I recently went to the Palm Bay Imports’ Winemaker Portfolio tasting in Chicago, a terrific event showcasing winemakers from their star-studded portfolio. There were a number of very impressive wines – many that my stores already carry. As per my usual M.O., I opted for not revisiting many of my store favorites, but instead, looking for wines I have yet to try. There were many of those, and while I have a lot to report back on, one producer in particular stuck out, due largely to the fact that they were only one-week old with Palm Bay – Austrian producer Pfaffl, which was being represented by young Roman Pfaffl, son of winemaker Roman Pfaffl (yes, Jr. and Sr.).
Truly a family affair, the two Romans run the operation with mother Adelheid, and younger Roman’s sisters Elisabeth and Heidemarie. The approach to their wines is both modern and traditional, with the 3 single vineyard Gruner Veltliners (the Haidviertel, Hundsleiten and Altenberg) and their excellent St. Laurent, as well as two very unique, more modern releases – the Austrian Pepper (a clean, inexpensive GruVe) and the Austrian Cherry (a fruit-friven Zweigelt – one of Austria’s premier red grapes). The wines overall, showcase the wonderful, clean, racy and vibrant style that is Austrian wine, perfectly balanced and well-built for food pairings. Having just come from a sushi restaurant and these being the first wines tasted at the event, I could see the harmonious coupling of the two vividly.
As I said, these are brand, spanking-new wines for Palm Bay, so look for them sometime in the Fall.
More notes on the way, including some stunning German Rieslings from S.A. Prum, a phenomenal Merlot from Campania that would give an expensive Pomerol a run for its money, something new from Fonterutoli’s Sicilian venture, and breathtaking efforts from Anselmi, San Patrignano, Chile’s Santa Rita, Israel’s Recanati, and much more.