A simple observation and subsequent question on the forum of Wein-Plus got me thinking: "At the moment, I am again struck by the beautiful scent of lime blossoms outside. This scent is also listed under the topic floral/floral when smelling wine. Which grape variety or better yet which wine exhibits these aromas?" I'm getting to thinking!
|The majestic lime tree in front of the house creates a special aura|
Outside my window is a magnificent lime tree in bloom. For days, the slightly sweet, aromatic scent has permeated my writing room. Memories of youth, when as boys we climbed the linden trees to pick blossoms and earn a few bob; of the tea my mother brewed when I had a sore throat, a tummy ache, a cough and I don't know what; of a beautiful spring day at the Attersee in Austria, where we sat together over fish and wine before a degustation (theme: Languedoc) and a sweet linden scent drowned out the slightly musty smell of stagnant water. Homesickness or wanderlust?
I grew up by a lake, I love boiled trout, "trout blue" and I especially enjoy drinking a fresh, fruity, spicy white wine with it. At our table at the Linde on Lake Attersee, there is also a vintner from Burgenland. Herbert Lassl from Sigleß. We talk about Austrian wine, the witches' hills, the Hallstatt culture, the special grape varieties of Austria, the difficulties of the vintners, the beauty of the landscape and (because we are sitting at a beautiful lake) of course about the Neusiedlersee "with the best climate in the world for the development of "Botrytis cinerea" or noble rot".
|The lime blossom develops a full% sweet% intense fragrance|
And of all things, that's when it happened. I begin to feel ashamed: What do I know about Austrian wine regions, what do I know about Austrian wines? And I am seized by wanderlust. Burgenland.
Burgenland is not that far away - but it is a good three hundred kilometres further west, almost 900 kilometres from my home.
We drink a white wine with the fish, which the winegrower has brought along. I'm not quite sure anymore if it was a Grüner Veltliner or a Welschriesling. In any case, it goes very well with the trout. And again I start to think. Welschriesling? There is something nutty about this wine - or did I just read that and now repeat the impression disguised as my own experience? In any case, acidity and fruit dominate. And this greenish colour: was it a Grüner Veltliner after all? I don't know anymore, the aroma experience is too far back.
|St. Laurent: strong% fruity% velvety and full-bodied|
The winemaker from Burgenland brought a few more bottles in addition to the white. Six reds from his vineyard, from the blue Zweigelt "Primus" to the cuvée "Terzo" 2000. The "Terzo" is his top cuvée from Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in oak barrels. An interesting variation to the traditional Bordeaux assemblage. But we won't drink any of that now. Languedoc is the topic.
The cuvee "Ultimo", on the other hand, we taste the next day, in private, during a little tour d'horizon through Austria's wine culture: Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. I liked the cuvée, my interest was aroused. Wanderlust!
|The aroma of the Vistula is omnipresent in the tasted wines from Burgenland|
I packed up the remaining five wines, carried them in my hand luggage on the train and promptly forgot them in the cellar later
The fragrant Lindenbaum jogged them awake in my memory. Instead of a 1994 or 1997 Bordeaux, today we have the 2004 St. Laurent from the Lassl house in Burgenland: the exact name "Jungfernlese". We sit behind the house in the garden, waiting for tender meat from the grill and the roast potatoes. There is nothing to see and nothing to smell of the lime tree here.
I have a hard time with the strong, fruity aromas of the St. Laurent. My wife says laconically: It reminds me of a Swiss country wine, a Pinot, with a somewhat "different" taste: sour cherry, sour cherries. Indeed, the memory rises up in me again: the rascal from Lake Zurich, who nibbles the forbidden fruits directly from the trees and then comes home with a terrible stomachache: homesickness!
|Tasting in Attersee. Far right Herbert Lassl% winemaker from Sigleß in Burgenland|
I go into my garden, there is a cherry tree there too, is it sour cherry? I taste the unripe red fruit. Yes, these aromas are also in the St. Laurent.
But now it's time for the Zweigelt. Again my wife: "so this is this famous Zweigelt, I think I've never drunk it before!" And my comment after the first sip: "heavens, this sour cherry aroma again, but much softer, lighter, smoother than in the St. Laurent. No wonder, the Blaue Zweigelt is a breeding of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. "A ladies' wine," I scoff, and promptly receive the much more competent reply, "the wine reminds me of Diolinoir, a new breed from the Valais!"
|Vineyard landscape at Lake Neusiedl|
It doesn't stop there. As the next wine - in the meantime it has already become dark, the grillade has been consumed long ago - we open the third in the bunch: Blaufränkisch. According to the wine glossary, Charlemagne already appreciated this grape variety. Wanderlust comes up: yes, the Blaufränkisch country, which opens up so wonderfully to the Hungarian lowland plain. In any case, what we have in the glass - a typical Austrian from Burgenland - reveals a lot of independence and self-confidence, also a lightness, and wonderful fruit aromas, a dark ruby red color and a - for the Cabernet Merlot drinker - peculiar, powerful bouquet that triggers even more wanderlust in me. Today, a day later, the scent of lime ("fleur de tilleul") floods back into my room. I plan to drink Lassl's two more "international" wines tonight, the Pinot noir, 2004, "Jungfernlese" and the Cuvée "Terzo" 2000. Will the experience of the first encounter be repeated? Compared to yesterday, the wines seem more familiar to us now: Cabernet and Pinot are familiar to us. And yet: they are different from all the Pinots we know, from all the variations of Cabernet assemblages. Or is it just because yesterday's experience lives on, summarized like this: powerful, round, pronounced aromas and strong spiciness?
In the meantime, I have diligently re-tasted all five wines while writing this column, without spitting. And now I know that Austrian wine enjoyment is not only possible in faraway places, but also at home, under the blossoming linden tree. Homesickness combined with wanderlust?
Yours sincerely, Peter