Follow the Buyer! Bart Hopkins
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Bart's Bio

Buyer for: Austria, Burgundy, California - Cabernet, Pinot Noir & Zinfandel, Grappa, Italian Red Wine, New Zealand, Oregon, South Africa

I sometimes shake my head in disbelief when I count the nearly four decades Iíve been selling wine. Much has changed since I began, and much of it for the better: thereís greater diversity of styles, and the availability of whatís out there is staggering. Yet even with over 35 years of experience, I still consider myself a student of the vine. Every year, every vintage opens up a new chapter to explore and discover. Not a day goes by when I donít learn something new, either from grape growers, winemakers, my ultra-knowledgeable colleagues, or the savvy shoppers that visit our store.

Over the years, my interests in fitness and nutrition eventually have led me to organic viticulture and winemaking, while my spiritual side drew me to biodynamic farming. If eating well is part of your daily regimen, so too should be choosing wine. When I see people making wine a part of their healthy lifestyle, I feel great knowing that Iím taking part in something positive.

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Bart's Pick:  CLAUS PREISINGER BASIC 2009


Food PairingWhy I Bought ThisThe Story

On a cold night, a simple rustic meal can be heart warming and soul satisfying. I roasted some beautiful purple and yellow-fleshed potatoes and hearty carrots and baked some fresh silver-skinned Spanish mackerel until slightly crispy. The potatoes and carrots had a wonderful earthiness that complimented the dark, oily, pungent flavor of the mackerel.

The Preisinger Basic was just as much a comfort food as everything else. Its enticingly pure dark fruit and earthy tannins complemented the root vegetables, and its lively character was just right for a strong-flavored fish. It would fare just as well with poultry and vegetarian meals.

When Claus Preisinger came by the shop to present his wines, I found a humble grape grower and winemaker who radiated a positive aura of good energy. Claus is a biodynamic grape grower who believes great wines are made in the vineyard. He ferments the wines on their natural wild yeasts, which brings about an earthy complexity and also gives them their sense of place. All of his wines are pure expressions of the grape and the place where they come from. They spoke to me of beauty and harmony, with intriguing fruit and delicate balance in every sip. Each wine was unique in its own way, and each told me their story of the land.

The 2009 Basic is a blend of 90 percent Zweigelt and 10 percent St. Laurent. Dark, enticing fruit aromas on the nose are the prelude to a delicious mouthful of black cherry flavors and earthy tannins. There isnít a trace of anything that didnít come from the vineyard here. Full of life and energy and joyous personality, this is a sensuous wine of pure pleasure!

Weingut Hofer is located amidst the gentle rolling hills of the village of Auersthal, located in the northern Viennese suburb of Weinviertel, Austriaís largest growing region. The Hofer family has been growing grapes organically and making wine since the early 1980s, and has been certified organic since 2001 by Bio-Ernte. Their GrŁner Veltliner is made from a blend of estate-grown grapes and grapes purchased from neighboring organic growers.
Claus Preisingerís estate is located in the Burgenland town of Gols, in close proximity to Neusiedlersee, a large shallow lake that moderates the temperature year long, making the area perfect for red wine. Claus enthusiastically describes himself as a ďlow-tech, instinctive, naturalĒ kind of winemaker who ďtakes whatever the grapes bring and puts it right into the bottle.Ē

Preisingerís wines are honest expressions of what the land has to offer. He is a member of the Austrian biodynamic association Respekt, which has a growing number of members all of whom work together to help heal the earth and to make the best wines possible.

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