Wayward Wine returns from its Vancouver detour to continue recapping its EU Austerity Drinking Tour this and each following Monday. So where the hell were we?
For 145 days we have backpacked from New York to Quebec, Quebec to Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia to Iceland , Iceland to Scotland, Scotland to Ireland, Ireland to France, France to Andorra, Andorra to Spain, Spain back to France, up the Rhone, through Burgundy to Luxemburg, and Strasbourg, cutting to Munich and finally, now, leaving Salzburg.
This trip only stands still a few day, tasting a city’s and region’s brews, wines, and spirits, then moving on. We see every museum and monument possible, all via foot and public transport.
Do not do this. Shoes have died. Bodies have broken. If my wife sees one more decontextualized ancient cup, stained glass, or cold quiche, she will scream. Nevertheless, drinking under $20, even under $10 wines -wines that locals drink- with local food has challenged and broadened our palates.
So what will Vienna bring?
From icy Salzbourg, somehow sunny gleaming Vienna spreads its urban carpet before us. Our hostel hangs over a public market that clicks and hums beneath Art Nouveau edifices:
In the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, we must go on the 40 (of 1,441) room Grand Tour of Schönbrunn palace. We lunch on veggie stir fry and apple cinnamon brezel in the palace Christmas market. Like Versailles, ornate rooms shift over 300 years of style. Baroque extravagance often fights with Neoclassical calm at this summer escape. No photos inside, but the endless grounds are amazing.
We find the world’s oldest zoo. Experiments in growing fancy pigeons, oranges, and wine grapes continue today:
Frozen, we race the setting sun to Vienna’s cemetery. This city of the dead houses 2.5 million glamorously. Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, a fake Mozart, and yes, Beethoven all rest here:
Frozen, we head back and stumble into 18th century confectionery Demel. Many chocolates get bought and eaten.
Luckily wine we grabbed in Salzburg awaits us back at our hostel, while we prep dinner. It comes from Austria’s oldest estate, Stift Kloster Neuburg, a cloister founded in 1114 just south of Vienna (Wien) in Thermenregion:
This is the largest single vineyard of Saint Laurent grape, in the world. The variety is so very awesome that it has its own subtype: Ausstich. Guess how much all this heritage costs…
€8.99. This may be an Austerity Drinking Tour, but we don’t mess around.
APPEARANCE: Neuburg looks a clear, medium ruby. AROMAS: smell tidy, developing, and moderately intense of red cherry and fancy dry, cedar-beamed furniture. PALATE: feels dry, with pouncing acid, medium tannins, warm alcohol 13%, and fine cotton texture. FLAVORS: taste evenly of tart red apple, cherry, wild game, white pepper, salt, and light smoke that last a medium length.
With Neuburg’s St. Laurent Ausstich, alcohol and acid out-weigh the fruit, making this lean, punchy and mineral. Luckily, my trademark pasta tames it. Here, now, it tastes very good (4 of 5). But anything warm, say a sauna full of creepy people, would seem amazing to us after our frigid, fantastic day out.
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