Beauty, poet and sculptor Gita Ghei once noted that if ever you're having a bad day, just have breakfast and you can start over. Taking her wisdom to heart we've begun to research which wines work best with, or instead of breakfast. Yes, Rieslings may have the upper hand from the get go, and though this first installment begins to look into that possibility, we also intend to give fair shakes to Muscadet, Cortese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir among others. Please remember that CQ encourages your comments and suggestions on this or any other topic. Post them by clicking on 'comment.'
One morning not long ago we dropped into the lovely new Discovery wine shop on New York City's Lower East Side where importer Domaine Select was hosting an Austrian tasting. Several winemakers were on hand to present their wares and while much more than just Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners were poured, all were white and all reasonable suitable for early morning ministrations. In the rather random order in which they were poured:
Sudsteiermark (South Styria) Lackner-Tinnacher; Muskateller, Gamlitz 2003. South Styria, in the very southern tip of Austria, has vineyards graced with warm Adriatic winds. This wine showed fresh, steely acids; subtle, muted sugars; great balance of green and muscle.
Sudoststeiermark (SE Styria) Frühwirth, Klöcher Tranminer, Hochwarth 2003. Rose petally; earthy, fuller fruits.
Thermenregion, Karl Alphart, Rotgipfler 2003. Our favorite, maybe.
Georgeous, explosive minerality; clear, faintly tropical fruit invoking distilled banana mango. What glorious structure here though, like the young Brigitte Bardot. Rotgipfler varietal only grows in this wee place, close to Vienna but sheltered from cold NE winds by warm Hungarian winds. The grape seems not to be much exported as yesterday when we dropped in to Discoverey they sadly had none on offer.
Donauland/Wagrau, Leth, Roter Veltliner, Scheiben 2003. Oddly, Red Veltliner is both older than and not related to Gruner Veltliner. It is a late ripening grape harvested from the beginning to late November. From fifty year old vines, this is powerful wine and exactingly trimmed. Its nuanced spicy fragrances hinted to apricot without overbearing sugars and its big, elegant loping length had a pretty, unsticky finish.
Donauland/Wagrau, Wimmer-Czerny, Taminer Trio, Mitterweg 2003. We were quite fond indeed of the hyperminerality here, which we'd imagine renders vitamins redundant. Low low acids meant this had less body than the others. The Riesling is a descendant of Traminer and this wine was a blend of 3 Traminers: Red, Yellow and Gewurtz. Notable was the delicious yeast here that the winemakers carefully cultivate on their own vineyards which certainly pays off.
Kamptal, Brandl, Reisling, Heiligenstein 2003. Another top pick. Huge complexity, very light in color. Minerally pepper spice. Lovely, come to think of it, for breakfast; reason enough to get out of bed.