Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,741,889 articles and books

Divine wine.



Byline: Anthony Manifold

In March 1985, a sales tax sales tax, levy on the sale of goods or services, generally calculated as a percentage of the selling price, and sometimes called a purchase tax. It is usually collected in the form of an extra charge by the retailer, who remits the tax to the government.  auditor in the remote Austrian village of Pamhagen stumbled on the first clue to what would become the biggest wine scandal in Europe since Roman times. While examining tax returns, he was mystified mys·ti·fy  
tr.v. mys·ti·fied, mys·ti·fy·ing, mys·ti·fies
1. To confuse or puzzle mentally. See Synonyms at puzzle.

2. To make obscure or mysterious.
 by a wine merchant's many purchases of diethylene glycol diethylene glycol

antifreezing agent. Causes poisoning similar to ethylene glycol.
.

Contrary to Austrian wine Austrian wines are mostly dry white wines (often made from the Grüner Veltliner grape) with some luscious dessert wines made around the Neusiedler See. About 30% of the wines are red, made from Blaufränkisch (also known as Lemberger, or as Kékfrankos in neighbouring Hungary), Pinot  laws, sugar was being added to the wine; mixing in diethylene glycol made it impossible to detect the sugar. The scam was widespread and many of the best-known winemakers were implicated im·pli·cate  
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.

2.
 - some unwittingly, since their wines were being doctored by wholesalers. Authorities estimated that more than 1,000 Austrian wines were involved. Sales slumped by 80 percent.

But within a decade, a new generation of dedicated Austrian vignerons began making seismic changes in their winemaking methods, eventually producing world-class wines.

Stift Klosterneuburg Klosterneuburg Monastery is a Catholic monastery of Canons Regular in Austria.

It is usually known by its more familiar German name, Stift Klosterneuburg, and is located just north of Vienna, in the town of the same name.
, one of Austria's oldest wineries, was in the vanguard of this revival. They were not involved in the wine contamination practices, but by implication their business suffered a serious downturn. "With this scandal," says Dr. Wolfgang Hamm, managing director of winemaking operations, "most of our exports stopped from one day to another."

Today, Stift Klosterneuburg produces more than 1 million bottles of fine wine annually. Exports to France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Japan and Canada attest to their international renown.

The Stift, established in the 12th century to generate revenue for the abbey in which the winery is housed, owns vineyards in three grape-growing regions of Austria as well as around the abbey itself. In the Middle Ages, monasteries were the primary source of wine production. These days, Stift Klosterneuburg is the sole survivor of this winemaking milieu.

Their success is predicated on maximizing the best their grapes have to offer in the bottle.

"We aim to transfer the purest and most authentic characteristics from the terroir Terroir (/tεʀwaʀ/ in French) was originally a French term in wine and coffee used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestowed upon them.  and the grapes that nature has given us into our wines with the minimum intervention," says Hamm. "Once the grapes get to the winery, you can only lose; you can't gain anything that is not already in the fruit. Our 24-year-old winemaker Christian Schmidt works very hard to capture the essence of each different grape variety in our wines."

And the Stift's portfolio of wines exhibits all the zest and succulent flavors of the native Austrian grape varietals from which they are vinified. Their Gruner Veltliner 2006, for example, exudes a slightly spicy aroma of citrus, green apples and pepper. The Riesling 2006 is fresh and fragrant to the nose with a delicate body and lively acidity. A lightly aromatic floral bouquet followed by a juicy complex of tropical fruits and a friendly farewell characterizes their Rotgipfler Spatrot 2006.

The cream of the Stift's crop is Gruner Veltliner Hengsberg 2006, which comes from the abbey vineyard itself. Light gold in color, the wine has a spicy nose with full, crisp apple fruit flavors on the palate and an extended finish. Red wine crafted from the St. Laurent grape is Stift Klosterneuburg's piece de resistance and their St. Laurent Barrique 2004 is a delicious witness to their achievement with this grape. Their flagship red, Chorus 2004, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon Cab·er·net Sauvignon  
n.
1. A variety of black grape used to make red wine, notably in Bordeaux and the Napa Valley.

2. A dry red wine made from this grape.



[French.
, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir and St. Laurent.

But Stift Klosterneuburg is much more than a fine wine mine. What else would you expect of a place the locals describe as "Where heaven embraces the earth?"

In 1114, Austrian nobleman Leopold III, who married a daughter of German Emperor Henry IV, founded the monastery. Legend has it that Leopold found his wife's wedding veil, which had been swept away by a gust of wind nine years earlier, at the site of the Stift. He saw this as a sign from heaven and immediately ordered the abbey to be built on the spot. It is rumored that a fragment of the veil remains cloistered in the archives.

Today, the monastery is sanctuary to 52 canons or monks from as far afield as America and Vietnam. The Stift is a treasure-trove of spectacular architectural, religious and secular historical artifacts artifacts

see specimen artifacts.
, all immaculately preserved for the viewing pleasure of more than 100,000 visitors each year.

The Verdun Altar is perhaps the most impressive of the religious icons. Completed in 1181 after a decade of artistic dedication by renowned jeweler Nicholas of Verdun Nicholas of Verdun

(flourished c. 1150–1210, Flanders) French enamelist and goldsmith, considered the greatest of his day. He was an important figure during the transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic style.
, the altar is a panorama of 51 exquisitely colored tiles framed in pure gold depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Another must-see is the gigantic seven-armed candlestick Candlestick

A price chart that displays the high, low, open, and close for a security each day over a specified period of time.
 Leopold III and his wife presented to the abbey. Its design is based on the Root of Jesse from the book of Isaiah Noun 1. Book of Isaiah - an Old Testament book consisting of Isaiah's prophecies
Isaiah

Old Testament - the collection of books comprising the sacred scripture of the Hebrews and recording their history as the chosen people; the first half of the Christian
.

What is thought to be the earliest painting of Vienna showing its most treasured ecclesiastical monument, the Stephansdom cathedral, is on display in the Sebastiani Chapel. There are paintings, too, of the carpenter's workshop and blacksmith's courtyard by 20th century Austrian artist Egon Schiele, who attended high school in the nearby town of Klosterneuburg. Relics of Roman times unearthed Unearthed is the name of a Triple J project to find and "dig up" (hence the name) hidden talent in regional Australia.

Unearthed has had three incarnations - they first visited each region of Australia where Triple J had a transmitter - 41 regions in all.
 when the abbey was recently renovated are also on view including tombstones tombstones

a cellular phenomenon in pemphigus vulgaris; rows of basal cells of the epidermis remain attached to the basal membrane, reminiscent of rows of tombstones.
, pottery, household artifacts and a centurion's certification cast in bronze Cast in Bronze is a traveling carillon, consisting of 35 cast bronze bells, played by Frank DellaPenna with fists and feet. The total weight of the instrument is 4 tons. .

Their wine, too, has played a role in the rich and varied history of the Stift. A devastating dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 fire broke out in the town in 1330 and soon reached the abbey. By the time the firefighters reached the Verdun Altar, their water supply was exhausted, so they resorted to wine to save the precious panels. Centuries later, history repeated itself. But this time their wine came to the salvation of Austria's wine reputation.

If you go

You can take the Schnellbahn (local train) S40 from Vienna to Klosterneuburg/Kierling or bus No. 239 or No. 241 from Vienna - Heiligenstadt to Niedermarkt. In either case, it's a short walk after you arrive. By car, follow Route B14 for about 15 minutes after leaving the outskirts of Vienna.

There are guided tours in English every day for about $9 a person. They include the Sacred Tour, the Imperial Tour, the Vinicultural Tour with optional wine tasting and the Secret Gardens Tour. There's even a tour during which you can enjoy a three-course meal at the gourmet Restaurant Schuttkasten.

For more information, go to www.stift-klosterneuburg.at

ART: PHOTOS

PHOTOG pho·tog  
n. Informal
A person who takes photographs, especially as a profession; a photographer.
: PHOTOGRAPHY / COURTESY OF STIFT KLOSTERNEUBURG

CUTLINE: (1, 2, AND 3) Stift Klosterneuburg, one of Austria's oldest wineries, produces more than 1 million bottles of fine wine annually. (4 AND 5) The winery is in a monastery that welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year to see the spectacular architecture and artifacts. (6) A ceiling fresco inside the monastery.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jun 25, 2008
Words:1094
Previous Article:Getting the lead out; Once a graphite mine, Tantiusques is now appreciated for history and recreation.
Next Article:Living on the lake; Quinsigamond's shores blend old and new.
Topics:



Related Articles
"Christianity is Wine".
How did the mass become BYOB?
HELLO, OLD FRIEND.
The Man and the Vine.
Let's talk wine bars with small plates, tapas and more.
And the winner is ...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters