A balmy evening at a favorite summer dining spot, The Well at Jordan’s Farm, yields Austrian wines to savor and some solid wine-tasting advice.
“Your first taste is practically a throwaway,” says my wine-savant pal, Chris Ziagos. “Enjoy,” he says, “but disregard that first sip. Then taste again.” Hm.
We start with Tegernseerhof’s Mittelbach Zeigelt Rosé from Wachau, a bubbly beginning. We finish among the swoony, robust reds like Netzl’s Anna Christina and Zweigelt Classic.
I always assumed the swirling business was a show-off move. “No,” says Ziagos, “it aerates the wine, it’s been trapped in the bottle a long time.” Oxygen unleashes wine’s essence — free the wine!
Like a diamond, we study the wine’s color and clarity. Like a dame, we check out her legs. Tilt your glass so the wine runs down the sides – “legs” indicate alcohol, sugar and flavor.
Not Too Serious
The Hillinger rep has us in the groove when he describes his sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé as a “nice breakfast wine.” Advice: Find your peeps, have a laugh – it’s not that serious.
I try a beery Meinklang Foam that’s just not for me. “Spit!” says Ziagos, “people don’t spit enough at wine tastings.” I’m relieved that spitting is not only acceptable, but encouraged. I’m cultivating a confident, direct, un-spewy style.
Tastings ideally pair foods that complement the wines – there’s a reason for all that bread and cheese. Some sommeliers recommend not eating, but that’s not our Epicurious style.
There are no stupid questions when it comes to wine. You’ll hear tales of history, method and magic – each unique and fascinating. The more you know, the more fun you’ll have.
Wineries are delighted when you find something you love, and happy to offer another sip or two to seal the deal. Don’t love the Reisling? Taste the Zweigelt or Cabernet Sekt.
We circle back to our favorites: A smooth and minerally Gruner Veltliner T26 Federspeil – delicious! And the Grace Kelly of wine, the elegant Gruner Veltliner Hohereck. We take notes for later purchase. I’m delighted to discover the Meinklang Frizzante Rosé in my neighborhood Rosemont.
As we sip, savor, and explore our way through this wonderful working Maine farm, we promise to return for dinner at The Well soon – summer is here at last!