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Purveyor of uncommon wine, spirits & beer.

The Curious Wines of Franz Leth

scott

Special Tasting Tonight! 5-7pm

w/ Austrian winemaker Franz Leth, Jr.

When Franz Leth, Jr. took over his family's Wagram, Austria winery last decade, he began carrying a mantle passed down from his grandfather to his father to him. Three generations might not seem like a long lineage in a place known for properties going back hundreds of years. But in short time, the Leth family has gained a reputation for making some of the most traditional, most carefully crafted wines in the region.

Half of the 21-hectares estate is planted to that Austrian gem of a grape, grüner veltliner. Wagram, the wine region in which the Leth family winery sits, is well known for its grüner. It's one of those situations where time and convergence lead to an ideal combination of soil, climate, culture and vine. Otherwise known as terroir.

Wagram is a large, south-facing slope just above the relatively straight portion of the Danube that lies west of Vienna. The soils are mostly the silty-sandy calcareous stuff they call löss, which was deposited by the cold hard winds of the last ice age. It's a porous soil, hardened only by small amounts of calcium carbonate and clay. But that looseness gives it its character. The vines can reach deep where ample amounts of water are trapped above the bedrock, meaning the vintners don't need to irrigate. Also, you get these crazy sheer cliffs at the edges of the vineyards that would be a blast to play around in. If you've ever seen those long small sand shelves form near the water on Atlantic beaches, it's sort of like that, only harder and more permanent and totally fertile.

Anyway, grüner veltliner thrives in these conditions. So much so that Franz claims his wines age to perfection over a period of 30+ years. And he's on a mission to prove it. He'll be in the store tonight (5-7pm) pouring from his very own bottles. Here's the lineup:

Grüner Veltliner 2011 Roter Veltliner 2011 Riesling 2010 Pinot Noir Reserve 2010 Plus a special surprise brought by Herr Leth himself!