A Tale of Two Austrian Rosés

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Discovering a wine shop that has a curated selection of off the beaten path wines at affordable prices is a blissful experience for any wine lover. Focusing on small producers that craft their wines using sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices, 22 Second Street Wine Co is a boutique shop with a selection of unique, compelling wines that I can’t wait to pour.

Here are two equally priced, 2015 Rosés hailing from Austria that I picked up, excited to have an opportunity to do a side by side tasting. They are engaging, expressive and couldn’t be more different from each other. Sláinte!

Josef Ehmoser Zweigelt Rosé 2015

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Estate: Headed by 3rd generation winemaker Josef Ehmoser and his wife Martina, the Josef Ehmoser estate is located in Tiefenthal in the village of Grossweikersdorf, in the Wagram region of Austria. The vineyards are located on the left bank slopes of the Danube River. A “high regard for the natural elements” and supporting “the potential of the vines and highlight their innate character” is the driving force behind Josef and Martina’s methods in the vineyards and cellar. The labels, which depict the sun, water and their vines, are a reflection of this conviction.

Philosophy: Simply stated: “respect the environment”. “We are merely observers. It is only in harmony with nature that the true character of our wines thrives. Through deep understanding of the vine, the environment, and the natural processes, the grapes achieve balanced ripeness.”

Winemaking: Sustainable farming, including no irrigation, along with minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar are practiced. Grapes were sourced from loess soils [fossil and mineral-rich soil], then “gently crushed and pressed”. Cool temperature fermented in stainless steel, then aged on the lees. “Uncomplicated and refreshing, Josef recommends his varietal Zweigelt rosé on hot summer days and humid summer nights.”

Tasting Notes: Pale coral pink in colour with aromas of citrus zest, minerals and orange blossom. Tart berries are laced with soft, sweet strawberry and highlighted by a refreshing acidity and clean minerals on the zippy finish. Light and lithe, this really shines with food, especially salty dishes. A perfect refreshing summer sip.

100% Zweigelt
Wagram
Austria
Estate Bottled by Josef Ehmoser
12% Alcohol
$15
Enjoy now

Judith Beck ‘Beck Pink’ Rosé 2015

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Estate: The Judith Beck estate is located on the eastern side of Lake Neusiedl, in the commune of Gols in the Burgenland region of the most eastern part of Austria [which is also the country’s warmest growing region]. It is a family estate, founded by Judith’s parents Matthias and Christine Beck in 1976. Judith took over the reins of the winery in 2004, whilst her father Matthias devotes his time to the care of the 15 hectares of vines. The estate has always used sustainable methods; in 2007 they converted to biodynamic practices. Judith Beck wines are known for their “of pure and vivid expression of the variety “ along with elegance, power and complexity.

Philosophy: “Wine and the joy of living and pleasure all go hand in hand. We prefer wines which captivate all of our senses with each new bottle and each new sip.”

Winemaking: Father and daughter believe in as little intervention as possible in both the vineyard and winery. All wines are vegan with only native yeasts used in fermentation. The grapes were immediately pressed after picking, “the young wines developed on their lees in tank, with one racking; no malolactic fermentation”.

Tasting Notes: Coral pink in colour with alluring aromas of smoky, sweet mesquite and wildflowers. Raspberry, peach and floral notes are glazed with smoky mesquite; a complimentary hint of funky earth comprises the meaty, nearly savory finish. An unconventional and super versatile Rosé that is fantastic on its own, and can be paired with light or heavy dishes alike.

80% Blaufränkisch, 20% St Laurent
Burgenland
Austria
Produced by Judith Beck
12% Alcohol
$16
Enjoy now

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Dürnberg Zweigelt Rosé 2014

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Estate: Weingut Dürnberg is located in the traditional wine village of Falkenstein, in the heart of Austria’s viticultural region. Vineyards have been documented there since the 12th century, and today it is still known as the “wine quarter”. Native Matthias Marchesani, a pioneer in the “new Weinvertel style”, heads the estate; he strives to craft wines that have “an emphasis on freshness and cool acidity” and “are crystal-clear like a Winter’s night, they demonstrate complexity and finesse as well”. The terroir of the Falkenstein cliffs are made up of limestone and decomposing rocks that were shifted up from strata deep below the earth’s surface, lending the “cool character” to his wines. This Rosé is part of the “Drink and Enjoy” line of the estate, wines that are “full flavoured, lower in alcohol” to be enjoyed as an aperitif, with light dishes or “with good friends”.

Philosophy: “What the terroir gives to the grapes is carefully and most lovingly preserved and presented.”

Winemaking: Sustainable viticulture is practiced.

Tasting Notes: Pale coral pink in colour with aromas of red grapefruit, peach and hints of crushed white peppercorn. Slightly muddled tart fruit flavours are framed by a bright acidity, with peppery spice on the dry, clean finish. Overall a bright and tangy Rosé that is a good companion to light dishes.

100% Zweigelt
Falkenstein
Austria
Bottled by Dürnberg Fine Wine GMBH
11.5% Alcohol
$12
Enjoy now thru 2016

Forstreiter ‘ZVY-GELT’ Zweigelt 2011

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Lively, friendly, super versatile at the table, this is a great value and a fun grape to get to know.

Winery: ZVY-GELT is the brainchild of Monika Caha & Toni Silver of Monika Caha Selections, along with winemaker Meinhard Forstreiter of Weingut Forstreiter. The Forstreiter family has been making wine since 1868; their vineyards are located along the right bank of the Danube River, across from the Wachau. Along with a fun, contemporary label, the phonetic spelling of Zweigelt gives everyone a helping hand when it comes to pronouncing this easy drinking Austrian varietal.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards 10-50 years old, and then aged in stainless steel [50%] and in old oak [50%].

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with welcoming aromas of spicy black pepper, toasted oak, sweet vanilla and cherry. Blackberry and raspberry flavours were underscored by tart cherry and a food friendly acidity. Black pepper, black cherry along with sweet and spicy oak elements comprised the lengthy finish.
Enjoy slightly chilled.

100% Zweigelt
Niederösterreich
Austria
Produced and Bottled by Weingut Meinhard Forstreiter
13% Alcohol
$9
Rated 85 points by Wine Enthusiast