City Wine

July 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

cobenzlGemischter Satz is not just yet another consonant-heavy term you can use to show people how much you know about wine. It is one of the most thrilling white wine categories there out there, and the cultural history behind it is fascinating. Gemischter Satz means “mixed set” in German, and it refers to the unique field-blend whites of Austria. The ones from Vienna, designated “Wiener Gemischter Satz”, are the best.

I’ve been excited about gemischter satz for a long time now, ever since I tasted my first (you always remember your first) in 2010. It was the Cobenzl Wiener Gemischter Satz Classic (pictured at left). I got so excited about this wine and others from Vienna that I flew there, and wrote about gemischter satz for Saveur Magazine

Now (well, a few weeks back, but I’m only blogging about it now) I’ve written about it again, in my Portland Press Herald wine column. Neither of those spaces offered enough room for me to tell the full story, alas. But The World of Fine Wine does and did offer enough space: to Alder Yarrow, a terrific writer and full-bore devotée of gemischter satz (there are more of us out there than you’d think!). His article — not readable at the magazine’s website, but  here’s a teaser link — is terrific. Mine are fine. Read them all, and make these wines a big part of your life.

Thanksgiving wine? Ask the (other) experts…

November 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today’s column passes the keyboard to some of my colleagues in retailing, as each offers one and only one recommendation for a Thanksgiving wine. I figured, a lot of what we winesellers do this time of year is talk about which wines we’re going to drink at America’s holiest meal, and we hope we can convince customers to buy the “right” wines for that day. Well, here’s part of that ongoing conversation, in print and online.

The cool thing for me was how many suggestions were good. They’re overwhelmingly from northern-latitude, cool-climate regions that prize minerality, low alcohol and vibrancy, over weight, concentration and stunning-ness. It’s just one meal, after all. Anyway, who on earth has a problem with Austria (the big winner), Alsace, Alto Adige or Burgundy?

Restaurant Bresca, where wine and food actually have fun together

November 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

I write this week about Krista Kern Desjarlais, chef-owner of Bresca in Portland. Krista’s a fantastic cook, of course, but more important (for me) is that she really understands wine’s relationship to food. She crafts a dynamic, continually moving list that never dumbs down, never plays to the big crowds, yet provides countless crowd-pleasing options.

Krista is all about lesser-known regions, and her girl-after-my-own-heart fascination of the moment is with Austrian reds (or, for another good link, Austrian whites), which she rightly sees as well-attuned to the profiles of food and mood in this little corner of our world: cold-climate varietals, very pure and direct, no-BS, complex but inviting.

For most of us a meal at Bresca isn’t an every-week affair, but next time you can save up some nice-meal scratch, get there. And for all-y’all Portland restaurants that don’t get it — and you know who I’m talking about, and you know I mean some of the “best” restaurants in Portland — pay attention to how Krista puts together her list.

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