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22nd January 2015

Kenwood Mixer

A week of Rusting

I spent last week helping out at the IMW first year Seminar in Rust, Austria (a beautiful place that I have never before visited). It was a long week, although nowhere near as long for us as it was for the MW students for whom I imagine it was information-overload. Still, if I remember that week in my career (in a freezing cold Berkshire) then they are up on the deal in terms of organisation, wine, enthusiasm, accommodation and heating.

And there were 58 of them! A new record. I’m slightly beginning to regret my offer to mark an essay plan from everyone, but I will get round to them all. A promise is a promise!

My presentation was at 5pm on the Friday afternoon, so I kept it light!, I hope.

Collectively the global knowledge about Austria and its wonderful wines has probably risen by about 25%, and I enjoyed many great examples, a few curiosities and some less successful attempts at a global style via the medium of masses of new oak.

It is traditional for such weeks to end in a gala dinner where everyone gets dressed up and brings a bottle. Or several. Or a magnum. Or several magnums.

Somehow all this wine seems to get consumed, and even the bar gets business afterwards. The bus trip into Vienna the following morning was relatively quiet, in a groany sort of way.

One of my vinous contributions to the gala dinner was sadly corked, but the other was showing really, and surprisingly, well.

Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley 1987 California



I’m not totally sure where this originally came into my possession, and I wasn’t holding out a great deal of hope of it still being alive, and therefore anything other than ‘interesting’. But actually it was delicious. Sweet red berry fruit, with a little jam and spice, soft, velvety tannin-less palate and a long supple expansive finish.

It almost coped with the somewhat foursquare flavours that characterise Austrian cuisine. Something we were repeatedly told was ‘healthy’, but personally I have my doubts. As the extraordinary dynamo of a person, Willi Klinger of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, said: ”We have managed to convince the world that Beethoven was Austrian, and Hitler was German” The health-kick qualities of pig fat, dumplings, and strudel may prove to be an even taller order. But at least the food has deliciousness on its side.

We were also privileged to see some of the most amazing sunrises over the Neusiedler-see, the giant lake that makes this part of Austria so special for wine and so much more, and which was on the hotel's doorstep.



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