Monday, May 14, 2012

Vieux Lartigue Saint-Emilion Gran Cru 2008

This is the wine steal of the century - at least in my book!

A €30 bottle of Saint-Emilion for €15 in the Wein & Co. bargain bin: talk about sweet. Or, dry, actually. I was completely on the fence about the whole thing, until I decided, hey, this is a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of deal on my favorite type of wine! I would be a sucker not to get it, and spend the whole €30 on the bottle later, or never get it and wonder - what if?

I've been saving this one for a special occasion, and had a really rough weekend, so I figured tonight was as good a night as any to celebrate and pep myself up.

The wine is smooth, attractively deep and purple. The bouquet is a bit unusual. Upon opening the bottle, I was reminded of olive oil, tomatoes and strawberries. The flavor is more akin to black currants and blueberries. The finish is smooth and velvety.

I savored this particular bottle with a Greek salad, Pecorino cheese and a small slice of bakery bought Sachertorte. It's life's little pleasures, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rosé de Chevalier 2011

This delicious Bordeaux rosé was another bargain bin delight from Wein & Co. I am basically a sucker for anything with "Chevalier" in the name...perhaps it has something to do with the magnificent red wine once sampled in Montreal...? That was called something like "Vin du Moyen-Age."

The notes in this rosé are flowery, with a refreshing finish - a nice complement to this incredibly hot weather in Vienna (it was 29 today)! Rosé is often a tricky one to pull off, but in the summer, I like to think of it as a hot weather red. Although nothing can beat the rosé CB and I tried in 2008 in Mont de Marsin, a little town just outside Bordeaux, this came pretty close. Who says wine can't be a thirst quencher?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wegenstein Blaufränkisch Klassik 2009

This was another BOGO at Merkur - 2 for €4.95, like the Bordeaux from a few posts ago, but this one's Austrian. Blaufränkisch is a deeper red than a Zweigelt, and typically produced in the Burgenland region of Austria, next to Hungary. I've tried Wegenstein's Zweigelt as well, and was not impressed, but the Blaufränkisch is quite good. It is, after all, called Klassik

The color is a deep ruby red, and there and hints of blackberry and pomegranate, though it does have high alcohol content, which gives it a bit of a bite. To be paired with food, most definitely. Honestly, this wine is not very good on its own. I bought a selection of cheeses as well at Merkur, and among them, white Irish cheddar, roulade aux noix (goat's cheese with walnuts) and a smoked Gouda tasted quite lovely on Kaisersemmeln and a glass of Blaufränkisch.

One note: the Blaufränkisch is to Zweigelt as Cabernet Sauvignon is to Merlot - have I mentioned this before? Anyway, one is the "parent" grape and the other is the "baby" which gives one a stronger, hardier flavor in the wine...and a better aging process. Oak barrels recommended.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Did You Know?

A new study from Penn State University has deciphered that, if you're not a wine expert, it's not really worth it to buy expensive wines - you won't be able to tell the difference. Some of this has to do with experience, but, the study argues, some might have to do with biology. Certain people have more refined palates, because of the physiology of their mouths and taste buds (the study calls them "Super Tasters") and these people often end up making a living from this - as a wine taster, food critic, what have you.

But, for the average Joe or Jane, the difference between a $15 bottle of wine and a $100 bottle of wine is indistinguishable, as long the wine is not corked, extremely low-quality (think cooking wine) or otherwise unpalatable.

Perhaps this is not news to you - after all, there's not accounting for taste - but maybe it is. In my case, I certainly hope experience plays a role, and I am not doomed to be a wine philistine for lack of being born with superhuman taste buds.

You can read an article on it from MSN here or listen to the NPR broadcast.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chateau Ricaud Bordeaux 2008

Oh, yes. I felt the need to indulge in one of my comfort foods - comfort wines? A good ol' Bordeaux. 

I don't know why Bordeaux is my favorite, my standby. Perhaps because it was one of the first wines I tried that I liked, or I get nostalgic about living in France and the taste, smell, feel of a Bordeaux wine sends me back to a summer evening in Paris. In any case, whenever I'm in a grumpy mood or feeling a little down, I look for a bottle of nice Bordeaux red (but not in an alcoholic way, really!) Sort of how animal crackers and Kool Aid send you right back to Kindergarten. There's something charmingly simplistic and quintessential about it to me.

Some people dislike the Bordeaux wines because, frankly, they all taste the same. There's not much variety, if you control for quality. Well, being a creature of habit (I hate to admit it), I think of Bordeaux as my old reliable. Also, it's hard to find a bad one. But it's easy to find a cheap one! Especially if you are living in Europe (like me).

This particular wine, Chateau Ricaud 2008, I snapped up at Merkur during a BOGO - normally priced at €4   apiece, I got two for €4. Lucky me!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


It's Glühwein time here in Austria - has been for about a month, actually, but I'm just getting around to posting a comment now...been enjoying it too much, perhaps?!?

For those unfamiliar, Glühwein is the German-speaking term for mulled wine. It is typically red, but also comes in a white variety (similar to Sturm, though the law's the opposite, with white being the norm and red the outlier). The Christmas tradition of German mulled wine uses spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, sometimes vanilla pods, cloves and sugar added to boiled wine. 

In Vienna, you can visit a charming Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) - there are dozens around the city - and sample Glühwein or Punsch (rum, sugar and orange or other fruit flavors) at one of the stands (€5-7 for a 1/4 l mug, which you can keep after draining, or give back for a €2 refund). Or, you can buy your own pre-mixed tea bags of spices and add them to the wine of your choice at home for a cheaper version (€2 for a 2-liter bottle of junk wine + €2 for a box of spice bags = party-sized tank of Glühwein). The choice is yours - and your liver's! 

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stellenrust Pinotage

This South African pinotage has similar taste and tannins to the California wine I bought a couple of months ago from Wine & Co. I'm starting to think whoever is in charge of stocking at W&C is letting his or her taste buds get in the way of a diversity of stocking choices. For everything under €10 that is.

These wines are both too sweet for my taste. As I've mentioned, I like my reds meaty (this from a vegetarian!) and had I known that pinotage was a mix of pinot noir and another, lesser grape, (see here for Wikipedia page) I probably would have skipped it - yes, even though it was on sale!

As things stand, I may have to skip W&C for a while. Their reds are seemingly disappointing, and why splurge on a bad bottle of €9 stuff from South Africa when I can get a perfectly good bottle of Bordeaux at Billa for under €3? I did, nonetheless drink the whole bottle (it's bad luck to waste wine!) so it couldn't have been that terrible.