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Found 7 results

  1. I just returned from a week in Vienna and Salzburg with the signature dinner at Vienna's Walter Bauer, arguably the city's best restaurant (now that Steinereck has been reduced to one star). A small, intimate chef owned restaurant with eight tables and remarkable E59 and E89 prix fixe prices for 5 and 9 course dinners with less than a 50% markup on wine-this is directly comparable to, say, Citronelle in D. C., da Fiore (Venice), Violon d'Ingris (Paris) for ambience and quality of presentation. A wonderful experience that my wife and I will look forward to returning to; an absolute must for anyone travelling to Vienna. Also, near Stevensphaltz (the 12th Century Cathedral), is the city's pre-eminent grocery store, Julius Meinl. I spent almost two hours in it one day and returned yesterday morning for another hour. From Gallo Grand Reserva carneroli 2003 arborio to the best Sprossenbrezen I have ever tasted to 2002 Kracher #11 this is the best indulgence in a city of many indulgences of excess. Both Germany and Austria are famous for bread that is unavailable in the U. S. Julius Meinl is the home of what may be the best bread in all of Austria. Sprossenbrezen is, for lack of a better description, a multiple seeded inch thick soft pretzel with four or five different kinds of seeds and a crispy, buttery crust encasing this that is just not found on this side of the Atlantic. Other seeded breads and rolls, some dark and some light, run the gamut of fantastic expectations: we must have purchased eight or nine different heavily seeded rolls in an attempt to sample as much as we could. The Sprossenbrezen ranks with any baked good I have ever had anywhere in my life! Serious. It is THAT good! For arborio the Gallo Grand Rserva is almost impossible to find, whether in Vienna or in Panzano or Verona or Alba. Meinl had four one kilo boxes and I bought two. For cheese Meinl's shop must rival most Parisian shops with at least seven to eight hundred square feet of space including at least three staffed counters of specialties, a number of which I have not seen in France or Italy. The wine shop and cellar are extensive, notably displaying Alois Kracher's fantastic and sometimes ambrosial dessert wines including his 99 point (Parker) 2002 #11 and 98 point #10 and #12. All were E 60 or less; in America you can double these prices but this is really meaningless since you won't find them, especially the 10, 11 and 12. (With Kracher the higher the number the sweeter the wine) The #12 is 4% alcohol and doesn't actually qualify as a wine. I opened a bottle and shared it with some friends in our hotel: this may actually compare to the '90 Avignonesi Vin Santo which the WS and Parker both gave 100 points to. Pure thick, syrupy orgasmic nectar. And it has not spent as much time in the bottle as it really should have to age properly! I brought back five more bottles (all that they had)and will not open the first for at least several years. This compares to the best Hungarian Essencia ('93?), Dal Forno's '97 Recioto and the Avignonesi mentioned above. (These are all VERY different dessert wines but they represent the best of their style; Kracher's #11 and #12 compare favorably in their own "style.") I've had many other Kracher tbas and other sweet wines; this is his best. In fact one of my goals is to be able to open this wine a few years from now along side of an Avignonesi Vin Santo and a Dal Forno Recioto, all representing what I think would be an ultimate orgasmic blowout of sugary excess, each in their own styles. I should also mention that Vienna and Salzburg were both cold this year. Very cold. The high on Sunday was about 16 F. In Salzburg there was about 50 cm of snow on the ground. That's two feet. With two feet of snow and below freezing temperatures even the most beautiful of cities can be less than inviting. It is good to be home.
  2. My wife and I are doing an Alps tour -- Switzerland (Lucerne), Italy (Lake Como and then Verona), Austria (childhood memory of a place called Schladming) and flying out of Munich in Germany. Looking for suggestions and tips for wine touring in Italy in particular, and especially near-ish Verona. I know you have to make appointments and I need to get busy NOW since we'll soon be traveling. Any places I really should try? Tips on getting to places to look at the vineyards and maybe taste some wines (or at least have lunch or snacks nearby where I can buy some of the wines to try myself? I'd really appreciate it. As for food and restaurants, we'll follow our noses and research, but any suggestions there are welcome. We'll be driving so we'll have a car and can go anywhere. From dives and autostrada rest stops to the finest of the fine, it's all good to me. Thanks mucho!
  3. WETA, as I'm writing this, is airing a live performance by the Metropolitan Opera of "L'Amour de Loin" - a two-hour, five-continuous-act opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with the libretto by the Lebanese-French author Amin Maalouf.
  4. I have always loved this wine, and right now they have stacks of it at the Pentagon City Whole Foods for $16.99 a bottle. Two unusual things about the bottle itself: it's a 1 Liter bottle (most bottles are .750 ml, or 3/4 as much), and more interestingly, it has a "pop top" that you open like a bottle of Heineken - it's not twist-off, but a bottle opener does the trick. I think both of these qualities drive home exactly what this wine is: a wine to quaff like water. It's dirt cheap (Pentagon City Whole Foods cannot possibly have low prices, and I suspect the producer sells this ex-cellar for about $5 a liter - I don't know this, but it's certainly less than $10. This is not a wine to cellar and mature; it's a wine to guzzle, and if you don't finish it, you can stick the top right back on and save it for the next night. It has real Grüner Veltliner character, with no oak that I can detect - it's a fairly "dilute" wine, so oak would be positively overwhelming. This Hofer is organic, and is made in a sleepy little hamlet just a few miles north of Vienna (it's pretty amazing how Vienna, a big, powerful city, can taper off into serenity just a few miles to the north). It's impossible to cherish this wine as something sacred (because it's not), and it's impossible not to like this wine as something joyful (because it is) - it's like a really fun session beer that you don't feel guilty about splurging on because it's a few dollars. Having a "house wine" is a quaint, but rare concept in this day and age, but if you were to have one, this wouldn't be a bad place to start. Yes, I'm friends with Terry Theise, but I haven't spoken with him in months, and he has no idea I'm writing this. I know this wine very well from previous vintages, and have never not liked it. Think: pitchers of Budweiser, except good.
  5. What I find incredible about this is that at 1:27, there is a very slight, almost imperceptible, mistake that nobody has probably even noticed before; yet, Spock gives a very slight, almost imperceptible, wince. Coincidence? I hate to piss on the party, but this music is not what Spock is playing. (But this is - it's by Ivan Ditmars.)
  6. You've never heard of this guy, right? Remember his name. I just stumbled across a random video of him (*), and couldn't believe what I was seeing, and *really* couldn't believe I had no idea who he was before watching the video. Then, I did a bit of research, and found this: "Thiem Shocks Federer in Stuttgart 2016" on atpworldtour.com This kid is *great*. You wonder how The Big Three (or The Big Four, depending on your perspective) will eventually be disrupted, and it's going to be from young players like Thiem - from the brief moments I saw, this kid is for real. (*) Watching this video, I ask myself, "Is there any sport in the world that takes a greater toll on an athletes spine and pelvis than tennis?" Also, the video shows me how damned great Federer still is at age 34 - it's unbelievable what he can still do, and it takes a freak of nature like Djokovic to exploit the tiny cracks in his game.
  7. I have a one-evening layover in Innsbruck before my trip back home. And of course, I will be hungry! Any tips for a single dining alone? Romantic table not necessary, exemplary service not necessary, good grub necessary! I'm staying very close to Golden Roof, so if you know of a good place within walking distance, I would appreciate it! Janis
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