Tasting No. 165- March 30, 2015 – Wines from Eastern Europe


Club del Vino




Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Tokaj Wine

Tokaj Wine


1. Presenter and Participants

Wines presenter: Jairo Sánchez

Participants:  Mario Aguilar, Marcello Averburg,   Ruth Connolly, Emilio Labrada, Alvaro Lopez, Ítalo Mirkow,  Alfonso Sánchez, Jairo Sánchez,  Ginger Smart, Carlos E. Velez, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke, Jorge Requena ( Jairo Sánchez’s guest)

Type of Tasting: Open

2. The Wines

  1. Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz 2012, – Kamptal Reserve Schloss Gobelsburg
  2. Rkatsiteli Amber Wine, 2011 – Pheasant Tears
  3. Blaufrankisch Troken Qulitätswein 2012 – Peter Schandl
  4. 1827 Rara Neagra de Purcari. 2013 – Purcari Chateau
  5. Fermint Late Harvest 2007, Chateau Megyer. Hungría (Jairo’s courtesy)

3. The Menu

  1. Pescado a la Parrilla con Espárragos y Vegetal
  2. Pasta Primavera con aceite de olive
  3. Filete de Res a la Plancha, en reducción de vino, papas doradas y habichuelas
  4. Postre y/o Café

 4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz 2012 – Kamptal Reserve Schloss Gobelsburg

Gruner 2

Grüner Veltliner is the signature grape of Austria, and by far the nation’s most widely planted wine grape (36%). As Austria battles its way back to stardom on the international wine market, crisp, spicy Gruner Veltliner has been its flagship wine. The finest expressions of Austrian Gruner come from vineyards above the Danube River, in Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal. Classic Gruner Veltliner wines show citrus aromas (lemon peel and grapefruit) complemented by fresh vegetal notes and the variety’s trademark hint of white pepper.

There are two key styles of Gruner Veltliner wine. The first – lighter, fresher and citrus-focused – is typical of Weinviertel. It is often bottled with a slight spritz, to lift the wine and emphasize its fresh, fruity notes. The second style – spicier, weightier and more complex – is embodied by the top wines from the warmer Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal regions. These wines are richly textured and well structured, and require several years in bottle before reaching developed maturity. With time they soften and take in honeyed, marmalade-like characteristics that match their attractive, deep golden hue.

The Wine.  Apple pips and peach kernel piquancy as well as a decidedly stony note and a firm if fine-grained feel lend a certain austerity to the Gobelsburg 2012 Gruner Veltliner Steinsetz, but there is ample primary juiciness of mint-infused apple and melon through which seems to shimmer a diversity of mineral matter. Ester-rich, high-toned aromas here encompass kirsch and mirabelle distillates, which reprise as shadows to a lingering finish. Plan to follow this through at least 2018.

Aromatic and gastronomic inspiration from Schloss Gobelsburg with this. Apricot notes mix with white spice, dill, green pepper and acacia flowers, while the palate sports flavours of melon and pears, minerals and spice.

Alcohol:  13 %;  Price: $ TBA

Food Pairing:  Tomatoes. Australasia/Oceania: Tuna tartare and wasabi and peppercorn mayo; pan-fried snapper with asparagus spears. Americas: Waldorf salad; zucchini tarta (quiche)

Expert Ratings: WA 90 pts.  SWA/Sommelier Wine Awards: Gold Medal

Rkatsiteli Amber Wine 2011-Pheasant Tears

Pheasant tears

 Rkatsiteli Grape. Traditional Georgian grape varieties are little known in the West. Now that the wines of Eastern and Central Europe are coming to international awareness, grapes from this region are becoming better known. Although there are nearly 400 to choose from, only 38 varieties are officially grown for commercial viticulture in Georgia.

  • The ancient white grape Rkatsiteli originates in Georgia and is one of the oldest grape varieties. In Georgia, clay vessels were found with seeds of Rkatsiteli grapes which date back to 3000 BC. Rkatsiteli was popular in the Soviet Union prior to its fall and at one point was responsible for more the 18% of all Soviet wine production. There it was used to make everything from table wine to liqueurs to Sherry-like fortified wine. The variety’s stronghold region, Kakheti, is particularly affected by sub-zero temperatures and snow fall; its inland location, halfway between the Black and Caspian seas, gives it a more continental climate than the rest of Georgia. And while winter poses challenges to the vine organism itself, hot summers hold their own challenges, more oenological than biological. Long, hot summers such as those experienced in Georgia would cause many grape varieties to lose acidity, making for structureless, “flat” wines. Rkatsiteli, however, has naturally robust acids and sugars in equal measure. Rkatsiteli’s only obvious drawback as a variety is its lack of aromatic complexity.  The grape is mostly planted in its ancestral home of Georgia though there are still sizable plantings in other Eastern European countries like Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Macedonia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.  .

The typical Rkatsiteli wine is best described as restrained and refreshing, with crisp green-apple flavors and hints of quince and white peach. It might be compared to good-quality Petit Chablis, or perhaps Pinot Grigio from northern Italy. Recently, it has been employed with great success in orange wines, where the grapes are left to macerate on their skins for longer, giving more complexity and texture to the wine.

Producer notes.  We use only traditional Georgian varietals and vinification methods. Our naturally grown grapes are pressed into qvevri, clay vessels lined with bees wax, where they undergo primary and malolactic fermentation spontaneously with native yeasts and where they are aged to perfection with long skin maceration until bottling. We believe that Georgian wine has something vibrant, essential and unique to offer the world.

Rkatsiteli 2011 Bodviskhevi village is home to our special east Alazani Valley Rkatsiteli vineyard. This rich varietal expresses an aroma of honey and dried apricots, surprisingly dry with a mixture of ripe goosenberries and walnut on the palate, made full bunch clusters gently crushed in qvevri and prolongued maceration on the skins.

Alcohol: 12.5  %;  Price:  $ TBA

Expert Ratings: 89 Pts.

Blaufrankisch Troken Qulitätswein 2012 – Peter Schandl


Blaufränkisch. The blaufränkisch grape is grown mostly in Austria, where it makes a spicy red wine that can be graceful yet intense, complex yet tangy and refreshing. Blaufränkisch is made as well in Germany, where it is often called Lemberger.  Blaufränkisch is a late ripening red wine grape variety, common in Northern Burgenland. Legend has it that Carl the Great appreciated Blaufränkisch and recommended its proliferation. This variety is referred to as Pinot Noir of the East. The wines are of fine texture and fruity bouquet, best to drink between the second and the fourth storage year.

 The greatest improvements in Austrian wine have come in the red wine category, mainly because they were for the most part: thin, green, weedy, or crushed by excessive oak and over-extraction.  Now Austrian vintners, at least the top tier, have moved past this developmental phase to the point where terroirs and native varieties have been embraced with confidence. The recent tastings, including wines from the excellent 2011 and 2012 vintages, underscore the point of Austrian winemakers spending more time looking at their vineyards rather than outside the country and comfortable in the knowledge that with both their native grapes and their varied terroirs they are able to produce distinctive and qualitative wines.

The Wine. Winemaker Paul Schandl joins together heritage of his more than 270-years-old family wine state with the strength of native terroir to produce uniquely expressive vintage wines.   Moderate maroon coloration. Full, gamey nose of meat and an almost yeasty, doughy scent. Smooth but full palate with good balance of fruit, acidity and tannin. Pronounced aroma, spicily elegant, velvety tannins, cherry notes.

Alcohol:   12.5%;  Price: $TBA

Expert Ratings: TBA

1827 Rara Neagra de Purcari, 2013 – Purcari Chateau


Rara neagră is a red variety traditionally used mostly for blending with other varieties, e.g. the famous Negru de Purcari. Responsible for the fame of the Purcari wines in the 18th century, before Cabernet Sauvignon was introduced. Total area planted – 170 hectares mostly in the Purcari regionMoldova may be the Galapagos of wine. For centuries, this region has evolved virtually undisturbed by the West. To sip Rara Neagră is to discover a distinctive, low-tannin, high-acid gem that feels as at-home in the Rhone or Sardinia.  Rara Neagră is the culmination of grace and elegance.  Purcari wines are harvested by hand and created under the strict cannons of Moldovan winemaking tradition.

The wine has an aristocratic ruby red color with a pomegranate tint.  The rich, velvety taste with notes of dried fruits and vanilla slowly evolves into an aftertaste with subtle oak tints.

Alcohol:  % ;  Price: TBA

Experts Ratings: TBA

4. Club del Vino Members Rating : 

Criterio para calificar:

Excepcional: 96-100 puntos; Excelente: 90-95 puntos; Muy Bueno: 86-89 puntos; Bueno: 81-85 puntos; Aceptable: 75-80 puntos.

Tipo de Degustacion: Abierta

El  primer vino Blanco, fue calificado  como  Muy Bueno con promedio de 89 puntos y el segundo vino Blanco (color Ambar), como  Bueno con una Media de 83 puntos; el primer tinto fue calificado  de Muy Bueno con un promedio de 86 puntos y  el segundo tinto, con un promedio de 91 puntos, fue  calificado como Excelenta.  En resumen, en esta  degustacion de marzo 2015 , segun las notas del grupo, se obtuvieron calificaciones de Muy Buenos para los tres primeros vinos, que se degustaron, y de Excelente para el ultimo vino.

Vinos degustados

Gruner Veltriner Steinsetz 2012. Kamptal Reserve S. G.

Media: 89

Desviacion Estandar: 3.7

Mediana: 90

Moda: 90

Impresion General:   Un vino bueno de Austria, elaborado con una de sus mejores uvas. Con mucho aroma a citricos, notas de apricot mezcladas con especies blancas, muestra caracteristicas especiales.

Rkatsiteli Amber Wine, 2011. Pheasant Tears.

Media: 83

Desviacion Estandar: 6.8

Mediana: 85

Moda: 85

Impresion General: Un vino muy especial elaborado con la   tradicional Georgian uva. Muy sabroso y misterioso sabor y color ambar. Tiene un complejo aroma  a manzanas verdes y miel muy agradable.

Blaufrankisch Troken Qulitatswein, 2012. Peter Schandl.

Impresion General: Este vino tinto es elaborado con uvas originarias de Austria, refrescante sabor y color marron. Tiene un buen balance de frutas acidas y taninos y un pronunciado y elegante aroma con notas de cherry. En general un vino muy agradable.

Media: 86

Desviacion Estandar: 3.5

Mediana: 86

Moda:   86


1827 Rara Neagra de Purcari, 2013. Purcari Chateau.

Media: 91

Desviación Estandar: 2.8

Moda: 88

Mediana: 91

Impresion General: Un excelente vino con especiales caracteristicas y sabor, tiene un llamativo color rubi con notas a frutas secas, vainilla y en resumen, un elegante e impresionante sabor.

5. Regional Notes

For purposes of this tasting Eastern Europe region includes Austria, Hungary,  Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro.  Even though more wines from this countries are becoming available in the US markets, it is still hard to find high quality wines locally,  with the exception of wines from Austria.  Austria has developed by far the most sophisticated quality wines amongst the countries in the region in recent years.  The rest of the countries in the region, despite their long tradition in wine making (for example Croatia is mentioned as being the cradle of the most ancient grape varieties of Europe and of the world), suffered the consequences of the commodity approach to wine and of anti-drinking regulations  under the Soviet system.  During that time the approach was to produce in bulk to meet the quotas assigned by the government and to supply Russian markets under the planned production markets.  Under the state monopoly for wine sales and distribution, the focus was on quantity rather than quality, the vineyards were not tended as needed, many were abandoned to wild growth and overall production used primitive methods often lacking hygiene and quality control.  This situation however started to change with the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 80’s when these countries began restructuring the wine industry with the inflow of private capital,  the pressure of declining  demand for their product in Russia, and very competitive market in the west.

The redevelopment of the wine industry in Eastern Europe is still under way and there is a long way to go.  One of the most important changes in the region was the planting and production of grape varieties more known in the West (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.) that came to substitute the native varieties less popular in the new markets.  Success in this respect is emerging and one can get very pleasant and decent wines (western varietal and blends) at low prices.  Hungary, Georgia and Moldova seem to be ahead of the others in producing more and more good wines at very affordable prices.  In any event, this is a region worth exploring by the wine aficionado not only for the western varietals but for the native ones. The following is a bullet overview of some of the countries in the region extracted from Jancis Robinson’s  Wine Course book (Austria not included but you can read more at: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-austria ):

Hungary: Complex and full bodied whites (Furmine, Harslevelü and Leánika), reds (mostly Kadarka) and western varieties.  They have the coveted and world famous sweet Tokaj or Tokaji with different degrees of sweetness and prices.  This mainly, but not exclusively from the Furmine grape the skin of which thins as the grape ripens allowing the sun heat to enter the grape and evaporate the liquid inside which results in a high concentration of sugar (different form the late harvest sweet wines elsewhere).  The wine is fermented and aged in mold covered caves. You can read more about this incredible wine here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokaji

Bulgaria: Low price western style wines and good white Rkatsiteli (most planted in and original from Georgia)

Romania:  Still underdeveloped industry but some very good whites and cabernets.

Moldova: Excellent growing conditions for western-style wines. Trade affected by local political and logistical issues (transport, cork availability, etc.).

Confederation of Independent States: In this group comprising Georgia, Azerbaijan , Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the first one has the oldest wine culture and produces really good wines of western style.  They also have good reds based on the Saperavi grape.



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