Sunflower brought over a beautiful wine from Meinklang for me to try. The next day, I saw Juice Imports was hosting a Meinklang tasting ($20) at Bricks Wine Company. I took this as a sign and snapped up two tickets. For this post, let’s listen to “Hang Me Up To Dry” by Cold War Kids.
A thoughtful employee from Bricks Wine Company called me before the tasting to remind me of a marathon in Inglewood, which shut down several main streets. She suggested a roundabout way to access the wine store. I promptly informed Books, Sunflower’s fiancé, who was dropping us off. I offered to book an Uber back, but Sunflower mentioned that with Covid, Books prefers her not to take public transportation or Uber. He kindly came and got us after the event.
Once we arrived, we sipped on a flute of Prosa, a sparkling rosé. I adore this wine – it’s juicy, bright, yet subtle. I ended up buying two bottles. We sat in a beautiful tasting room, similar in vibe to Vine Arts, where I attended Juice Import’s past wine tastings. I think both venues would be ideal for hosting a team-building event.
We learned that Meinklang is located in Burgenland, Austria, bordering Hungry. Ponds and a lake surround the certified biodynamic family farm. Erik informed us the nearby water takes in the heat and slowly releases it, which helps prevent fluctuation in temperature. He added that it is hard not to like these gentle, charming wines. I agreed, already swooning from the Prosa.
Surprisingly, I was a big fan of the entry-level wines – the Burgenland Weib and Gruner Veltliner. The Burgenland has a unique fragrance. Sunflower thought the wine was scented like lilacs, and she wanted her whole house to smell like it. When asked what he would pair with this wine, Erik, the co-owner of Juice Imports, suggested dill potato salad, smoked trout or mushroom morels. I liked this wine so much that I purchased three bottles.
The Gruner Veltliner was bright and clean. Erik noted there was so much flavour in this light wine, despite being only 11% in alcohol content. He described notes of green apple skins, with texture and freshness to it. Erik mentioned that 60% of the flavour in wine stems from yeast and bacteria rather than the grapes themselves.
Next up was Tag, one of the winery’s “big” wines. Tag is a one-off, meaning Meinklang doesn’t make this wine every year. Erik described this wine as intense but with a softness. This wine woke up my tastebuds with its lip-smacking flavour. Sunflower was a fan – she could taste passionfruit and pineapple, and thought the wine had a bite to it, like a cider.
One of my favourite bottles was Morgen. The fragrance reminded me of roses. The bubbles were tiny, and the flavour was fun to drink. Erik called this a breakfast wine, and said it reminded him of sour cherry. He mentioned this wine is similar to pinot noir in that it is challenging to grow these thin-skinned grapes. I bought a bottle for Sunflower and me to enjoy at a future time.
The next bottle we tasted was Nacht, a rare wine that even Erik hadn’t had the chance to try. The wine smelled like olive oil to me. When Sunflower took a sip, she exclaimed how good it was, similar to mushrooms but in a funky way. Erik described this wine as smelling like cherry blossoms or dank flowers.
I noticed Sunflower appreciated the more unique, expensive bottles. While I enjoyed the experience of the fancier bottles, I preferred the easy pleasantry of the entry-level wines because I could shut my mind off. When I drink, I like to feel the wine rather than think about what I’m tasting. I guess that’s the beauty of a wine tasting, you don’t have to commit to sharing a whole bottle.
The second last wine we tried was the Burgenland Rot. Sunflower said it smelled like her grandmother’s house. Damn girl, we sure had different experiences growing up. Erik informed us this was his number one selling red wine. He described the Burgenland Rot as a soft, gentle, picnic wine. I enjoyed this red wine, but preferred the white wines. For me, it’s a harder challenge to find good white wine at a reasonable price than red wine.
For our last tasting, Erik surprised us with an orange wine from 2018, made with 100% pinot gris grapes. I admired the soft, peachy colour. Sunflower is into orange wines and noted that this older vintage tasted quite different from a newer vintage she recently tried from Meinklang.
There was one interesting fact Erik told us that really got my attention. Fifty percent of Meinklang wines go to Whole Foods for their house wine. The next time I’m in Seattle, I’m picking up some Whole Foods house white wine.
Meinklang wines are now my go-to, not only because the wines are freaking fantastic but also because this winery offers such incredible value. The wines we tried ranged from $26 to $55, with my favourite ones being the entry-level wines. I think it’s a win-win to support producers doing beautiful things for the environment and sustainability that also charge the same price as wineries that produce less delicious unethical wines.
Thank you, Erik, for hosting such a fun tasting, and Sunflower, for being my new wine partner in crime. I look forward to future Juice Import tastings.