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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine & Spirits: "Ripe and sweet with honeysuckle notes on the tropical fruit, this is a summertime patio pounder. (Good Value)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: 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 (tha... Read More »
From some of the top sites in the Kamptal. Michaela Haas is the 4th generation of this family to run the 23-hectare domaine. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and bottled with a crown cap, this is the perfect liter - fresh, light and snappy; delivering all the thirst quenching qualities you look for in a wine like this.
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.
From one of the top sites in the Kamptal, Michaela Haas is the 4th generation of this family to run the 23 ha domaine. Previous vintages recommended by Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide.
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Peppery notes of arugula and fresh lemon acidity add interest to this easy-drinking white." (8/2014) 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 citrus and fresh herbs." Stelvin cap.
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)
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)
The dark-skinned St. Laurent grape, which is distantly related to Pinot Noir but makes a hearty wine in Austria, originated in the Alsace. It is well-suited to the continental climate of Austria and lends itself to aging in oak. The Allram St. Laurent grows on the Gaisberg slopes below the famed Riesling of that area.
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
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)
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."
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.
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.
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.
93-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fred's citrus colored, fascinatingly deep and terroir-driven 2013 Grüner Veltliner Käferberg Erste Lage is a must buy of the vintage and one of the finest and most precise crus I have had from this charismatic family estate that I have followed for almost 15 years. Yields, however, were dramatically low with only 5 hl/ha! The wine was harvested manually at the beginning of November and fermented spontaneously in used barrels of 300 and 600 liters and aged on its full lees for six months and for another four months on the fine lees in stainless steel. It ...Read More »
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-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 that 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.
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 »
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.
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's perfect for Grüner. The juice is fermented and aged in stainless, highlighting the Gobelsburg terroir.
Inventory: San Francisco
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 little tight upon opening but expands with air. Decant if drinking in the near term or cellar for 5+ years. Before taking over the family winery, Josef Högl worked the vines of legendary vintners Franz Xavier (F.X.) Pichler and Franz Prager, and there are those who say that his wines already rival those of his employers. Lucky for you, since his name has not attained such superstar status (yet), t... Read More »
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. (SR)" (10/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
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 Importer: "Although the family has 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 among the elite of Austrian red wines....The Heinrichs currently have 54 acres planted in red grapes; a size they feel enables them to pursue quality without compromise. They use only their own estate grown grapes, guaranteeing the best possible wines...Their pride and joy is the Goldberg ... Read More »
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)
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)
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)
"Alte Reben" means "old vines"; fruit for this production comes from Brundlemayer's oldest vineyards with vines averaging 50 years old. These older vines give naturally low yeilds of intensely concentrated fruit for wines with added weight and richness. Fermented in used (2-3 years old) Austrian oak casks, followed by racking to large used barrels, the 2012 exhibits perfectly ripe white peach, lime, green apple and pear aromas and flavors, with floral, pepper, and snap pea highlights. Framed by clean, vibrant acid, the palate is creamy and round, with e... 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!
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 »
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 in Senftenberg, where Martin Nigl’s other vineyards and winery are located. Raised in stainless steel and bottled at night when the wine is cold, to preserve freshness, Freiheit shows pear and lime peel notes as well as floral and grassy components, with a clean mineral finish."
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Stadt Krems cultivates three quarters of this prestigious four-hectare terraced cru which was first mentioned in 1180. The south-facing cru, which is planted with Riesling on gneiss soils, is Fritz Miesbauer's most beloved vineyard. He invested a lot since the terraces were heavily damaged by rainfalls in 2002. Hand-picked in the middle of November and fermented and aged during eight months in stainless steel, the 2013 Grillenparz Riesling is paying back now. Bright citrus colored. this precise, fresh and lovely wine offers intense as well as elegant fru ...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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Notions of very ripe peaches lead onto a tight, fresh and zesty palate where you can still catch glimpses of that peach. A rounded and fruity number, not without precision." (8/2013)
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."
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)
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)
Josef Jamek is one of those names that is synonymous when talking about the wines from the Wachau. The style is not heavy handed and shows what vineyard expression is all about. The Ried Achleiten is arguably one of the most famous vineyards in all of Austria. Rich minerals subdued by a core of fruit that is wound up and tight. Classic white pepper and flowers add to the savory and salty finish. (Eric Story, Austrian Buyer)
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.