Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Markowitsch Carnuntum Cuvee 2003 - An Austrian Red

Although it's Spring here in Chicago, in the Southern Hemisphere autumn is arriving, and thanks to worldwide food distribution, we were able to enjoy some delicious grilled venison chops last night. Stephanie sauteed some dandelion greens, and I glazed some yellow carrots. The venison was perfect, and I hope the grocery stores make an effort to keep it in stock. It's a pleasant respite from the endless cycle of chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and fish.

I got a little daring at the wine shop this weekend and broke from my usual francophilia. I chose a pair of reds from Austria, the first of which we drank with the venison. Although I didn't know it, Markowitsch is one of the country's top producers, and their reputation seemed well-earned after tasting their entry-level Carnuntum Cuvee. It's a blend of 80% zweigelt, an indigenous varietal, and 20% pinot noir. Surprisingly full-bodied, the wine displayed inviting red fruit flavors and hinted at that citrusy note one occassionally finds in the Southern Rhone. Not overly tannic, it paired supremely well with the meaty yet lean venison, and it would prove a welcome companion for good pork, beef stew, and especially, duck. At $12, it's worth buying a case, and it encouraged me to seek out their better bottlings.

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