October 2023
Why should beer drinkers own October? Though Austria and Germany are most famous wine-wise for their white bottlings - Gruner Veltliner and Riesling primarily - these Central European neighbors both produce a decent amount of red, and consequently, rose. We’ve sampled some of each in clubs past, but never, to my knowledge, together. Now seems like the ideal time to rectify that regrettable oversight, with these two alpine wines - crisp and mineral-driven and generous with the red fruit - that expertly slalom the autumnal downhill to holiday finish line. So please enjoy this Teutonic two-fer, an opposition Oktoberfest to rival anything you can swing via stein, and twice as pretty to boot. Glauben rosafarben! 
As a wine-producing country, Austria is divided into 4 wine growing regions: Weinland Österreich comprises the federal states of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) and Burgenland with a total of 12 wine growing areas, Steirerland with its three Styrian wine regions, and Wien (Vienna), Austria's capital, which comprises 1,730 acres of vineyards. The other states of Austria are collectively referred to as Bergland Österreich (mountain country Austria), where small vineyards are thinly scattered. Of these, Burgenland possesses the oldest evidence of winemaking, going back some 3000 years to Celtic settlements on the shores of Lake Neusiedl. By 1240 Cistercian monks were cultivating grapes like Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris on the same sites. Today Burgenland would become one of the few regions in Austria dedicated primarily to red wine, and our selection this month is a blend of the three primary indigenous Austrian red grapes - Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch and Saint Laurent - that together constitute 80% of this 2nd generation producer’s output. 
Although still somewhat immature as a wine category, German rosé has almost doubled in production over the past decade – up to 12% of all national wine production. And Germany already produces more Pinot Noir annually than any country save France and the United States, so it is a great source of delicious and affordable pink juice from that most terroir sensitive (and often expensive!) of red varietals. This month we have a rose of Pinot Noir from the Nahe region occupying Germany’s southwestern corner. Named for the river that traverses it, Nahe is the country’s smallest such appellation, known for its relative diversity of soils and climatic conditions. Our selection comes from Kruger-Rumpf, a winery located in the northernmost part of the region, where the Nahe meets the Rhein. It is paradoxically the warmest part of the area, prized for its southern-facing exposures and classic Nahe soils compositions.
Think Pink!
Carrie Upson- General Manager

Umathum Rosa Rosé

Region/Country of Origin: Neusiedlersee, Burgenland, Austria

About the Winemaker: The Umathums (the name is Frankish in origin first settled in the Lake Neusiedl region during the reign of Hapsburg monarch Maria-Theresa (1740-1780.) Wine-growing has always played an important role in the family, but until the early 1970’s, the family delivered its harvested grapes to a cooperative, like many of their neighbors. Until the 1980’s, the family produced a variety of agricultural goods. Today, wine-growing is the company’s central focus, though it does still remain active in other fields. Current winemaker Josef Umathum, born in 1960, has been in charge since 1985.

About the Winemaking: A serious rose from Austria's three main varieties Blaufrankisch, Sankt Laurent and Zweigelt. Mature vines (up to 45 years old) are grown on gravel and schist soils in the villages of Frauenkirchen and Jois. Biodynamic farming, hand-harvesting and minimal intervention in the cellar are signatures of Umathum, a solar-powered winery that mixes traditional craft and modern philosophy. This saignee is aged in a stainless steel tank, accentuating the Rosa's wonderful raspberry and cherry fruit characteristics. Fermented and aged in large neutral oak casks, with a portion of stems added back into the wine as it ferments. 

Tasting Notes: Shiny and bright raspberry red, on the nose flavors of raspberries and cherries, which are reflected on the palate, pleasant, fine and full-bodied taste, round and mild with long aftertaste

Winemaker: Josef "Pepi" Umathum

Price: $21.99 bottle/ $226.80 case

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Autumn vegetable stew,

Cranberry bread dumplings with mushroom sauce, 

Light fish dishes

Kruger-Rumpf Estate Pinot Noir Rosé Trocken

Region/Country of Origin: Münster-Sarmsheim, Nahe, Germany

About the Winery: The roots of the Kruger-Rumpf estate date back to the early 1700s. Like most vine-growers at the time, the family sold the majority of their grape production to larger houses or cooperatives. This practice continued through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries until Stefan Rumpf kept the majority of their harvest to produce their own estate wines in 1984. This move allowed Kruger-Rumpf to focus on quality and express the distinctive terroirs in the family’s holding. Stefan’s sons Georg and Philipp, are continuing the trajectory with renewed energy and technical skill. The brothers Rumpf graduated from Germany’s prestigious Geisenheim University; Georg studied viticulture and oenology, while Philipp focused on wine economics. With Georg in the cellar and vineyards, this estate is producing world-class wine. This is an innovative estate that is on the move, always striving for new levels of quality and terroir expression. “I’m still trying to improve what I’m doing,” says Georg. “I’m not at the end of the road and still searching for the best possible expressions for each site that I can produce.” 

About the Winemaking: Georg is committed to organic viticulture and while they have been practicing organic for several years, they have started the transition for certification. Bees are kept nearby to facilitate pollination and aid in overall bio-diversity. Periodically sheep are allowed to roam the vines helping to control underbrush. All vineyards are hand harvested to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. 

Tasting Notes: Aged in stainless steel tanks, this light pink rosé is the ideal summer/Thanksgiving companion. Wild strawberries, raspberries and a hint of sour candy - this fruity rosé with scents from the orchard is pure joy. A fine minerality carries the aromas elegantly across the palate. A rosé to fall in love with!

Winemaker: Georg Rumpf

Price: $20.99 bottle/ 

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Triple cream cheeses


Chicken with mushroom cream sauce

More stories

October Beer of the Month Club: Freigeist

Freigeist Last month we welcomed Oktoberfest with a sampling of the West Coast’s best seasonal offerings. This month we’re toasting the end of the...

Gin Club Quarter 4 2023 - Sausalito Liquor Co. Marin Coastal Gin

For our final Gin Club selection of the year, I’m excited to introduce a brand new gin made right across the bay in Sausalito! Marin Coastal Gin is...