the folks from the Mauritiushof come to visit…

Gritschmas came early this year…

Franz Josef and Maria wearing their Kalmuck

Mauritiushof-grower Franz-Josef, with family name Gritsch, recently paid a visit to NYC along with his partner, Maria Theresia Kathrein.

Returning from a week in Vienna I found that Wachauer Franz-Josef Gritsch had successfully laid siege to the NYC fine-wine scene in my absence…

I caught up with FJ and MT for lunch the other day at a favorite Wein-Lokal on the West Side—Trestle on Tenth—where chef Ralf Kuettel’s new-American inspirations are solidly grounded in the Old World traditions of France and his native Switzerland.

We drank a lovely bottle of sparkling Touraine rosé to start things off, and finished it with Ralf’s remarkable chilled tomato soup—the tomatoes came previous afternoon from the green market, the corn was sweet and fresh, and the shrimp beyond reproach—I asked Franz-Josef whether he would prefer red or white with the main course—we had both ordered the Steak Tartare—

The Vineyards of Gritsch

I learnt long-ago in Orléans of all places that one ought to drink white wine with tartare. Because it’s not the meat that’s the matter, but rather the condiments that call the question… Fine wine and a match right-on-the-money.

But Gritsch was also on the menu, and I explained to Franz-Josef, no, he does not send nearly enough wine to New York City. His 1000-Eimerberg Riesling Federspiel 2007 was our second wine on the list at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, and its fellow Michelin 3-Star establishment Jean-Georges drank the warehouse dry by-the-glass of the 2008 Singerriedel Grüner Veltliner Federspiel.

Gritsch Mauritiushof works some 8 hectares of vines in Spitz, on the cool end of the Wachau. They produce fabulously mineral-toned, elegant Rieslings from the mica-schist of the 1000-Eimerberg, and brightly spicy Grüner Veltliner out of the Singerriedel, a site they basically share with Franz Hirtzberger. Add to this Axpoint, the new project Atzberg, and Gritsch’s gulpable GV Kalmuck, and we arrive at a destination both fascinating and pleasant.

The Mauritiushof itself is a farmstead dating from the 13th century, and the Gritsch family came into possession right at the end of the 18th.

And the way FJ puts it, they regard the traditions of the past as a challenge to the future. Bathwater changed, but baby remains…

- Gritsch 1000 Eimerberg (AKA 1000 Bucket Mountain) Riesling Federspiel 2007 – $22/bottle

-Kalmuck Gruner Veltliner 2008 – $19.99/bottle




Pick your state!