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Wines of the Austrian Monks

Posted: Monday, 28 February 2011 10:46

Wines of the Austrian Monks

Schloss Gobelsburg has a thousand year history of winemaking by the Austrian monks until it was leased by the Order to Michael and Eva Moosbrugger in 1996 to manage. Julien Bonnard, the Brand Ambassador of the Kamptal based winery was here last week to promote  their current range of four wines being exported to India through the Mumbai based Aspri and met Subhash Arora.

The winemaking has become more modern since the winery was taken over by the Moosbruggers and modernized with the help and consultancy of the well known wine producers of Austria, Willi Bründlmayer whose wines are already being imported in India by Brindco. However it continues to also make the ‘Tradition’ red and white wines just as the monks made over the past few centuries; it makes a range of wines-mostly whites, says Julien Bonnard who informed delWine that Michael Mooseburger was also planning to visit India but had to cancel the visit last minute due to some unforeseen personal problems.

The winery is located in Langenlois, 56 kms from Vienna and is located in the Kamptal region in the Lower Austria. Some of the traditions maintained by the winery include the dynamic process of ‘barrel on wheels’ in which the barrels in which the juice is being fermented are moved outside for natural stress free temperature control, says Julien. ‘The wines maturing in our cellars do not hide their personality but show it with perfect poise,’ added the brand ambassador.

Schloss Gobelsburg produces a total of around 160,000 bottles annually. Although Austrian wine industry is primarily domestic oriented with 80% of the wines consumed within the country, ‘we are selling only 35% of our production in the local market, the rest going to Switzerland and Germany which are our main markets, followed by UK and USA, with a strong presence in the Asian market that includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia,’ says Julien. He is optimistic about the Indian market where Aspri recently started marketing four of their variants at Rs.1800- Rs.2000 a label.

The wines are already available in Bangalore at premium retail stores like ‘Madhuloka’  and ‘Drops’ in Indira Nagar whereas stores like Star Bazaar are selling in Mumbai where hotels like Grand Hyatt, Taj are already offering them in their wine lists while Hyatt will soon join the bandwagon, says Julien.

It was interesting to learn from Julien that some of their Grüner Veltliner- the white wine from the signature grape of Austria that is very pleasant for the Indian palate, can age very well. In fact, in a comparison tasting in Paris, aged Veltliners came out ahead of aged Chardonnay from Burgundy, said Julien, adding that the Austrian variety does not get oxidized as fast as Burgundy whites.

Four varietals are currently exported to India- two Grüner Veltliner, a Riesling and a red wine made from the indigenous grape Zweigelt (a cross of two other local varietals-Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent created by one Fritz Zweigelt). He advises the whites to be consumed within 2-3 years of their harvest. ‘Veltliner is a very sophisticated grape. But it would not find a immediate acceptance in India where the fresh and crispy screw-capped ‘Gru-Vee’ will find a ready acceptance’, agreed Arun Kumar, the Director of Aspri accompanying Julien. Arun agreed that the range was limited for the moment as they had started working with Austrian wines for the first time and were planning to import a few more varietals in the following fiscal years.

Subhash Arora

Comments:

 

Chef Vikram Vij Says:

Hello Subhash, 1984, i left Bombay to become a chef, i studied in Austria and got my chefs and sommelier papers from there. Since then i have run 2 restaurants in Vancouver under the name Vijs. I have worked with Michael in Austria and i have served his GV with my cuisine and i believe that GV goes very well with Indian food, good acidity and right amount of residual sugar makes this a great pairing. I am proud to see that Michael M. went to India and there is a market for it. I spoke to Rajeev Samant ( Sula) and told him about that. Ajoy ( winemaker) was looking into it. Hope the restaurants would do well with this great wine. Please visit my website www.vijs.ca if you need to know anything about me. Vikram Vij

Posted @ March 03, 2011 10:52

 

Thomas Burg Says:

Hello, I've heard that Austrian Gruner Veltliner is planted near Bangalore. DO you know anything about it. Thank you Kind regards, Thomas Burg

Posted @ March 01, 2011 12:12

 
       

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