We are thrilled to welcome Bernhard Ott from Ott in Austria and Enrico Saam from Kunstler in Germany for a one of a kind evening exploring the different expressions of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Influenced as much by their varying terroir as their winemaking styles, the wines produced by these exemplary winemakers showcase the beautiful similarities and differences between German and Austrian wines.
Join us for a 4-course meal where each course will be paired side by side with wines from both producers, allowing you to take a deeper look into the variances between these two celebrated varietals. Ott and Saam will be on hand to share more about their winemaking process and commitment to sustainability and biodynamics.
Menu for the Evening to Include:
Naked vegetables, turkey wheat sourdough bread, seasonal spreads
Cornmeal fried asparagus, herb aioli
Chicken liver mousse, rye toast, pickled vegetables
Ott - Gemischter Satz 2016/Kunstler - Estate Riesling TR 2015
Cabbage wraps with Maine Peekytoe crab, rhubarb hot sauce, nasturtium puree, sweet corn, summer squash and zucchini
Ott - Gruner Veltliner "Der Ott" 2015/Kunstler - Hochheimer Kirchenstuck Kabinett TR 2015
Roasted Hake, risotto of grains and lentils, tarragon pesto, pancetta
Ott - Riesling 2016/Kunstler - Pinot Noir Spatburgunder "Tradition" 2014
Panna cotta with preserved peaches and blueberries
Mueller-Catoir - Rieslaner Auslese "Herzog" 2014
When: Wednesday June 20th, 6:30 pm
Where: our covered outdoor dining room (be sure to dress for warmer weather!)
Seating: communal-style seating
Cost: Tickets for the evening are $125 per person (not inclusive of gratuity)
Purchase: Click here to buy your tickets
Wines will be available for retail purchase at the end of the evening!
Kunstler, Rhinegau, Germany
Gunter Künstler comes to us from the famous village of Hochheim am Main; in 17th century Britain the term ‘Hock’ was used to describe all Rhinegau wines. At that time, these wines were much more famous than Mosel wines and were more expensive than some of the finest Bordeaux. Thomas Jefferson visited the region in 1788 and described Rheingau Riesling as “small and delicate Rhysslin which grows only from Hochheim to Rudesheim”. He was so impressed with the quality that he found here, he took 100 cuttings of Rheingau Riesling back to Monticello. Hochheim was quite famous long before this and the region was known for producing quality wines in the Shakespearean era. Both ‘Hock’ and ‘Rhenish’ can be found in Shakespearean texts. Hochheim am Main is on the banks of the Main river, which flows west from Frankfurt, meeting the Rhein at Mainz, on the other side of the river from Hochheim. Essentially the vineyards in this village are at the cross of these two rivers, which certainly influences the wines produced here. Weingut Künstler has a history dating back to 1648.
Until the end of World War II, the family grew grapes on their estate 80 km north of Vienna, in Untertannowitz in the South Moravian Region in the Czech Republic. After expropriation and expulsion, Franz Künstler was forced to leave the homeland of his family and in 1965 he re-established the Weingut Künstler in Hochheim Main/Rheingau. In 1992 his son Gunter took over the estate, and in 1994 the estate was admitted to the VDP. Generally soils here are loess, clay, sand, loam, marl and limestone. The greatest sites in the village are Domdechaney (pronounced Dom-Dey-Sha-Nay), Kirchenstück and Hölle while you could consider Herrnberg and Stielweg 1er Crus.
Because of the proximity to two rivers, the climate in Hochheim is rather more humid than its environs. This complicates Gunter’s urge to move in an organic direction, though he says “Generally we are working without any herbicides since 1992 and we grow on 11 hectares organically. Here we have three blocks of about 3.5 hectares. In the future we will move step by step to 100% organic, but this, in our warm and humid microclimate, is not easy. Finally, I have to make ends meet and to pay my employees. In order to produce dry Rieslings we have to protect against botrytis in every production step.” Cellar work is generally in line with the norms among elite producers. Musts settle by gravity and are pressed clear. He ferments with cultured yeast, because it’s often still warm when grapes are being picked and to work sponti would mean a greater risk of volatile acidity. The cellar orients toward cask as opposed to steel, though each is used. Wood gives the ideal low-tech micro-oxygenation. The overriding goal is to produce wines with “heart and soul”. The wines are very pure, clean and precise, without tasting as though they’ve been sanitized and had the character stripped out of them. They are detailed and meticulous, but also delicious and satisfying.
Ott, Wagram, Austria
The Ott family has been growing and producing wine in the region of Wagram in Lower Austria since 1889. Bernhard Ott is of the fourth generation and has managed the winery since 1995, when he took the helm from his father, expanding the estate to 28 ha in Feuersbrunn and Engabrunn.
After assuming control at the winery, Bernhard worked meticulously to improve the family estate. He improved the cellar with new stainless steel tanks, began bottling everything under Stelvin closure and started enforcing his own personal philosophy – being as true to nature as possible. Bernhard has converted many of his vineyards to biodynamic cultivation, certified biodynamic by RESPEKT, and has taken steps at the winery to reflect this philosophy.
Bernhard is extremely diligent in his vineyard work; he adds compost and preparations to the soil rather than fertilizing individual vines, uses cover-crops and biodynamic tinctures and homeopathic remedies to treat vineyard problems. In keeping with the philosophy of the biodynamic approach, work in the vineyards and cellar is done in a holistic and lopped system. Ott found that after switching to biodynamic farming, he was able to harvest grapes from his vineyards several weeks earlier than he had in the years prior to his switch to this biodynamic viticultural approach.
“Before, I was one of the latest people to harvest. Now I am one of the earliest.” Ott says. He feels he is able to achieve physiological ripness earlier, without getting overly high levels of sugar that would result in high alcohol wines.
Bernhard Ott is a cult icon in the world of Austrian wine, leading the way in the Wagram region through meticulous vineyard management in some of Austria’s best vineyards. At a young age he has already received Austria’s highest accolade as Falstaff’s Winemaker of the Year in 2008.
Vineyard area: 28 hectares. Top sites and soil types: Feuersbrunner Spiegel, Feuersbrunner Rosenberg, Engabrunner Stein (loess, Gföhler gneiss, sand, chalk, and red gravel) Grape varieties: 90% Grüner Veltliner, 10% Riesling. Farming Practice:Certified Biodynamic