I went to a wine dinner in Greenacres, Wexford last Friday, featuring the wines of the two producers above. It was a great night, with very good food, very good company, and some fantastic wines.
I am more used to meeting Thomas Klinger at the Bründlmayer stand at various trade wine fairs. At these he manages to pour an endless stream of wines to half a dozen clients while imparting a huge amount of information, all without missing a beat. Thomas is hugely knowledgeable and full of enthusiasm. It helps that he works for Bründlmayer, one of Austria’s greatest winemakers.
Willi Bründlmayer produces a large number of wines, mainly white, from his vineyards on the terraced slopes of the Kamptal. Over the last five years, I have come to prefer the wines of this region compared to those of the neighbouring Wachau, which has a higher reputation. Wachau wines tend to be rich and powerful, those from the Kamptal more elegant. The Bründlmayer reds are delicate and refined; the whites are always good and often profound. Thomas showed three wines before dinner, including the stunning rich Grüner Veltliner Kaferberg 2013 (€40). With dinner the stars were the delicious Grüner Veltliner Ried Loiserberg 2011 (€20) and the amazing Gelber Muskateller TBA 2002, transported over by Thomas from Austria but sadly unavailable commercially. In addition to the above wines, I am huge fan of the Bründlmayer Rieslings; my value pick from Greenacres would probably be the 2013 Riesling Kamptaler Terrassen for €17.50.
Dorli Muhr attends the same wine fairs, but is a very different presence with far fewer wines. She runs one of the leading PR agencies in Austria, representing many of the wine producers. However, she is also very involved in her own winery. Having bought a vineyard in Tuscany some years ago, she met Dirk Niepoort of the eponymous Port house. They fell in love and she moved to the Douro. However, when the relationship ended, they collaborated on a project in Austria, where the cooler climate allowed them to produce more elegant refined wines, the style that Muhr herself preferred. Until recently the wines were made by South African Irishman, Craig Hawkins who worked with Eben Sadie and now makes wine at Lammershoek. The vineyards are on the Spitzerberg in Carnuntum. Muhr has planted a mix of grape varieties on the limestone soils, but the star is Blaufränkisch, Central Europe’s native red grape that is now attracting interest worldwide.
Before dinner, we tasted Cuvée Vom Berg, a very decent Cabernet, Merlot, Blaufränkisch blend, the Samt & Seide below and the wonderful Liebkind Blaufränkisch 2012. At €25 this is very good value and a great expression of Blaufränkisch (made from very young vines), a svelte fresh wine with piquant dark fruits. Over dinner, we tried a very good Merlot, Rote Erde 2012 (€22.50), but the conversation switched to Syrah, and Muhr called for a bottle of her 100% Syrah Sydhang 2011, the surprise of the night for me. I am tired of producers telling me how their Syrah is ‘just like the Northern Rhône’, when it clearly isn’t, but the Sydhang certainly had some resemblance, along with a lovely character all of its own. Great value at €22.50 too.
Dorli & Thomas try out Irish cheese
Wines to buy
All of the wines below are available from Greenacres in Wexford. You may also find the Muhr van der Niepoort wines in a few independent wine shops around the country as well. Greenacres have a wide range of both producer’s wines. I have yet to come across a dud from either.
Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner 2013 Kamptaler Terrassen
Delicious light fresh crisp dry wine with hints of ginger spice and subtle green fruits.
Muhr van der Niepoort Samt & Seide 2012
Superb silky soft wine with blue fruits, balanced acidity and an easy finish. Pinotesque in style, a restrained and elegant wine.
However, if I were wandering around Greenacres, I would certainly be sorely tempted to buy a few bottles of the Bründlmayer Rieslings and the Sydhang Syrah too.