There are many things I expect when visiting a major metropolitan capital. A vineyard within the city limits is not one of them. So, when I learned that notable wineries exist within Vienna's borders, a "must-do" was added to my list. Thankfully, a friend at the Austrian Wine Commission, knew just the winery I should visit -- Mayer am Pfarrplatz.
Operating since 1683, boasting a wine tavern that was once home to Beethoven, as well as one of the most elegant and venerated restaurants in the city, I was nothing if not ecstatic when the winery's sales director said the harvest had just been finished in the wee hours - and asked if I would mind joining him to quickly pay call on a few of the winemakers up in the fields. As we got out of the car, he seemed a bit concerned that my romantic ideal of an Austrian winery might be shattered by the reality of harvest-time...
As you can see from the photo above, it most certainly wasn't. The charmer in the photo is one of Mayer am Pfarrplatz's wine makers, and there were two more in tow, along with a couple of workers, who were all in the midst of setting up a celebratory morning picnic.
Now, I'm sure you can spy the raw, hulking burgers on the table, cans of beer, and a big bottle of water, but you really need to look past all that...
There she is!
Serious comradery was at play, as the men traded off in gently and lovingly turning her by the fire pit. My mouth was watering. But it was only 11:30am, and that pig was a while off from being cooked through.
Luckily though, further in the distance, something was ready for the eating...
Sublime piggy innards were bubbling away in a cast iron pan, just calling my name.
The gents seemed to be duly impressed that I wanted a taste and then offered to pour me a shot to go alongside.
Yup. That "bottle of water" was actually a bottle of Romanian firewater, so a round of shots were in order. I followed that up with a beer and ripped off a hunk of good bread to grab meaty chunks of liver and tripe straight out of the pan.
Now tell me: How do you follow-up a killer brunch of that magnitude?
With a tour through some scenic vineyards followed by a wine tasting...
Gorgeous Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Gruner Veltliner, Wiener Gemischter Satz, and fresh, young Junger Weiner were had before I headed back into town with a full tummy and lingering buzz.
Enchanted as I was by the morning of offal, Romanian palinka, and Weiselberger beer, it was the wine that I longed for as soon as I got back to the States. And, thanks to Wine Searcher and Heights Chateau, I now have a fridge stocked with bottles of Mayer am Pfarrplatz Wiener Gemischter Satz.
And, if someone wants to bring over some piggy kidneys and European moonshine, we'll have the makings of a righteous morning, to say the least.