's really nice to live in a place with a local wine tradition. Last spring we took a bicycle trip through parts of Burgenland (the province that includes the Pannobile region). We stopped at a couple of Heuriger ("taverns" that serve wine made by the owners with generally simple - but excellent - food).
We were even lucky enough to be in Burgenland during a "Kellergasse Fest." A Kellergasse (celler street) is a short stretch of road with numerous wine cellars dug into the side of a hill. Many towns in the wine producing parts of Austria have these streets located in the fields outside the town. It's a very unique architecture (the photos on this page are from our visit). The fest is a big party where all the vintners offer samples of their wine, there's lots of different food and musical entertainment. Great fun.