A most remarkable urban Riesling and 01 Giacosa Santo Stefano

From the “run don’t walk” department…

If Snoop Dogg were a wine blogger, he’d might just say,

    Some how, some way, I just keep tasting funky assed shit wines like every single day…

For those of you concerned that there is no good wine to drink and taste in Texas, please be advised that you can sleep soundly tonight knowing that Tracie P and I are keeping the state safe for great wine.

Last night, we were joined by one of the most fascinating and talked-about figures in the U.S. wine biz, Paul Darcy (see Eric the Red’s post here and Alice’s post here).

Paul is an amazing cat and he tasted us on a fantastic flight of wines grown in the city of Vienna… yes, truly urban wines… I’d read about them and was blown away by the aromas and flavors and the price points of these super food-friendly wines. I was also intrigued to hear his first-hand account of the de facto cooperative system of growers and bottlers that has developed there in the modern era (i.e., from the late 19th-century onward).

But the wine that I can’t stop thinking about, that I wanted “to call the next day,” was Jutta Ambrositch’s Nussberg Riesling (above). Monosyllabic tasting note: Wow… Never tasted anything like that… a truly original and thrilling wine…

Navigating the internets, I’ve found her story recounted best by David Bowler here and I found a photo of the Nussberg cru here. And Paul just weighed in with this remote post via email:

    Jutta works her own vineyards. Most of the vineyards in Vienna are not owned by wineries. They are leased. She took over the lease of her first vineyard, Oberer Reisenberg, from her friend, Fritz Wieninger. Fritz is the largest producer in vienna with about 56 hectar. Some owned, some leased.

    The wines were made at Fritz’s winery. Now they are made at Stefan Hajszan’s winery. Fritz has been expanding so quickly, he didn’t have room for her any longer.

    The riesling from last night comes from the Nussberg. That is the hill. I think one of the best hillsides in Austria. Certainly the most exciting in Vienna. The small vineyard where these grapes are grown is called Ried Preussen. It is one of the oldest in the city. Maybe 600 years old, but I’m guessing here. This planting is from the mid 50’s.

    That flavor profile comes mainly from the terroir. Tons of calcium sea shell deposit. Limestone and light clay. Limestone for the minerality and clay for fruit. She farms biodynamically. By herself with her Jack Russel.

    In the winery, the wines sit on the lees from October to April in stainless. Fermentation is always spontaneous, despite how much that used to bug Fritz. He was always frightened fermentation wouldn’t start and wanted to start with a culture. Most of the growers in Vienna use local yeast as a starter, then the indigenous takes over.

    The terroir is interesting here. It never lets the wines become too weighty. Even though harvest can go as late as early November, the wines maintain an elegance that I haven’t seen so many places.

    Certainly one of my favorites. Funny though, no one paid much attention to her back home until Alice wrote about her. Now she has quite the cult following.

My advice: seek and check it out.

O, and, yeah, we also drank 01 Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano white label, thanks to our new friend Billy, whom we met through our super good friends at Trio at the Four Seasons, where we dined last night.

The Santo Stefano cru produces one of Langa’s greatest expressions of Nebbiolo and one of the greatest wines in the world. Some call it “Baroloesque,” perhaps because it is one of the Barbaresco crus where savory aromas and flavors prevail over fruit. At 9 years out, this wine is extremely young and I loved the meaty chewy texture of the tannin, like eating a blood rare steak with a wonderful relish of berry fruit on top… Beef in a glass… A wonderful experience (thanks again Billy!)…

Some how, some way, me and Tracie P just get to drink funky assed wines like every single day…

Life could be worse… :-)