February Wine and Food
Posted: 5th March 2023
Like des Esseintes in J K Huysman’s dystopian novel A Rebours (Against Nature), I travel largely in my head these days. In January I was enjoying some refreshing Hunter Semillon on a hot Bondi Beach, and in the first half of February at least, I was drinking luscious Ausbruch in Austria-Hungary. In reality I never left London. The big tasting of Austrian wines was back in the calendar at its new location above the Science Museum following a Covid break. You look out of the window at the neo-baroque finials of the Exhibition Quarter built on the proceeds of the Great Exhibition of 1851, and realise just how badly the view has been desecrated by the slab blocks in the distance. It was sunny that day, and the tasting was also a social occasion meaning handshakes here and there and catching up with old friends.
It is now over thirty years since my first book on Austrian wines was published and most of the time I see the children and grandchildren of the people I met then. There are still a few veterans about whom I knew in the nineties, Thomas Klinger at Bründlmayer, is one. Thomas was full of the power and finesse of the 2021 vintage in Austria, which he said was up there with the greats, and proved it with a playful and promising Heiligenstein Riesling.