Hunting for Mozart in Salzburg and Zweigelt Red Wine from Nittnaus, Burgenland, Austria

Our second day out in Salzburg includes a visit to Mozart’s Wohnhause, where he grew up.

Aaron Mozart WohnhausBut entry costs a fortune. Instead, we end up spending over an hour in the house’s research library enjoying a Mozart primer narrated by Kenneth Branagh for free.

Swimming in Classical music and Mozart’s love-hate (really hate) relationship with Salzburg, we pop over to his birthplace:

Mozart GeburtshausThe line is massive and the fees additionally outrageous (for this trip). So we touch the shrine and wander out. We can’t find the writer of Silent Night (another trip). Christmas Markets fill us with a marizpan, chocolate, spice, and orange cookie and wood-worked bowls.

By chance we stumble into a grotto cave cut into a cliff near St Peter’s (founded in 803). And they have a stand serving gluhwein and hot orange punch!

Grotto Salzburg CaveRe-warmed, we pass the world’s oldest continuous restaurant (also 803), and head to St Peters Abbey, possibly Germany’s oldest.  The Romanesque arch weighs heavy, flanked by walls built out of Roman grave stele.

St Peters Salzburg Romanesque entryBut the interior opens up with Baroque modernity. Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor premiered here with his wife singing soprano:

St Peters InteriorThe space breathes with white light.  Paintings by various masters fill the walls and altars. Cutaways in the plaster reveal intricate Medieval arches painted with colorful scroll work.

Outside, fat flakes fall.

St Peters Abbey ExteriorWe chase them amidst thousand year old tombs.

Tracy Flakes SalzburgWe head home for wine awaits. Along the way we find an ancient 800 year old water mill, still grinding grain into fantastic, raisin-filled Christmas brioche.

Tracy Mill SalzburgBack at the hostel we cook potatoes and vegetables and open a bottle of Austrian red.

Nittnaus Zweigelt Exquisit Austria WineThis €6.44 bottle comes from Nittnaus in Burgenland (a large, eastern appellation).  Zweigelt is its glorious-sounding red grape: a 1922 crossing of St Laurent and Blaufrankish that now covers over 10,000 Austrian acres. We’ve tried Zweigelt in Canada and the Fingerlakes. How will Austria’s terroir play?

Nittnause Zweigelt, Exquisit, Qualitätswein, Trocken. Burgenland, Austria 2010.

Appearance: Although clear, this looks a strong, ruby purple.

Aromas: Tidy, young, and smelling moderately of tobacco, steak, black berry, cherry.

Palate: It’s called “Trocken” and, yes, it is dry, very.  Cold climate high acid, some chalky tannins, and some 13% alcohol, leads to a medium plus body.  Does this feel big because our palates have shifted to so many light wines?

Flavors: run the range from black pepper, to lime, to something vegetal, savory, almost like grilled meat.  But before we forget, a half of dark cherry and toasted oak reminds us this is wine. The length is only medium.

Conclusions: Nittnause’s Zweigelt is twangy, toasty, and a bit too wild. Its aspirational title “Exquisit” misses the mark, but it is interesting and at least good (3 of 5).

The wife finds cocoa powder and we wind down with hot happy mugs.

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6 Responses to Hunting for Mozart in Salzburg and Zweigelt Red Wine from Nittnaus, Burgenland, Austria

  1. sand110 says:

    Jammed pack full of Mozartian facts and those photos! Amadeus visuals play with Hulce’s laugh & the Requiem!! The grapes/wine fit so well!!!

  2. dwdirwin says:

    I love Salzburg! It is one of my favorite cities on the Continent. Did you have a raspberry knockral (not sure of the spelling 🙂 when you were there? It’s a type of soufflé thing.

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