Berger 2014 Zweigelt ($16.99/1 liter)

Berger Zweigelt

Tasted for our Wine Focus for May 2017, Wines of Austria, here’s a popular Austrian red that I’ve enjoyed in several vintages. While past bottlings have been labeled from the Kremstal region, this label claims only “Lower Austria.” Nevertheless, it is very similar in style to the 2013 bottling reported last August. It’s a clear ruby color, not too dark, almost transparent at the edge with bright crimson glints against the light. Red-berry and tart cherry aromas fill the glass, giving way to tart cranberry fruit on the palate, mouth-watering acidity and just a whiff of soft tannins in a very long finish. U.S. importer: Skurnik Wines, NYC., a Terry Theise Estate Selection.

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Querceto 2015 Chianti ($10.99)

Querceto Chianti

Clear, dark ruby, shading to a clear edge. Typical Chianti aromas, tart cherries and dried cherries and a hint of spice, carrying over on the palate in a bright, food-friendly flavor, palate-cleansing acidity and soft tannins, with refreshing black-cherry flavors and lemon-squirt acidity lingering in a very long finish. 12.5% alcohol. U.S. importer: Prestige Wine Imports LLC, NYC.

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Wine: good for the brain?

Morley Safer

Wine is good for us, at least as long as we consume it in reasonable amounts.
This simple statement, known intuitively for centuries and the subject of extensive research for the past quarter-century or so, seems to be about as close to settled science as, say, climate change or evolution, to name a couple of other controversial realms of scientific inquiry.

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Hermann Moser 2015 Kremstal Grüner Veltliner “Per Due” “The Spark” ($16)

Hermann Moser

This clear, light straw-colored wine shows surprisingly bold and aromatic scents for a GV, perhaps hinting at the wine maker’s placement of “The Spark” bottling as an introduction to wine lovers unfamiliar with the grape. It’s pleasant, though, with luscious aromas of peach and melon and perhaps a floral back note of gardenia. It’s rather full-bodied on the palate, but crisp, zippy acidity holds it in balance and positions it as an excellent food wine. Stone fruit and tangy citrus come together in the flavor, with that classic “stony” minerality so typical of Austrian whites showing up alongside the fruit in a very long finish. A gentle 12% makes the decision to have a second glass, or possibly a third, an easy one.

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Markus Huber 2013 Niederösterreich Zweigelt ($20)

Markus Huber

Dark garnet, shading to a clear edge. Tart black cherry and cranberry aromas lead into a bright black-fruit flavor structured by zippy, mouth-watering acidity. Soft tannins join in on the palate, and the characteristic Austrian “stony” minerality lingers with tart cherries and a lemon-squirt of citrus in a very long finish.

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Hugh Johnson, encore!

Hugh Johnson on Wine

A while back, I wrote with both pleasure and a little sadness about the popular British wine writer Hugh Johnson’s autobiography, Hugh Johnson: A Life Uncorked.
I was pleased, because I love Hugh Johnson and his work. But I felt a little sad because I feared that this noted wine scribe’s autobiography, looking back over nearly 50 years, signaled a capstone on a great career.

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d’Arenberg 2012 McLaren Vale “The Stump Jump” ($9.99)

The Stump Jump

A typical Australian (and Southern Rhône) red blend of Grenache (46%) Syrah (39%) Mourvedre (15%), this is a very dark reddish-purple wine, shading to clear garnet at the edge. Juicy raspberries, the signature scent of Grenache, predominates in the nose at first, but there’s other ripe fruit there too, blackberries and plums, carrying over on the palate with a full, medium-bodied mixed-fruit flavor framed by tart acidity, brisk tannins and warm but not overbearing 14.3% alcohol.

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d’Arenberg 2014 “The Hermit Crab” McLaren Vale Viognier-Marsanne ($17.99)

The Hermit Crab

An aromatic white blend of Viognier (74%) and Marsanne (26%), with a portion of the Viognier spending time in French and American oak barrels to add tannic backbone, this is a fresh and aromatic wine. Clear, bright straw color with glints of gold, it offers typical Viognier floral scents at first, quickly joined by notes of peach and musky melon and a whiff of spice. Full-bodied, 13.3% alcohol, but structured with crisp acidity, its flavors follow the nose, stone fruit, orange peel, and a lemon-squirt of acidity in a very long finish. It’s a complex and interesting wine, a great buy for fans of aromatic whites.

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Leftover wine?

Coravin

How long can you keep wine once the bottle has been opened?
A very long time ago – okay, it was March 1, 1999 – I posed this question in one of the first editions of The 30 Second Wine Advisor. During the ensuing 18 years it has remained one of my most frequently asked questions, along with its snarky cousin, “Is there such a thing as leftover wine?”

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