When it comes to wine, we like reds. Then there are the rosés in spring and summer with the occasional sprinkling of white. But we always come back (often in the same meal) to the hearty, earthy flavors that we find in bottles from the outlying regions of France, Spain and Italy.
But when we were perusing the wine list at Three Doors Down the other night, and chose a moderately priced Italian Barbera, our waiter encouraged us to to try a similarly priced wine from...gasp...Austria. While I've heard that there is all kinds of activity going on in the German and Austrian wine industries and that they're now making more "international style" wines (read: ones that will do well in the American wine press...can you say "Robert Parker"?), we were skeptical but decided to take a risk based on his strong recommendation.
What he brought to the table was a 2004 Heinrich San Laurent, a startlinglingly full-bodied wine we'd expect from a good pinot or burgundy, with lots of richness on the nose and nice, mild tannins on the palate. Gernot Heinrich, the winemaker and son of an old wine-producing family in Austria, studied abroad and came back determined to make wines from native varietals in a more contemporary style, with more body and fruit and less tannins than were traditionally produced in the region. If the San Laurent is any indication, Gernot has a great future before him and Austria may be getting a lot more business from this side of the world!
Details: 2004 Heinrich San Laurent, $25. Available from Vino in Sellwood, phone 503-235-8545 or from your favorite neighborhood retailer.