With Mr. Karl Steininger of Steininger wines as our host, we got to know the late night/early morning crowd at the Loisium both evenings. His long drinking session reputation preceded him and we were warned. The second evening I went to sleep in the low digit morning hours, but several of the group never went to sleep and continued on with Karl tasting each and every barrel of wine in the cellars. Once you have tried your 11th tank of 2008 Gruner Veltliner, it’s a little difficult to taste
The family produces their Sekt only in the best of vintages and ages the bubbles for an extended period in the barrel or tank, then on the lees for just 1 year in the bottle. Karl explains that his preference is to “taste the wine in the sparkling wine” and not the yeasty quality. They produce a vintage “Grand Cru” only in magnum and hand sign each bottle. The base wine is aged for four years in 2,000 Liter wood barrels made from local forest wood. At the Loisium bar we must have downed 4 or 5 magnums our first night. I knew it was good, but didn’t realize...
In between our time at the Loisium and the Steiningers, we snuck away to the Wachau region to walk the terraces with Martin Mittelbach of Tegernseerhof estate. It’s wicked cold as we depart the bus and Martin marches us up the hillside into the vines. Seeing the hills, the
We sit down for a formal tasting of new vintage wines and eat some of the best bread I have ever had. I can’t stop eating the basket of rolls. Klaus Wittauer is obsessed with a video promoting Austria and he literally comes to tears as we watch it for the fifth or sixth time. I admire his passion for the homeland and the video is great to watch (see below). After a dozen or more wines, it’s time for lunch. In a beautiful setting complete with candles and fine dining catering, under a giant antique wine press, we dine and drink the great Tegernseerhof wines. Martin is young and ambitious. He has brought on an assitant, Annika, to help make wine so he can pursue his ideas in the vineyards. As much as I enjoyed the wines, I am left wondering if customers are ready to pay for a single vineyard “Steinertal” Riesling 2002 from Austria. Baby steps, baby steps. For now we’ll stick to the T26 Gruner Veltliner and his rosé, both coming this spring. - Salamanzar