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Vineyards along the Danube River

Last night I was invited to a #winechat on Twitter.  The theme of was Austrian biodynamic wines.  The biodynamic theme is tied to this being the week of Earth Day.

For those who for those who aren’t familiar with biodynamics, it is an approach to farming that incorporates organic techniques plus crop rotation, biodiversity and other holistic farming methods.  It also can be a little on the new age side with farming activities based on the moon cycle and practitioners doing things like burying cow horns filled with ground quartz in the vineyards.

An actually I should call it Biodynamic® — in other words with a copyright symbol.  It’s not just a practice but it’s a copyrighted designation and producers who want to call themselves biodynamic must pay for a certification from Demeter Association.  I’m not against certifications, as it ensures some level of consistency.  And I’m not against the idea of biodynamics — I mean, who could be against a holistic approach to agriculture?  But something about that copyright symbol just makes it feel like marketing to me.

Ultimately, I think biodynamic is a good thing and I appreciate the practice.  But I’m not hung up on it.  If a wine tastes great and isn’t biodynamic or organic, I’ll still enjoy that wine.

Getting back to the #winechat.  This is an event that happens every Wednesday night, with a different theme each week.  This particular event was sponsored by the Austrian Wine USA and they sent out a few wines to a handful of writers like me to taste during the event.

I’ve done a few of these events before and I’m always amused by how seriously other wine peeps take themselves.  They talk about soil, and oak, and how the racking of the wine was done, and several other “wine nerd” topics that 99% of wine drinkers couldn’t care less about.  But this is wine we’re talking about!  Just enjoy it!!  So, I try to have fun with these events and typically make a number of sarcastic remarks.  But nobody seems to get my humor and I think I may end up just irritating or offending the other participants.  Have a drink and lighten up, folks.

But it’s not all fun and games for me.  I actually learn some things.  For example, last night I learned that 20% of the vineyards in Austria are organic.  And that is the largest percentage of any European country.

And I discovered a few new wines that were mighty tasty.  Here is an overview of those wines.

Meinklang Burgenlandwhite

Meinklang Burgenlandwhite

This is a white blend from the Burgenland region in Austria, more specifically Neusiedlersee, and it includes 50% gruner veltliner, 40% welschriesling and 10% muskat.

This wine is a ripe basket full of fruit on the nose, with exciting aromatics like peach, lemon, pineapple and apple.  It seems to evolve to new aromas with every sniff.  The palate brings a bit of light effervescence and an ever-so-slight touch of sweetness with delicious peach and apple flavors, drizzled with citrus.  The finish is looooong, with tangy peach flavors lingering for a near eternity.  This is delicious.

Wine: Meinklang Burgenlandwhite
Variety: White Blend
Vintage: 2012
Alcohol: 11.5%
Rating: 88
Price: $15.00 

Find Meinklang Burgenlandwhite with Snooth

Nikolaihof Hefeabzug Gruner Veltliner

Nikolaihof Hefeabzug Grüner Veltliner

This wine is lively and beautiful on the nose, with pear aromatics leading the way, supported by apple, lemon and a touch of floral.  The palate has an acidity that sings and gives vibrancy to the lemon, pear and lime flavors.  There’s a bit of minerality that also comes into play on the mid-palate and into the finish.  This is a very solid gruner.

Wine: Nikolaihof Hefeabzug
Variety: Grüner Veltliner
Vintage: 2011
Alcohol: 12.5%
Rating: 89
Price: $28.00 

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Wimmer-Czerny Fumberg Gruner Veltliner

Wimmer-Czerny Fumberg Grüner Veltliner

The nose is soft with light fragrances of apple, mineral and white pepper.  It’s slightly leesy too.  The palate offers crisp apple and mineral flavors, with good acidity.  The finish is quite long with apple peel and subtle yeast flavors.

Wine: Wimmer-Czerny Fumberg
Variety: Grüner Veltliner
Vintage: 2011
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 88
Price: $17.00

Find Wimmer-Czerny Fumberg Grüner Veltliner with Snooth

Sepp Moser Schnabel Gruner Veltliner

Sepp Moser Schnabel Grüner Veltliner

The minerality stands out on the nose of this wine, along with deep apple and an elegant spiciness.  The palate also accentuates the mineral characteristics of the wine, with a chalk and flint quality.  There is plenty of citrus too, but it’s as though it has the essence of lemon without the pucker.  A touch of white pepper adds some spice to the mid-palate.  The finish is all mineral, adding a touch of saltiness.  For those who appreciate mineral-centric wines, this one’s a winner.

Wine: Sepp Moser Schnabel
Variety: Grüner Veltliner
Vintage: 2011
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 90
Price: $27.00 

Find Sepp Moser Schnabel Grüner Veltliner with Snooth

Disclosure: These wines were received as a media sample.

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