I had lunch today at Blaue Gans, one of the Austrian restaurants run by Kurt Gutenbrunner in New York. I've also been to Wallse. They're both good. They make me excited about spaeztle and red cabbage.
But I must admit that the main reason I get excited when I visit Gutenbrunner's restaurants is the wine lists, which are all Austrian. I'm mad for Gruner Veltliner. It's always a fun glass, even the run-of-the-mill stuff. But I love even better the other eccentric, obscure grapes sommelier Aldo Sohm puts on the list. Zierfandler. Roter Veltliner. Eisenthur. Blaufrankisch. They're all good, because Sohm picked them out, and the quality of Austrian wine is so high. But every glass is an adventure. You don't know what you're getting into. If there's anything I love in wine, it's encountering a new grape for the first time. I'm a sucker for the underdog.
I had a Zweigelt from the Burgenland with my Goulash and Schnitzel. (That last sentence is as much fun to say as it was to write.) It was medium-bodied, well-structured, with vegetal notes within a front of darkish subdued red fruit. (I want to say "matte finish" fruit.) I was good and went with the food.