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K&L Staff Recommendations
2013 Allram Zweigelt 1L $9.99
The Etz family has been in the wine business since 1898, and the estate is now in the fourth generation. With nearly 40 hectares of vineyard in production, the Etz estate prides itself on synthesizing the modern and the traditional. Their goal is to offer wines that show themselves from vineyard to bottle entirely in harmony with nature and the environment, from parcels planted around the famous wine-town Strass. Gaisberg, Galgenberg (that's the gallows-hill, folks), and Wechselberg are among the famous vineyard names to be found in the Etz collection. T... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This shows the greenish scent of conference pear peel and its juicy, tart but ripe flesh. After up-front fruit, it refreshes with a superlight, lemony-fresh body. If you are looking for featherlight refreshment, the Grüners from the 2014 vintage will deliver zippy fruit." (7/2015) K&L Notes: From some of the top sites in the Kamptal. Michaela Haas is the fourth generation of this family to run the 23-hectare domaine. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and bottled with a crown cap, this fresh, light, and snappy wine is the kind you want to drink by the liter. This ... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This shows the greenish scent of conference pear peel and its juicy, tart but ripe flesh. After up-front fruit, it refreshes with a superlight, lemony-fresh body. If you are looking for featherlight refreshment, the Grüners from the 2014 vintage will deliver zippy fruit." (7/2015) K&L Notes: From some of the top sites in the Kamptal. Michaela Haas is the fourth generation of this family to run the 23-hectare domaine. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and bottled with a screw cap, this fresh, light, and snappy wine will be MVP at your next picnic.
Who says great beer can't come in a can? Those people have obviously never cracked a can of Stiegl's Goldbräu. This Austrian beer is perfectly balanced, mildly hoppy and wonderfully refreshing. At just 4.9% ABV, it's perfect for game day, camping, hot weather or after work, and it drinks well on its own or with food.
89 points Wine Enthusiast: "This offers a winning combination of yeasty roundness and green pear with added lemon zing. Simple but beautifully balanced, it is refreshing, versatile and spicy without ever weighing heavily on mind or palate. It’s a rounded, yet refreshing wine. — A.K" (7/2015) K&L Notes: Jancis Robinson has called Hochterrassen "Probably the best value of the 'everyday' Grüners." According to the producer, "The grapes of this spritzy Grüner Veltliner come from high-altitude terraces in Stein and Krems. Grown on loess-conglomerate soils this dry wine has a lovely bouquet of fine ... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe, juicy notes of yellow pear on the nose are shot through with lively, zesty lemon freshness. Smatterings of white pepper play around the sleek edges of this slender but super-juicy wine. This is totally enlivening and sings with fruit and freshness—with all the verve of its vintage. (AK)" (7/2015) K&L Notes: The Schloss Gobelsburg monastery was making wine back in the 12th century. These days the wines aren't made by monks, but rather by Michael "Michi" Mososbrugger, a wine-lover turned winemaker. The grapes come from loess soils, a crumbly sedimentary rock that... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Taut grapefruit and lemon zest are joined by a little herbal spice and come out in a bracing, brisk feast of citrus. Slender but concentrated, the linear freshness fizzes away on the palate and awakes all senses. Not an ounce of fat on a very slender, toned body and a total joy to sip." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Cuvee detail from importer Terry Theise: "Nigl Kremser Freiheit is named for the village of Krems, on the banks of the Danube river, and the German word for Freedom - 'Freiheit.' This wine was sourced from 3 vineyards in Krems and is picked earlier than the grapes... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Pear sorbet and fresh grapefruit on the nose segue into a very peppery palate that alternates between pungency and subtlety—yeasty overtones swish that pepper around sinuous citrus zest flavors and finish with a concentrated earthiness. This is textbook Grüner from a rising star." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Stylish and graceful with rich apple and spiced pear. This is an absolute pure delight to drink. It holds a fresh edge while maintaining all of the classic Grüner qualities. (Eric Story, Austrian Buyer)
If you love the liter bottles of Allram's Grüner, then you have to try the 2012 Zweigelt--it's the red wine equivalent: fresh, uncompromising, juicy wine for everyday drinking. Can be served slightly chilled, and make sure you have a good sized glass, you'll save yourself the initial trip of having to get up and get more.
Though this vintage has yet to be removed, the 2013 vintage earned 92 points from Wine Enthusiast: "Subtle lemon hints and zesty freshness mellow a little on the creamy but nonetheless very slender, graceful palate. Elegance and purity are hallmarks here and it is depth rather than power that convinces. Very clean finish." (03/2015)
Wine & Spirits: "A blend of zweigelt and pinot noir macerated for six hours on the skins, this has the heft for the dark meat of a turkey, with a slight sweetness and spice to its cranberry fruit." (4/2013) Wine Enthusiast: "This is a soft, creamy, strawberry- and caramel-flavored wine with lively acidity and a very crisp, citrusy aftertaste. It’s an ideal apéritif-style wine, perfect for the summer." (9/2013) K&L Notes: 10th generation winegrower Markus Huber manages this 200+ year-old family operation, and it is under his expert leadership that Huber Hugo has gained international recognition as the st... Read More »
Winzerkeller Andau is a 300-member co-op located in the tiny little village of Andau, on Austria's border with Hungary. In recent years, the governing body of Austrian wine co-ops has started to pay a premium for grapes that has allowed the growers to lower yields and greatly improve quality. For you that means you get a better Blaufränkisch, but still at co-op prices.
Vinous: "Lively nose combines raspberry, white pepper, eucalyptus and wild spices. At once supple and juicy, showing an herbal quality to its flavors of red fruits and licorice. An appealing nervous energy carries through to the finish of this elegantly balanced Zweigelt. Matured in large oak casks, it is Umathum’s calling card and a red that I like to drink. (JP)" (9/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "With overtones of reduction, this wine needs a lot of air at first but then proceeds to show an elegant, supple and soft Zweigelt. There are welcome edges of white pepper and very supple, soft c ...Read More »
Blaufrankisch (a.k.a. Lemberger and Kékfrankos) is a black-skinned wine grape grown widely in Austria and Hungary, and to a lesser extent in neighboring Germany, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Croatia. Tiny quantities are also grown in the United States, most notably in New York's Finger Lakes but also in various parts of Washington (the Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley), and such far-flung states as California, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Colorado. The common feature in Blaufrankisch wines from all of these places is a ... Read More »
Hannes Schuster and his mom Rosi, the team behind this excellent example of St. Laurent, make some of the most compelling Austrian reds available in the US today. Their estate, planted mostly to red grapes, takes full advantage of its diverse soils and microclimates to find the optimal site for each varietal. The St. Laurent is expressive, spicy and minerally, with a creamy silky texture, delicate red fruit and fantastic acidity. A great introduction to Austria's reds.
Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur combines juice from the seasonal harvest of Austria's famed Klosterneuberger apricots with an eau-de-vie produced from this same fruit. Destillerie Purkhart selects its apricots each season from family orchards in the Danube Valley and surrounding regions. Ideal for perfecting so many classic cocktails. Try the Golden Dawn Cocktail: 2/3 oz. Dry Gin, 2/3 oz. Orchard Apricot Liqueur, 2/3 oz Calvados, 2/3 oz. Cointreau, 1 dash Grenadine.
So, you're thinking about getting into Blaufränkisch? When exploring an "alternative" varietal like this, albeit a major red wine of Austria for centuries, we highly recommend starting with a top producer like Moric. Writing about a previous vintage, wine writer Jamie Goode called it, "A serious Austrian red: Moric Blaufrankisch." New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov also had praise: "The Blaufränkisch grape is grown mostly in Austria, where it makes a spicy red wine that can be graceful yet intense, complex yet tangy and refreshing. My favorite Blaufr... Read More »
From the winery: "In 1993 we decided to focus on winegrowing. In the course of time we have cultivated 30 hectares of wine area and have pressed sweet wine out of Welschriesling, Chardonnay, Sämling (Scheurebe), Muskat Ottonel, Traminer and Weißburgunder. We vinify dry and tartaric red wine from Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon. Our varieties of wine can be found on the wine lists of restaurants all over the world, which makes us very proud. That is why we take on the challenge “sweet wine” every year anew."
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Creamy, rounded freshness with an immensely savory core of sage, arugula and white pepper make for an understated but seriously delicious white. There is weight and importance here, but it is lightly worn. The spicy, almost salty flavors keep you wanting more." (3/2015) 92 points Vinous: "Quite broad and caressing on the palate yet at the same time generously juicy with honeydew melon, tangy apple and rhubarb, this wine mingles pungent, nutmeg-tinged green herbs with savory, sweetly-smoky blond tobacco, finishing long on saliva-inducing salinity, subtly peppery bite, ore-lik ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Austrian Heidi Schröck makes luscious, complex wines that have won the hearts of critics and wine geeks alike. Her Pinot Blanc is sourced from vines up 35 years old. Grapes are hand picked, fermented in stainless steel, then the juice is aged on its lees. It is dry, with gorgeous body and nuance. From importer Terry Theise: "Some years these are oyster-shell-y and some years they’re more buxom and flowery, but it’s best if you can split the difference. This shows a fetching aroma, leesy, acacia, langoustines, the sexiest Pinot Blanc from Heidi in several... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Dried red berry and raspberry flavors are chewy and fresh. Shows herbal notes at the edges, with a firm finish of dark chocolate. (Web Only—2012)" K&L Notes: Winzerkeller Andau is a 300-member co-op located in the tiny little village of Andau, on Austria's border with Hungary. In recent years, the governing body of Austrian wine co-ops has started to pay a premium for grapes, which has allowed the growers to lower yields and greatly improve quality. For you that means you get a better Zweigelt, but still at co-op prices.
A bright, creamy rosé made from Zweitgelt, Austria's most beloved red grape. This is a refreshing everyday sipper that's great to drink on its own, but will stand up to hearty fare straight off the grill.
From importer David Bowler: "Gebling is technically an Erste Lage Vineyard, but Buchegger cannot claim it on the label because he does not charge enough for the wine, making it a great value. Gebling is widely regarded as one of the best vineyards in the Kremstal region. It is planted on a steep, terraced hillside at 850 feet above sea level facing directly south. The soil there is conglomerate and the vines are 43 years old, producing low yields of very high quality fruit." (www.bowlerwine.com)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Beautifully pure apple fruit plays on nose and palate. Citrus juice frames the fruit and heightens the freshness even more. If you like a slender, supercrisp style of Riesling, the purity of this will have you hooked." (7/2015)
Rothman & Winter's Crème De Violette Liqueur is one of the great mixing agents now available. All you need is a little gin and a lemon, and you've got a delicious and sophisticated cocktail. Elegant in its simplicity, this authentic alpine liqueur captures the fragrance, vibrant colors, and taste of the native wildflowers found in the Alps - the Queen Charlotte and March violets. Use it in classic cocktails such as the Blue Moon or Aviation, or enjoy as an ingredient in continental cuisine.
Crystalline and vibrant in color with a yellow green tinge. An exciting and bright aromatic of fresh apples mixed with subtle baking spice and soft green herbs which give way to a palate of wet mineral and juicy white fruits which then give way to an elegant core of power and structure. Definitely has an addictive quality to this wine and you'll find yourself filling up another glass without even thinking about it. (Eric Story, K&L Austrian wine buyer)
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine & Spirits: "*Best Buy* Juicy and open, this is a modern St. Laurent, the chocolate-cherry fruit expansive and giving. The oak fights a bit with the earth for primacy; pair with a steak to see which wins out." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Redcurrant and tart blackberry set the tone, a slender and taut body follows with supple, barely-there tannin and wonderfully refreshing acidity. As a lighter red, this is great for lunch or to go with charcuterie." (5/2014) K&L Notes: The Stiegelmar family has been making wine in the town of Gols since 1571. Patriarch Georg was named 'Winemaker of the Year' at the 1... Read More »
Grown in Burgenland as well as throughout Europe, Yellow Muscat is highly aromatic, spicy, with fruit notes of apricot and grapefruit. Named "Austria's Wine-Grower of the Year" in 2003 by renowned wine magazine Falstaff, Heidi Schrock is the coolest female winemaker in Austria. Heidi has gathered experience from places like South Africa and Germany and brought it all back to her hometown of Rust. She took over the winery from her parents more than 20 years ago and has since spent much of her time reviving traditional wines of her Austro-Hungarian forefat... Read More »
According to the winery: "In stony, mineral-rich soils - and limestone and slate as well - premium quality grapes are thriving. Karl Holzapfel strives to create clear, vibrant wines with fine fruit and distinctive character - ideal for enjoying every day - as well as dry, compact Smaragd wines with complex aromas and flavours and a wonderful ageing potential."
92 points Wine Spectator: "Rich and seductive, with luscious apple, melon, pear tart and cinnamon flavors. Shows plenty of richness, with a silkiness and creaminess that extends on the finish. Drink now through 2018. 350 cases made. –KM" (4/2014) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rounded and rich, with a pepper and spiced apple character, this is a warm, full-bodied wine. It has a fine texture, but dense structure. From vines just above the castle in Stein, it is still a young wine, so don’t drink before 2015." (2/2014) Jancis Robinson: "Very intense and peppery/herby. Reverberant. Slightly chewy. Attention grabbing. Long." (10/2012)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A pure, rich and fragrant wine, this is delicate in style yet full bodied in texture. Flavors of blossom, apples and currants are fresh and fruity, but deliciously integrated into the structure. A wine for aging over many years, it is best drunk after 2014. Glass stopper." (2/2014) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Firm and somewhat tannic, with juicy, chewy flavors of ripe citrus, nectarine and dried apricot. Honeydew melon notes extend on the spicy finish. Drink now through 2019." (4/2014)
94 points Wine & Spirits: "Roland Velich blends this wine largely from Neckenmarkt, where the vines grow on steep slopes of schist and limestone, along with Lutzmannsburg, a warmer, flatter area of clay and limestone. The 2011 shows the ripeness of the vintage in a core of black cherry nectar, sweet and intense. But that’s all the sweetness there is here; otherwise it’s a liquid expression of the rugged terrain, granite-hard and flinty in its mineral expression, with plenty of hillside herbals and spice to add detail and lift. Give it a swirl in a decanter and serve with roast duc ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Ilse and Josef Maier organically farm about 20 hectares of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling in Austria's Kremstal region. Planted to the deep loess soils of the Rosensteig Vineyard on the slopes of the Danube, this wine is a mouthwatering, complex version of what Grüner Veltliner can achieve in the right hands and terroir. Floral, with stone fruit fleshiness and a refreshing mint component, the 2013 Geyerhof Rosensteig is equally at home with spicy Asian fare, smoked fish or a fancy sausage with plenty of sauerkraut and spicy mustard.
From indigenous Austrian varieties of peaches, this wonderful liqueur is a combination the fresh pressed juice of this seasonal fruit and an eau-de-vie of the same fruit. It captures the depth of flavor of one of nature's finest fruits perfectly. The juicy sweetness, the tart pulp, the slightly bitter skin, this is truly the total package. Enjoy by itself, make an excellent bellini, or try mixing in rum cocktails for endless tiki drinks!
From the Wine Maker: “My dream of having a winery with wines of style and international character has come true. Today, Wieninger stands for top wines that are from Vienna - and are internationally known. And as a forerunner of high quality wines from Vienna, it means a lot to me to create wines that the Viennese can be proud of.”
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Luscious stone fruit streams into the nose, while the palate reins this richness in with straight-laced citrus. Lime and grapefruit zest make for a linear, refreshing and streamlined Federspiel with the typical freshness of the 2014 vintage. This will age beautifully even through it already provides great enjoyment for lovers of brisk, fresh, dry Rieslings." (7/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Josef Hofer has created this artisanal all natural liqueur. Zirbenz draws its flavor and natural red color from the freshly picked fruit of the Arolla Stone Pine grown in the Austrian Alps. With a taste and nose instantly familiar, Zirbenz is exceptionally smooth, slightly sweet, and has a crisp pine floral finish. Generations of mountaineers practiced in the art of harvest work and must ascend to high elevations then climb the trees to pick this wild pine fruit fresh. 35% ABV The Austrian Martini INGREDIENTS: 2 ounces Tanqueray Gin 1 ounce Noilly Pr... Read More »
Rothman & Winter Orchard Pear Liqueur combines juice from the seasonal harvest of Williams Pears with an eau-de-vie produced from the same fruit. Destillerie Purkhart carefully selects its pears each season from family orchards in both South Tirol (the Alto Adige) and the Danube Valley. Product of Austria.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "0 A rich wine that shows ripe intensity as well as forward fruitiness. It has a ripe, creamy texture, and hints of spice and vanilla along with a steely acidity. Full in the mouth, it’s packed with pepper as well as fruit." (9/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fresh green bean and hints of fruit pit bitterness dominate an expansive, polished Domane Wachau 2012 Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Terrassen that generates a hint of heat but remains impressively persistent and satisfyingly juicy. (DS)" (4/2014) Wine & Spirits: "This is ripe and concentrated, almost tannic in feel, the lentil, walnut and sage flavors ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Spectator: "Medium-bodied, with dried berry and plum pudding flavors that feature notes of porcino. The tannins clamp down on the taut, savory finish. (Web-2014)"