We have been carrying the wines of Jost Höpler for more than a decade. Grüner Veltliner has become a standard in America and of this variety, Jost Höpler’s from the Burgenland region south of Vienna is one of the best values. The vineyards border the Neusiedlersee, a huge, shallow lake that lends heat and reflected sunlight to the vines. The grapes tend to ripen a bit more there than farther north and the region is known for its dessert wines.
I have been buying and selling the Höpler wines since 2004. We recently made the decision to add the single-vineyard Grüner Veltliner from the Guttenberg vineyard and it will be coming soon. The vines are older and the wine is aged longer giving it more depth and complexity.
A special relationship between the Höplers and the von Trapp family of Sound of Music fame has existed for 40 years. The von Trapps escaped the Nazis in Austria in 1938 and, after short stays in other countries, wound up in America to stay. Baron Georg and Maria bought property in Vermont which reminded them of home and opened an inn. The original inn burned down in 1980 and a new one opened in 1983. Today, Johannes von Trapp is the last of the singing family and runs the inn, farms and brewery with his son, Sam.
This year the von Trapps and Höplers decided to hold a celebration of the 40th anniversary of their collaboration at the lodge and invited customers and supporters from around the country. My wife and I were fortunate enough go for the weekend. It was one of the most memorable trips in my 41 years in the business. Jost and his son Christoph did tastings, seminars, waltzing lessons and a scavenger hunt that took us all over the property. Dinner the last night was with both families and quite an experience. My mother would have loved it.
Check out these wines, plus a few new ones in stores now!
“A hint of lime and green pear peel, a touch of pepper and passion fruit: this subtle and light white does not give too much away. However its acidity and texture make it a versatile and satisfying food partner. 89” Wine Enthusiast
Höpler Grüner Veltliner Guttenberg 2011 – Burgenland, Austria
This is a special cuvée of Château de Haute-Serre. There is a lot of labor by hand and extreme selection in the winemaking process with debudding, leaf thinning and cluster selection in the vineyard followed by hand harvesting into small lugs. The must is macerated at a cool temperature on an average of 28 days, and the wine is aged in new French oak for 24 months. A final selection is made before bottling. This is a massive wine with almost black color, notes of currant, spice, plum, anise and a touch of cedar on a big structure with a nearly endless finish. It’s a big beef wine or one for big cheeses. It’s very limited in quantity.
“Another sleeper of the vintage from Angludet, the 2011 exhibits a dark ruby/purple color as well as a sweet bouquet of licorice, spring flowers, black currants and cherries. With medium body, silky tannins, surprising stuffing and succulence, this seductive, lush, well-endowed Angludet can be enjoyed over the next decade. 90” Wine Advocate
Milliken Creek runs through Louis de Coninck’s property at the corner of the Silverado Trail and the town of Napa. The climate is a little cooler there than farther up the valley due to the cooling influence of the breeze from San Pablo Bay. The Chardonnay shows bright citrus fruit and a touch of vanilla from the oak with medium body and a zesty finish.