Hot Vintners

November 15th, 2010

Vienna, or Wien as the Austrians call it, is absolutely wonderful — the architecture, wine, food, culture, history…I could go on and on. However, any trip to Vienna would be incomplete without venturing away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and visiting the Burgenland. This idealic wine region located to the south of Vienna along the Hungarian border is absolutely gorgeous with its numerous villages and vineyard after vineyard. Yes, believe it or not this city girl is telling you to leave the urban hub behind and travel the hinterlands.  For if you do, you will stumble upon one of the most vital and rich, yet for some unknown reason, not openly-discussed, assets of the Mittelburgenland (middle section of the Burgenland Region) — that is the treasure of many very young and very attractive male vintners! They seem to populate the Burgenland region at every turn. No joke! During our day and a half in Burgenland, I witnessed more hot guys within a 30-mile radius that could not only talk about wine, but make it and serve it in the most gentlemanly manner, than I have ever before seen.  It’s the best wine-marketing scheme ever, that is…for women! Forget Eat, Pray, Love — just travel to the Burgenland on a wine tour!  And if you do, one stop HAS to be Hillinger Winery. I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with one of these handsome, young men and, I must say, I liked his wine too!  I am eternally grateful to whoever was responsible for planning our trip — for they had the foresight to break us up into small groups and pair us with our own vintner fpr private winery tours (BTW: Vintner is just the fancy word for wine maker). Let’s just say I ended up being with my two new EWBC girlfriends, Olga Mosina and Mengxi Lu Mengxi and we were paired with the charming and talented Edgar Brutler of Hillinger Winery. He both wined and dined us which only made us like him more! After touring the gorgeous crisp white, steel and glass winery facility, Edgar took all three of us upstairs…to the tasting room. With Hillinger’s vineyard vista as our backdrop, we sampled seven of Hillinger’s finest. Below are a few brief joint tasting notes by we three ladies (in italics) and my ranking from best (#1) to my least favorite (#7) of the seven:

  • #1: Gruner Veltliner 2009 – to drink with your beloved – this is the wine in the picture
  • #2: Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – dry at first, but ends smooth like a cat purring
  • #3: Gelber Muskateller 2009 – sweet!
  • #4: Zweigelt 2009 – purple velvet
  • #5: St. Laurent 2007 – the tight skin ripens immediately on this grape creating great acidity, but Edgar said it will age well.
  • #6: Blaufrankisch Leithaberg DAC 2008 and #7: Hill 3 – I didn’t really care very much for the reds — just where my taste buds were that day.

Hillinger is one of the largest wine producers in Austria within the top quality segment – producing 500,000 bottles in 2009 with an area under cultivation of 50 hectacres.  The winery is owned by the Leo Hillinger Family. Around 50% of the total production is exported to 18 different countries including the U.S. I’ve found Hillinger readily available at Party Source in Newport, KY.

After tasting at the winery, Edgar wisked us off to lunch at TiMiMoo in the nearby town of Rust. This very chic restaurant is located in a rounded-stone ceiling basement which creates a really cozy and organic, natural atmosphere. The food was to die for and Edgar paired each course with a great Hillinger wine. It savoured our private visit with Edgar much longer than any of the other groups, showing up quite late to our next appointment. Edgar was a gracious host to us giggling, wine-filled females. It was a day in Mittelburgenland that I will never forget.

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