Food & Drink

The Wine: Meinklang 2011 Pinot Noir

Nick Rainsford uncorks an Austrian with cherry / berry notes this week before he heads off to Cuba


By the time you read this I will be sunning myself in Cuba, most probably smoking a cigar, drinking rum and quite possibly dancing a salsa. If enough rum has been consumed, perhaps I’ll be doing all three at the same time. I’ve never been to the communist country or the Caribbean before, so hopefully I’ll have some wonderful stories to pepper the next column with, should I decide to return. That said, without straying too far into political discourse, it’s technically more of a socialist dictatorship run by the communist party, as opposed to a truly Marxist idea of communism, but lets not split hairs ay? Before any of that though, there’s the small matter of writing this column and getting it to the mojo wire in time, so I figured in keeping with the (albeit loose) theme of red, I would trot(sky) out a rather lovely Austrian red, Meinklang 2011 Pinot Noir. The Meinklang vineyard is located on the eastern side of Neusiedlersee in eastern Austria, close to the Hungarian border. This pinot noir is made biodynamically – nothing man-made has been near this wine, the soil it is grown in or the land surrounding it. Instead, there are natural ponds, grasses, herbs and flowers surrounding the vines which provide not only a wonderfully balanced ecosystem (giving the grapes everything they need to thrive) but also a healthy dose of competition thrown in to ensure only the healthiest grapes survive. Darwinism at its most delicious. The vineyard doubles as a working farm and it’s run by husband and wife team Angela and Werner Michlits, with Angela spearheading the wine operation. I’m a lover of a good pinot noir – I’ll spare you the Sideways speech this time – but when it’s done right, good gravy you’re in for a good time. Austrian pinot noirs are some of the best. This particular wine is ripe with fresh berries, cherry and blackcurrant coming through very strongly and if you nose it enough, you can almost taste the soil. In the mouth it’s delicate as a good pinot noir should be, but with bold enough tannins and a minerality that will draw you back sip after sip. It’s acidic and juicy, and one bottle – let alone a mere glass – is not enough. I would enjoy with a punched up chicken dish myself, but this is a versatile enough wine to suite most dishes.