What I love the most about Wine Fairs are the encounters and the discoveries that one can make. I was particularly lucky at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair last November as I met some passionate people, in love with what they do: WINE.
Franz Jägersberger is one of them. Being a fan of Italian wines, especially Amarone and Recioto, he decided to make his own version of Amarone in Austria. Just like that. And he has crafted them with such love and passion that you cannot help but be impressed.
I must say that I am a big fan of Austrian wines. But nothing prepared me for the perfection and depth of Franz's wines. When I arrived at his booth, I was curious and intrigued. Once I had my first sip, I was spellbound.
The Rosolo Babino Caro 2010 offers an extraordinary and intense combination of black fruits (amarena cherries, prunes) and spices (frankincense and mint). Medium sweet (44.3 g/L residual sugar) and balanced by high acidity and silky tannins, I had black cherry mixed with kirsch and a hint of cedar on the palate. With tremendous power, character and depth and an infinite finish, the wine has clear potential to age. Up to 30 years, according to Franz.
The Rosolo Babino 2009 is equally mesmerizing with amarena cherries, vanilla and kirsch on the nose but with black and blueberries on the palate and a touch of creamy and buttery biscuits. Drier, (7.5g/L residual sugar), it is closer to Amarone. The finish is also amazing.
The Rosalito 2010 is the answer to Recioto. Black stewed fruits mixed with cedar, floral (roses pot pourri) and spicy (sichuan pepper) character on the nose. It is insanely luscious on the palate (208.9 g/L residual sugar) with flavours of dark chocolate, blackberry, kirsch and a touch of cedar. Perfectly balanced by a high acidity, it has a long finish with flavours that stayed with me long after I had left the booth.
These are no ordinary wines. Made from Austrian grapes (Zweigelt for the Rosolo and Blaufränkisch for the Rosalito), they have dried up for so long that they have lost 80% of their water content. What is left is a pure concentration of aromas and flavours and of course sweetness and alcohol. But these wines have a personnality of their own: neither Port, nor Maury, nor Amarone or Recioto, They are Rosolo and Rosalito from Austria and I love them.
I was talking about encounters at the beginning of this post and I think that these wines are extra special because the one who makes them is so passionate. Franz is doing these wines on the side of his 'real job' (IT Project Manager), just because he happens to be in love with sweet red wine and he wanted to make his own. Well done, Herr Jägersberger, you have succeeded !
Distributed by RTW Wines in Hong Kong