The amazingly versatile wines of Austria must have long been a secret that they guard jealously, or that only wine connoisseurs know about. Because up till now, I surely did not know too much myself.
And I am so glad, that I finally experienced them in all their glory. I can see now, why their ability to compliment a whole spectrum of cuisines makes them the darling of many sommeliers and wine connoisseurs.
However, their limited production and even smaller exports to our shores have meant that most wine appreciators have never heard of grape names like Gruner Veltliner, Blaufrankisch, or Zweigelt much less tasted them.
And oh, how I fell for them Austrian whites! Wine I mean.
Their flagship varietal, Gruner Veltliner, is lovely – subtle fruit, minerality, and some peppery flavors in a range of styles – really hard to top. If there’s one word that comes to mind, it is classy. These Austrian wines are so subtle and classy it kills me. At the same time, they pair gorgeously well, with choice Austrian cuisine, especially in the style of Chef Gottfried Prantl.
Austrians are not limited to just their white wines either.. they do a phenomenally exotic red as well, like the Blaufrankisch. Blaufrankisch makes robust wines, with structured tannins that do so well with lamb and red meats. Love them silky tannins and incredibly smooth finish.
Chef Gottfried Prantl of Das Central, Austria
And the great news folks, is that the Austrian Affair with Chef Gottfried Prantl runs for the next 3 days, till the 27th of September 2014, so don’t say we didn’t tell you. The three course lunch set is priced at RM125 nett per person, while the four course dinner is going for RM240nett per person and both include Austrian wine pairing by a professional sommelier. CIMB cardholders receive 15 – 20% off their food bill. (Go to www.shr.my for more info).
Polenta – Venison Praline, Dry-Aged Beef, Smoked Trout paired with the Kremstal dac Gottweiger Berg 2013, Gruner Veltliner
Talk about opening with a bang. We were served a delicious amuse bouche, paired with the Gruner Veltliner – refreshing, tangy, with a certain white pepper, dill, even gherkin character. The spiciness of the wine complemented the strong smokiness of the Smoked Trout, Venison Praline & Dry-Aged Beef to perfection.
Free Range Duck Served Cold & Warm with Wild Broccoli & Cep Mushrooms paired with the Paul Achs 2012, Pinot Noir
Another great pair – Paul Achs’ Pinot Noir showed a lot of finesse and again, smooth, loads of depth and long, silky finish – it would take the edge of any gamy meat for sure.
Salmon Trout, Lovage, Beet Root & Celeriac paired with the Rittstever Lehmgruber 2011 Chardonnay
A rather well paired dish – loved the minerality in the Chardonnay that heightened the sweetness of the flaky flesh of the Salmon Trout. Chef Gottfried Prantl’s plating is fine and delicate, just like his palate. His food was exquisite.
Austrian Style Ravioli stuffed with Alp Cheese Beurre Noisette paired with the Kollwentz Tatschler 2012, Chardonnay
There’s a first for everything, and here’s to my first Austrian Ravioli – explosions of creamy Alp cheese, followed by the crunch of finely minced spinach. We were told that this was the Austrian way – the ravioli is served dry rather than drowning in tomato sauce. The succulence however, comes from within the parcels. This second Chardonnay was acidic and younger but it was a nice complement to the rich cheese.
Medium Roasted Lamb Saddle, slow braised Neck, Assorted Beans & Potato Goulash paired with either the Krutzler Reserve 2011, Blaufrankisch, or the Marco Polo 2009, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet
Now we were really warmed up and enjoying everything about Austrian food and wine.. when we were given two reds to pair with our Lamb. I liked both but in the end, the Krutzler Reserve Blaufrankisch won, hands down. Like I mentioned earlier, Blaufrankisch makes robust wines, with structured tannins that do so well with lamb and red meats. Love them silky tannins and incredibly smooth finish.. top notch wine – best one of the night!
Sacher Souffle – Chocolate Souffle, Apricot & Obers Ice Cream, paired with the Ruster Ausbruch 2008, Pinot Cuvee
A rather cool deconstructed Sacher Souffle concluded the night. Love this famous chocolate cake said to be invented in Vienna by the chef Franz Sacher.
This first dessert (yes, there was more to come!) paired terrifically well with the Pinot Cuvee that was a gorgeous deep yellow gold in color. It was sweet and unctuous with aromas of ripe apricot tart and botrytis.
Arolla Pine and Cranberries, Cranberry Panna Cotta, Arolla Pine Sorbet, Austrian Sparkling Wine, paired with the Ruster Ausbruch 2008, Pinot Cuvee
But then, an extra bonus round of dessert with a lovely pine Arolla Pine and Cranberry Panna Cotta. Somehow I was sad to see the night come to an end.
Austria’s gift to the wine world is definitely the fact that it offers a classy drink each time, that is food friendly and versatile. Like I said, don’t miss out on this Austrian promotion, because these gems don’t come around often. Nope, not often enough.
L-R: Chef Alexander Waschl, Michael Waschl (General Manager of Das Central) and Visiting Chef Gottfried Prantl .. so much Austrian talent under one roof!Follow me on Instagram : @agentcikay
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