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Paul Lehrner ‘Cuvee Claus’, 2005

October 30, 2008

~$16US, 80% Zweigelt and 20% Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland, Austria

My first Austrian Red. Deep red, more opaque than I’d imagined for some reason.  One the nose cherries and cranberries, with a good deal of funk in the mix (Sweaty socks, wet leaves, a little dirt and green peppers), reminding me of an imaginary blend of a Cru Beaujolais and a Loire red.  But smokier?

On the palate very juicy, round, and medium-bodied – with a really satisfying balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity. Very much a mix of old- and new-world experiences with plump, ripe cherries and a bizarre fringe of earthy flavors. Tomato skins and more cranberries throughout  – even a touch of meatiness. A little bitterness towards the finish, but fair length and some tannic bite, even on day 2.  Some pencil shavings and a hint of oak-spice show in the finish. Quite a bit of complexity actually. Food friendly structure – I’d try it with turkey.

To me, the overall feel was more Burgundian than any other of my points of reference – which is admirable in any $16 wine.  This is not a wine for everyone, but for those into old-world Gamay, Cab Franc, and Pinot Noir, you might be supprised with what Austria can offer. As interesting as it was, I’ll probably not re-buy , but I will be on the lookout for more red Austrians.

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