Gruber Röschitz Zweigelt Rosé ($9.99)
From the producer:
"The Gruber family has been making wine in Röschitz since 1814, almost solely for private consumption until the 1950s. At the age of 16, Ewald Gruber senior decided to turn the farm into a model winery, to become one of the leading vinegrowers, using the latest technology available. Three of his six children took over the winery in 2012 to keep the long family tradition going.
This rosé captivates through its vibrant pink colour with onion skin hues and delicate aroma of fine fruit with nuances of cherry and wild berries. It's fresh and stimulating! Serve as a refreshing aperitif or for light appetizers."
Zweigelt is a hybrid grape created in Austria in 1922 from crossing Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent varietals. It is the most widespread red grape in Austria, though it also appears in surrounding Eastern European countries, and in Canada. The grape has dark skin and dark flesh, yielding a purplish-red wine, and in the case of rosé, a deep pink wine. This particular example from Gruber is about as dark as rosé gets, though the flavor and aroma are still quite light and fresh. This is a very dry wine with distinct notes of tart cherry. Made from organically grown grapes.
Wines of Illyria Stone Cuvee ($20.99)
Bosnia & Herzegovina
From the producer:
"Indira Bayer, originally from the Former Yugoslavia, immigrated to the United States in 1996. Since becoming a US citizen, she worked seven years as an Assistant Vice President of Bank of America's Small Business Banking, six years as an Assistance Coordinator and other roles with the US Department of State in the Balkans, and a year as an Adjunct Lecturer of Accounting at the American University in Bosnia and Hercegovina.
In January 2015, Indira founded Wines of Illyria, a wine import company in Austria, dedicated to bringing wines from the former Yugoslavia to European Union consumers. Her goal was to create jobs for unemployed youth in Bosnia-Herzegovina and stop the brain drain, one of the biggest issues the country was facing at that time. In addition, Indira wanted to create a positive image of Bosnia-Herzegovina and add it to the list of world’s well known wine producing counties, as the long history of wine making warrants it. In March 2016, she expanded the business to the US. Indira continues to work with both large and small wineries throughout the Balkan Peninsula sourcing and bringing to consumers premium quality wines made of native varieties: Vranac, Blatina, Plavac Mali, Zilavka, Malvazija, Posip and others.
This wine is made of 90% ZILAVKA and 10% BENA, indigenous grapes of the sun washed Herzegovina region. Clean and refreshing, showing elegance and flavors of green apples, lychee and honey, scents of chamomile and verbena with a slight mineral tone. The ripe, warm flavors of apricot, star fruit and a hint of anise are coddled by juicy acidity, fine minerality and a long herbal-toned finish. Best paired with white meat dishes and seafood."
As most of you know, I love unusual wines from unexpected places. The Stone Cuvee is a wonderful example of indigenous wine from Eastern Europe, though the flavor profile is reminiscent of Gewürztraminer, with its distinct notes of lychee. I find this to be an elegant wine that, while ripely fruity, has a nice acid balance and mineral lift to keep it light. This is a must try.