The Adventurous Thanksgiving Table
2009 Tinhof Neuberger
What is Neuberger and Why Should You Care?
Neuberger is yet another one of our rather bizarre obsessions; a misunderstood, underappreciated, overlooked grape that offers a lot to like for a lot of people.
Neuberger has a natural depth and diversity of flavor - think of it as having the gusto of a clean, unoaked Chardonnay, the depth and soul of a dry Chenin Blanc... with a bit of the snap and verve of a Muscadet.
Yes, controversial as it may be, no matter the number of Master Sommeliers we offend with this suggestion, Neuberger is perhaps the most unlikely, yet inspired, selection for the curious, adventurous, Thanksgiving table. Seriously, the rich flavors offer up a lot for a lot of people to like, yet there is a freshness, an energy, a steely spine to the wine that makes it gulpable... very gulpable - dangerously gulpable. You have been warned.
Neuberger may also be one of Austria's most maligned and misunderstood grapes.
It's been planted in the worst sites in Austria; it's been used to make sweet industrial plonk. In short, everything has been done to bring Neuberger down.
Yet, somehow, the fascination has remained... it's remained planted hither and dither in the Wachau; luminaries such as FX Pichler and Hirtzberger cultivate small amounts of Neuberger.
In fact, our conversion to the cult of the Neuberger came after a 1988 FX Pichler Neuberger - the wine was dark and meaty, nutty, with an orchard's worth of fruit, suave - more heft than your average Wachau white and utterly, utterly unique.
Believe it or not, the charms of Neuberger sent a group of us down to Cru one night for what has become an infamous evening: Very likely the first, and only, Neuberger tasting at Cru in NYC.
Today, Neuberger comes back into the spotlight in the most elegant, the most clean and clear form we've encountered in a long, long time: the 2009 Tinhof Neuberger. It's a Neuberger revolution, a Neuberger Renaissance.
It's a new day for Neuberger.
Erwin Tinhof is one of Austria's rising stars, a sort of maverick in the likes of Roland Velich at Moric, Johannes Schuster and Ludwig Neumayer, to name just a few folks following the beat of their own drummer. If my German is correct (which is questionable), Erwin inherited a vineyard from his uncle in 1990 - a vineyard full of diverse old vines including Neuberger, Pinot Blanc, Muscat as well as Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent.
He's remained true to this diverse spectrum of vines, this lovely yet complicated tapestry of grapes. While the Neuberger is delicious, his red "Leithaberg," a blend of Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent, is one of the more fascinating Austrian red blends we've had... for those who want to go for an Austrian red-and-white combo, consider trying a bottle of this as well.
We're just days away from Turkey-fest 2010 and Tinhofs wines are in stock and ready to go. For those of you who have room on your table for a bit of Austrian intrigue, this is heartily recommended. Yet even if your table is already laden down, the mags of 61 Latour crowding out all other possibilities, no worries - this Neuberger will be going strong all winter long.
To order, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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