Leo regales us with the story of his beginnings and how he eventually built the winery into the hillside. His logo is all caps with the “L” letters backwards in his surname. Apparently this caused quite a stir among his peers at the time. For Leo it’s all about his hills and the play on the name. He makes red wines with the names Small Hill 1, Small Hill 2, and Small Hill 3. When asked why those names he simply replies, “well, I grow the grapes each on their own small hill and I couldn’t come up with a better name than Hill 1, 2 and 3.” Sometimes things are too obvious. I consider a second bowl of goulash, but no one like a goulash glutton.
We have a leisurely morning and then we are off to Wagram to meet Mr. Anton “Tony” Bauer, man of mystery. The winery is a short walk from the main road and we come to a rather subtle cellar as compared to the high fashion wineries we visited so far. The cellar walls have a thick black mold like shag carpet. Visitors have pressed euro coins into the walls for “good luck.” But if you ask me, Tony is saving the Euros to build a new
As we arrive, we are treated to an Amuse Bouche of baby greens with Foie Gras. And it’s a good thing because my Foie intake on this trip was getting low. Tony Bauer arrives with his beautiful golden retriever named Sammy after his favorite actor Samuel L. Jackson. Sammy even joins us on the floor during dinner. The first course is a foamy Gruner Veltliner cream soup with a cracker thin slice of fried bread floating in the middle. As I finish my bowl I quickly scanned the table to see if anyone was not finishing theirs. No luck. I seriously tried to order 10 gallons to take back to the US, but I am told it won’t make it through customs. This is absolutely one of the best soups I have ever tried and as much as I love soup, rarely do I rave about the dish. The 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages of the Gruner Veltliner Grande Reserve are served beside the soup. Yes, they are still oaky, and yes the wines are a perfect match for this dish. I am in awe. Not only are they great, but the 2004 (the oldest vintage) is the perfect wine at this moment. I still can’t believe it. [I have ordered some Grande Reserve to arrive in March. I think Craig thought I was crazy for ordering an expensive, oak-aged Gruner. We’ll see what he says when he tastes it this spring. I could be in big trouble. Please be sure to try this one out, there will be very little available.] We are told the meal is halting for a special break and asked to leave the room. As we file into the adjoining banquet room, we see it is a makeshift movie theater. Tony Bauer debuts his newest short film called “Private Selection.” Tony made the film just for fun and to show off his rarest of all wines. You can watch the movie here.
Next stop, the Loisium hotel. - Salamanzar