Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Refuge's Reuben: pastrami, sauerkraut, melted swiss, russian dressing, toasted rye.
I have a newfound respect for Austrian wines. Austrian? What?!
Rona and I picked up her sis from the airport, and stopped by at the Refuge in San Carlos. Last time their amazing pastrami sandwich sang chorus with a Borgueil, a Loire red wine made from Cabernet Franc. This time, I tempted fate even more, and brought a totally obscure Austrian red - 2008 Blauer Zweigelt from Anita and Hans Nittnaus. I mean who ever drinks Austrian reds?!!! For around $15/bottle, at the low 12.5% alcohol, the wine is more versatile than, say, a Borgueil, nicely balanced in a European (rather than Californian) sort of way (meaning you can taste veggie and fruit), medium-body, reminiscent of a cool climate Pinot Noir but with darker fruit and touch of spiciness. In other words - really really great with the Refuge's menu!
Blauer Zweigelt is an Austrian grape variety that's a cross of relatively obscure but very distinctive Blaufrankisch grape (exemplified by Moric - one of staples of Wine & Spirits Magazine's top 100 wineries of the year, great with charcuterie) and totally obscure St. Laurent grape, from the same family as Pinot Noir. I can also see this wine pairing nicely with lots of pan-Asian cuisine. I finished the bottle two days later with a slice of chocolate cake - a spectacular match, and it was as fresh as the moment I opened it.
The previous bottle I'd had was a white made from Rotgipfler grape - another obscure grape variety from Austria. Stadlmann Tagelsteiner Rotgipfler 2008 (13.5% alc) was a Gruner Veltliner-like white wine, with clear focus, clean, unoaked, expressive fruit flavors, and hint of white pepper. A versatile wine, like Zweigelt above, Rotgipfler goes exceptionally well with curry (particularly, vegetable, seafood, or chicken curry).
Another Austrian - a sparkler (Sekt) - is going to be popped for the Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Come to papa!