From Easter I will now be able to listen to announcements on Viennese public transport in English as well as German. Does this mean I should take off the headphones?
Monthly Archives: February 2011
For me the search for a new wine or the re-acquaintance with an old friend is not just about the actual wine tasting. It’s also the journey you take with others whether literally travelling through the vineyards and communities or in the conversations with those who grow and sell the wines.
Our recent trip to the Burgenland was too good an opportunity to miss as this is one of the main wine growing regions in the country. It’s both fun and interesting to visit vineyards directly but when, as we were, you are short on time and you want to sample a cross section of an areas wines then the village or town vinothek is an excellent option.
As we left the vinothek in Gols R suggested that we had just enough time, if we took the ‘short cut’ through Hungary, to visit the vinothek in Neckenmarkt – an Austrian village in the area south of the Hungarian town of Sopron. This was a community wine shop that R had visited in October, just before driving back to Vienna to pick me up from the airport. It was also the place where she had purchased a very nice bottle of ‘sam 2007’ a blend of Zweigelt, Merlot and Syrah from the Wellanschitz family vineyard. So with a little help from my iPhones sat nav when we took the inevitable – as is always the way with R’s short cuts – wrong turn, we arrived in Neckenmarkt. Along the way, I have to admit, we did stop off at the vinothek in Horitschon since we were passing.
The Neckenmarkt vinothek, to quote from the website, ‘is located in the 300 year old vaulted cellar of the former town hall and presented a cross-section of all bottle-filling operation of the wine community Neckenmarkt’ (Google translate).
Our host at the vinothek was an engaging young man who quickly began to get to grips with our wine preferences, through a combination of conversation and some initial offerings. His knowledge of particular harvests, grapes and vineyards in both the area and region added extra colour to the tasting of one excellent wine after another. This was the sort of ‘gentle selling’ that adds to the tasting and purchasing experience combined with excellent products. We left the shop very satisfied customers and having purchased a little more wine than we had originally intended.
The great surprise of our tasting was the discovery that not only was the ‘sam 2007’ as enjoyable as remembered but each of the other three wines we tried from the Wellanschitz vineyard were equally of the highest quality. Thus purchases were made of the ‘altes weingebirge 2009’, ‘burgstall 2009’, and the ‘Hochberg 2009’. Space in the car, diminishing funds, as well as the purchase of some wines from other vineyards placed a much needed restriction of my desire to buy at least one bottle of all the varieties offered by the Wellanschitz family.
R and I agreed that we had discovered a new vineyard to add to the favourites list and to enthusiastically recommend to friends. When the opportunity arises I hope to make the trip back to Neckenmarkt to explore other wines but particularly to visit the Wellanschitz vineyard.
I don’t always find myself agreeing with Nick Cleggs views and actions but I love this quote from an interview in the Guardian and the article is worth reading as a whole:
“I need to say this – you shouldn’t trust any government, actually including this one. You should not trust government – full stop. The natural inclination of government is to hoard power and information; to accrue power to itself in the name of the public good.” (Nick Clegg)
A sad and odd story from the Austrian Times
As some readers will know I am a big fan of Austrian red wine. So the opportunity to have a wine tasting session here at the Spa we are staying in could not be ignored.
Now not every Austrian red wine is good and I’ve certainly tried a few that I’ve not enjoyed. However, put five glasses in front of me with offerings from well known vineyards and I generally expect to have my taste buds amused and find at least one to excite.
What I wasn’t expecting was the four glass on our list. Had I ordered a bottle the price tag would have been 50 euros. R made some ‘enlightening’ comments on the aroma of a wine that was for us simply undrinkable. The experience was a small shock to the system but balanced off by the much better samples in the other four glasses, which I am happy to report were considerably better.
The wine bar here at the Spa is excellent, with friendly and helpful staff. Despite the surprise with the fourth glass the wine tasting was a very enjoyable evening. Tonight we will return as the vintner of a local vineyard is providing tonights offerings.
Despite the Austrian Times running a series of negative stories about public transport in the city, a poll of the online newspapers readers is currently showing strong support for the quality of the network.
The coffeehouse at Cobenzl provides superb views across Vienna with the river Danube cutting through the city. With vineyards directly in front and Vienna Woods behind, you just need to block out the car park to your left.
Our waitress this morning was very friendly and helpful. She quickly adjusted to talking to H in German and switching to English to deal with yours truly. With the sun shining in on our quiet and comfortable setting H and I agreed that driving up into the woods for a late breakfast was an excellent choice.
This is a popular location. There is a very small zoo, restaurant, playgrounds and paths for walking in the woods. With tourist coaches and city dwellers alike filling the car park at weekends this is not usually top of my list for a quiet coffee. However, with many people away skiing during the school break and by arriving mid morning we seem to have found the right moment.
Our location is round the corner from the church where the King of Poland, leading the Christian army, prayed before leading his forces down the hill to relieve Vienna from the besieging Turks. The site is also the location of Modul University.
Return to the coffeehouse, H highly recommends the boiled egg which she says was fresh and nice – a high complement from my eight year old. However, she would liked to have had Nuttela served with the fresh rolls rather than the raspberry and apricot jams.
Coffee was enjoyable and to confirm this I of course had to order a second just to double check.