On April 30th Frank Dietrich of Blue Danbue Wine hosted yet another great evening of wine and food at Bar Tartine in the San Francisco Mission featuring Austrian wines from Axel and Herta Stieglmar of Juris Winery.
Normally, the first wine that comes to mind when I think of Austria is Grüner Veltliner, the mineral forward, bright spicy and citrus white wine that is grown in much of the vineyards--not Pinot. But the featured Juris wines were Pinot and St. Laurent, also known as Sankt Laurent which is a variety in the same family as Pinot Noir, originating in France, and a grape that was new to me.
Axel's father Georg was captivated by the wines of Burgundy and he began to cultivate Pinot and St. Laurent in the 1960's. Now Axel has continued the line and from what I tasted I 'd say it's a worthy endeavor.
The initial line up of wine included the JURIS 2009 Pinot Noir and 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir as well as the 2009 St. Laurent, Reserve and the 2006 St. Laurent Reserve. I preferred the 09 JURIS Pinot over the 09 St. Laurent’s which I found to be fuller on the nose but thinner on the palate.
Alex and Herta personally poured the 02 St. Laurent, Reserve and a vertical line of St. Laurent’s from 05 to 09. I liked the 05 St. Laurent very much a powerful balance of fruit and earthy funk that I appreciate.
Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns chefs at Bar Tartine provided some excellent Austrian/Hungarian themed bites to pair with the wines and unfortunately I have no idea what most of them were called, so I made up my own names for the dishes including: Yum with meatballs, Yum on dark brown bread with radishes (that was exceptional), Yum in a shot glass, and Major Yum fried bread with some type of sour cream concoction. I saw lots of tantalizing looking items on other people’s plates too, but it was difficult to get access into the bar to try them all. The down side of being small in stature is I lack a boarding house reach when it counts.
|Scenes of the rampage aftermath|
The event was lively and crowded and then around 9pm a minor riot broke out when Frank brought out some BIBICh wines to sample. No, seriously, the BIBICh did not cause a riot, but the timing was uncanny, as out in the street a group of protesters clad in black marched down Valencia street wreaking havoc shooting paint balls, vandalizing cars and smashing windows. The front window of the restaurant was smashed and the energy inside hushed as we all turned our attention to the scene. Next thing we know the riot police were mobilized and marching down the street as well. It was surreal to say the least. And I’m not ashamed to say my first instinct was to take the bottles of BIBICh Frank had opened as a special treat, and hide in the kitchen. You know, just as a precautionary measure, to… ahem…protect the wine.
Eventually things on the street calmed down but the aftermath scene was surreal. Broken glass, yellow and red paint running down the facades of businesses as workers tried to wash the paint off, cars smashed and spray painted with anarchy symbols. I could only imagine what Axel and Herta thought about all this. Welcome to America!
|Paint washed off windows pools in the etched sidewalk |
creating a spot of beauty from the chaos
Unfortunately in the hubbub of it all I lost my tasting notes on the other St. Laurent’s that I’d written on the info sheet. But the 05 was the standout for me.
Special thanks to Frank for keeping me on his mailing list.