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17 May 2006

Harkamp Has It

HarkampHannes and Petra Harkamp are the kind of people you immediately feel at home with. They could easily become your favorite neighbors or best friends. The Harkamps possess a joy for life and down-to-earth attitude that made me simply want to hang out with them for the afternoon. Had the wine not been stellar, it would have been incidental. However, Harkamp wines are stellar, and they quickly became the focus of my attention after our playful photo session atop one of the Harkamps' steeply sloped vineyards (see the photos here)

I'm aware this sounds trite, but I got the feeling that Harkamp wine is honestly made and hiding nothing.  Wild yeasts are used; along with touches of malolactic fermentation . In fact when talking about his winemaking philosophy, Hannes becomes earnest and explains his credo - My wine is the mirror of my soul. This is printed on every cork - . He refers to himself as Weinbauer (grape farmer) vs. Winzer (winemaker). Hannes projects an honesty when speaking about his wine.

The Harkamp "Style" (Steil in German) wines are focused on fruit. These wines are aged in large neutral wooden casks. The result is indeed a wine with fruit, but not one that is overly fruity. Harkamp's Weissburgunder (AKA Pinot Blanc) Steil is replete with scents of apple and pear, along with very subtle notes of caramel and cream. The wine offers a smooth texture, along with, what I am coming to discover, south Styria's reliable acidity. The Sauvignon Blanc "Oberburgstall" is made from vines that grow right outside Harkamp's tasting room. It is, as Hannes describes it, a "double D" wine - ripe, rich and viscous in the mouth. This wine also possesses a distinct white pepper quality, which I have not encountered in other Sauvignon Blancs. A unique wine, indeed.


Always trust a winemaker in Lederhosen

Harkamp wines are imported into the USA by Weygandt-Metzler of Pennsylvania. You can contact them to locate Harkamp wines in your neck of the woods. Of course, you can always visit the Harkamps in their lovely winery/B&B - they'd be happy to have you.

See my Harkamp photo gallery here.


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Okay Beau, for all of us (especially Andrew) ...We need to see the Beau in Lederhosen...C'mon dude, where are your 'unfortunate pants.' Have you met DJ Hamster yet?


Billy Z:
A quick German lesson. On your blog you wrote "leiderhosen." Leider = unfortunate/painful and Hosen = pants. The actual term is "Lederhosen" - where Leder = leather and hosen = hoser, err, pants.

Maybe after I test some of the big boy red wines next week, I'll be buzzzed enough to try on some leather pants. Not that I've ever tried leather pants on before. Honest..


Oh and PS - I met Thomas Friggin Muster - the Austrian tennis champ. The man's got some seriously scarred knees.


Useful hint for your german practice:
"Style" equals "Stil" in German and describes a distinctive feature/quality (Harkamp-Stil).
The peduncle bearing the grapes is called "Stiel".
"Steil" is commonly used as an adjectiv and means rampant/precipitous/steep.

BTW: Don't miss the winery of the Polz brothers (Erich & Walter). Among others I prefer their Sauvignon Blanc called "Therese" by those who love this vineyard. This is the highest cru, situated at 450m, pretty close to Kitzeck. The slate soils create a Sauvignon Blanc with a unique character, spice, and typically mineral fruit. "Therese" is vinified in wooden barrels. The vineyard is pretty close to Kitzeck (Maierhof).

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