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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
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.
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.
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 citrus and fresh herbs." Stelvin cap.
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.
92 points Wine Spectator: "Presents light, smoky notes on the nose, with powerful yellow plum, white currant and raspberry flavors. Hints of mocha lead to a finish full of ripe melon and candied citrus elements. Complex." (11/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Grüner Veltliner Hefeabzug shows a clear and citrus-fresh bouquet with subtle pip fruit aromas on the nose, including hints of ginger. With 12% alcohol, this is a light to medium-bodied but stunningly complex, intense and tension-filled wine with a pure and lingering mineral character and a lovely piquant acidity. In its mineral character, the 20 ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Lifted citrus- and pear-scented refreshment describes this wine’s purpose. Zesty lemon peel balanced by lots of green pear fruit makes a winning combination." (8/2014) K&L Notes: Neuburger is an Austrian crossing of Roter Veltliner and Sylvaner. Erwin Tinhof is an 11th generation organic winemaker who specialty is to nurture the indigenous varietals of Austria. The vines for this wine are grown in deep dark soils and are meticulously handpicked each harvest. Full of spice and aromas of fresh valley spring flowers and backed up by a subdued power and juicy structure. ... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Enticing notions of passion fruit and peach grab the attention first, but there is almost more interest in the peppery, zesty mouth-feel. Fresh but rounded." (8/2014) Wine & Spirits: "This is floral and fresh, an easy, limey grüner for drinking anytime." (4/2015) 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)
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.
Notes from the Winery: "The Riesling Kamptaler Terrassen 2013 has very pure, attractive primary fruit (classic apricot & peach, tangerine & citrus), floral elements, herbs and green tea. The wine is open at the front with a hint of minerality and floral aroma. It is straight-forward and quite fresh on the palate with vibrant fruit, medium body, and perfectly balanced structure. This wine shows very good potential."
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.
Umathum has become known over the past few years for just plain getting more different rhythms, tunes and textures out of the good old Zweigelt bush than nearly anybody. He does this by means of extraordinarily careful and painstaking selection when planting his vineyards, watchful control of the crop size, and then detailed hand harvesting and selection. The wines then ferment with indigenous yeast, and are aged in large wooden barrels fashioned from Austrian oak.
91 points Wine Spectator: "Lush, with light smoky accents to the ripe apple, pear and tangerine flavors. Offers crisp acidity and plenty of savory notes. The zesty finish is filled with accents of ripe citrus and allspice. Drink now through 2020." (11/2014)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Riper notions of juicy yellow pear play here, fringed by peppery leaves of arugula and zesty lemon freshness. It’s focused, precise and concentrated." (8/2014) Jancis Robinson: "RS 4 g/l. Cool and very fresh – mountain stream impression. Green fruit aromas. Light, lively and well balanced." (6/2014)
Wine & Spirits: "Despite the sweetness of the fruit—peach turning toward pineapple and mango—this remains focused, shaped by the cool verve of its acidity." (4/2014)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers ripe aromas and flavors of beeswax and sage honey, with kiwifruit, melon and white currant hints. This has some dried mango notes, with an exuberant finish of white pepper and lemon curd." (11/2014)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers a ripe, fruity nose, with flavors to match, including dried apricot, baked pear and apple tart. Dried herbal accents add complexity to this rich and well-spiced version. The buoyant finish is framed by honey notes. Drink now through 2020." (6/2015) K&L Notes: 92-94 points from Austria's Falstaff wine guide! The guide's tasting notes (Peter Moser, 6/2013) describe this vintage as having spicy herbal notes with dark minerality underlying yellow tropical fruits; sweet, elegant texture with fine extract, fresh acidity, and a lively structure with citrus nuances. T... 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 »
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.
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Ripe bramble and blackberry vie for attention on the nose. The palate is light and has lots of energy, verve and more fresh-faced fruit. This is just about medium-bodied and offers us an uncomplicated but delicious and refreshing interpretation of Blaufränkisch." (7/2015) K&L Notes: From the Importer: "Although the family has been making wine for 300 years, Johann Heinrich and his wife Gerti managed within a decade to become known as one of Austria's leading red wine producers. In the beginning of the 90s his wine was sold in bulk bottles, now they are amo... 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.
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 »
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From a Gobelsburg plateau clutered with pebbles big as a fist, the 2013 Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz is a clear and aromatic classic of the variety with tobacco leafs, peas, apples, white pepper powder and floral aromas on the nose followed by a full-bodied and piquant palate with juicy cox orange aromas and a marked acidity. Quite salty in the aftertaste this is a quite powerful wine to be served from the decanter in its first year." (10/2014) K&L Notes: From the Winery: "In the vineyards of Gobelsburg, the terroir is different to what is found in the rest of the Kam... Read More »
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)
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Schön is a steep, terraced slope of slate and gneiss rising up behind the Högl winery, at the far western end of the Wachau, where the climate is cool and crisp. That combination of soil and climate created a slim but powerful Federspiel in 2013, dense in its yellow-lentil flavors and firm in its minerality. What’s remarkable is the brightness of its acidity, cleansing and refreshing." (4/2015) K&L Notes: Vibrant melon and citrus bounce out of the glass along with spun tangerine honey and white pepper. Very well balanced with a medium-bodied structure which is a litt... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Bright mid crimson. Fresh and lively on the nose with red and dark fruit, mostly cherry, with the lightest note of sweet spice, vanilla and a delicate floral note. Fragrant rather than strident. Juicy and fresh, crunchy fruit and a light but definite tannic grip. Best drunk on the fruit though it has the structure to be kept for a few years. (JH)" (8/2013) Wine & Spirits: "Super-youthful, this is jammy with purple fruit. It has a little raw oak spice and grip; for smoked ribs." (4/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Moist, mossy freshness frames the green pear fruit on this slender, zesty and very juicy wine. The light body makes for ultimate refreshment." (7/2015)
Wine Enthusiast: "Peppery notes of arugula and fresh lemon acidity add interest to this easy-drinking white." (8/2014) Wine Spectator: "Shows good concentration to the pippin apple and grapefruit flavors, seasoned with notes of white pepper. Features plenty of firm stony and mineral details as well, with a twist of lemon zest on the finish. (Web-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-conglomera... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
Wine & Spirits: "This is made from orangetraube, a rare grape discovered in Germany in 1840 and now found primarily in Burgenland (albeit in minute amounts). Richard Zahel makes one of the only varietal examples, a broad, spicy white with orange blossom scents, lemon and peach flavors and a slightly oily texture. It has the weight to pair with pork chops." (4/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Walter Buchegger's citrus colored 2013 Grüner Veltliner Vordernberg Erste Lage opens with a brillant and elegant bouquet of yellow apples and ripe pears. Full-bodied, rich and powerful, this is succulent and piquant, though somewhat saturated on the finish." (10/2014)
90 points Wine Spectator: "A ripe style, with richly textured flavors of peach, pear and dried apricot, layered with vanilla notes. Creamy accents show on the finish." (6/2015) K&L Notes: According to the winery: "Federspiel is a designation of ripeness for dry wines used exclusively by members of the Vinea Wachau and must fall between 11.5 and 12.5% abv. The grapes are hand-harvested, typically in October, and are sent directly to press where they’re fermented using natural yeasts. Since 1996, Prager wines have been vinified entirely in stainless-steel tanks."
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 »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Green, exquisitely ripe Conference pear with softer, leesy notes create a ripe yet fresh creaminess. There are fringes of spice but fresh fruit and lemony brightness are in the foreground here. Very refreshing and invigorating." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Liter bottles of Grüner are a must-have for any regular wine drinker, they're so food-friendly, affordable and fun, and the one from Allram never disappoints. But sometimes we long for something a bit more sophisticated, but don't want to have to sacrifice freshness or value. The Gaisberg Reserve walks that fine line perfe... Read More »
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!
60 % Grüner Veltliner, 40 % Neuburger. Bright, fruity and fresh. Very clean in style with good fruit character along with subtle earthy components. A perfect wine to have with appetizers, fresh salads and fish.
Inventory: San Francisco
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.”
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a fragrant, softly aromatic wine that has ripe fruit, spicy texture and gentle acidity. It’s a wine for drinking now to enjoy its juicy white fruits, almonds and chalky final texture." (2/2014)
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)
Jancis Robinson: "RS 2.8 g/l. Creamy and tense with real grip and structure underneath all those minerals and fruit. 17.5/20 points. Drink 2016-2025" (6/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
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."
This estate winery has a history going back to 1424, but the Swedish name, Lesehof Stagård, comes from the 1980s, when Kenneth Stagård married into the family and started a new winery. Today, it's run by son Urban, and his wife, Dominique. From the winery's tasting note: "This site consists of twelve terraces surrounded by trees and bushes which act like a 'clos'—a vineyard within a vineyard. It’s one of the warmest sites in Stein and is situated very close to the Danube, benefiting the full effect of the river’s sun reflection. Like the Kögl, it is a... Read More »
The Rosenhof estate is set amidst some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. It is located near Lake Neusiedlersee on one side and in a district with many smaller, shallow lakes on the other. This special natural environment makes this wine region one of only a handful of regions in the world where the grapes are affected by noble rot on a regular basis. No wonder this area boasts many of the superstars of Austrian sweet wine production.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Lemon peel and yeast are in the starring roles for now, showing miso-like savor with smoky edges and glimpses of white pepper. The fruit will come later. For now, this is pure, textural pleasure, with a very clean-cut finish." (5/2014)