Bright medium dusty ruby color. Bright, fruity, toasty aromas of blackberries, smith bros. cherry cough drops, vanillin, and potter clay with a crisp, dryish full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish with firm, well-integrated tannins and moderate oak.
2013 Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon California ($2.99)
NV Charleston Sercial Special Reserve Madeira, Historic Series, Rare Wine Co ($50)
This is the driest wine in the series and a wine that has been served throughout meals in America for nearly 300 years. Chef Mario Batali won over 1000+ guests at the 2009 New York Wine Experience by boldly pairing Charleston Sercial with a wild boar dish of Wolfgang Puck's creation. Just two weeks later, in the Wall Street Journal, Alice Feiring picked the same Madeira as a wine of choice for chestnut soup, noting that it "is like a salted caramel without its sugar."
Schilcher is a common specialty in Western Styria made from a high acid red grape called Blauer Wildbacher. What is less common are the non-interventionist methods Franz Strohmeier uses to work the 3.5 hectares of 40 year old vines. Franz constantly seeks new ways to express terroir through natural wine making, such as allowing a portion of his grapes to grow wild with no pruning. The result is intensely flavored grapes that create sparkling wines with stunning depth and surprising finesse. This is a bold dry frizzante packed with fresh red berries, bracing acidity, and fine creamy bubbles. The local tradition is to pair sparkling rose with fried chicken, but you can also pair with salted, pan-fried oysters for a maritime twist on an Austrian favorite.
NV Strohmeier "Schilcher Frizzante" Styria ($30)
2013 Eszterbauer "nagyapam" Kadarka, Szekszard, Hungary ($18)
This wine is made out of the indigenous grape variety called Kadarka, which is also used as part of the blend in Egri Bikavér wines. Kadarka is known to have big berries and thin skin, and makes a pretty difficult variety to work with. Szekszárd region is located south of Budapest (the capital of Hungary), longitude-wise between Bordeaux and Loire, with the vines being grown in that region for more than a thousand years.