Distelberger Holunderblüte

In order to keep up with the newest trends in cider/perry, Toni Distelberger of Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof from Mostviertel, released also a hopped Birnenmost blended with elderflower syrup. Furthermore, it comes in a 33cl bottle and has an ABV of only 4.5%.Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin:
Amstetten, Lower Austria, Austria
Ingredients: 
Birnenmost, water, elderflower syrup, hops
Sweetness as per label: 
unknown
ABV: 
4.5%
Package type:
 330 ml amber glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass, chalice glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with a huge white head that immediately dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of elderflower, lemon, ripe and unripe mango.

Taste: my first taste is moderately sweet with low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of elderflower, unripe and ripe mango and lime. Finishes with a lingering note of unripe mango and distant ripe pineapple.

Overall: I’m taking the fifth sip and still don’t know what to tell you about this beverage. But I’ll try. I think that the Distelberger Holunderblüte is a quite well done hopped perry. In a blind tasting, I would never tell it was diluted with water nor that it was hopped. The taste of elderflower is obviously there and difficult to ignore but further notes that obviously come from hops are in a nice balance with elderflower and go well together. I really liked the gentle acidity as it made this Birnenmost taste like sauvignon blanc. All the flavours seem natural, move smoothly from one to another and are in a good balance. As I expected, there is no flavour of perry/Birnenmost at all. But I enjoyed it anyway. 4.5/6

Availability: directly from their shop or through Mostbarone.

Price: Distelberger Holunderblüte was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

Distelberger Birnenschaumwein Brut

This is another sparkling Birnenmost from Lower Austria after the previously reviewed Glückssprudel. Produced by Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof.Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin:
Amstetten, Lower Austria, Austria
Pears:
a blend of Austrian pear varieties
Sweetness as per label: 
brut
ABV: 
7.5%
Package type:
750 ml clear champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass, chalice glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with a green hue and a white head that quickly dissipates. High carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and sweetish with notes of sugar and lightly burnt sugar, green notes and lilies.

Taste: my first impression is moderately sweet with low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, strong bitterness, low astringency, lilies and sugar. Finishes with a lingering bitter note and green notes.

Overall: Again, I didn’t drink this Birnenmost alone. I shared it with my reliable friend that has a sweet tooth. However, in the case of this sample, we had similar thoughts. The scent is rather strange initially smelling of lightly burnt sugar but than additionally notes of lilies appear. I’m sorry to say it but it is rather flat. The taste has an unpleasant, strong and lingering bitter notes that in combination with a sweetness of sugar makes this Birnenmost taste horrible, thus undrinkable. This time I wasn’t alone with this opinion as my friend thought it was also unpleasant. I don’t want to break your heart, Toni, but  I have to. I’m sorry. 2/6

Availability: directly from their shop or through Mostbarone.

Price: Birnschaumwenwein Brut was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

Distelberger Glückssprudel

After trying a few still Birnenmosts from Lower Austria, it was time to take the plunge and try sparkling Birnenmost, the Distelberger Glückssprudel. Glückssprudel means fountain of happiness in German. IMG_2514Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin:
Amstetten, Lower Austria, Austria
Pears: 
local pear varieties
Sweetness as per label: 
trocken (dry)
ABV: 
6.5%
Package type: 
1000 ml clear bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with a small quickly dissipating head and medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and sweetish with notes of ripe, yellow apples, green apples, sweet and ripe pear, zinc oxide and herbal notes.

Taste: my first sip is lightly sweet with almost no acidity. On the mid-palate, mirabelle plum, gooseberries, low and lingering pear seed bitterness. Finishes dry with a lingering pear seed bitterness.

Overall: Again, to provide you with an unbiased review, I shared a bottle of this sparkling Birnenmost with my friend. Interestingly, this time we had completely different thoughts about this one. But let’s start what we both enjoyed. The nose is clean, rich, lightly sweet with nice fruity notes. Taste-wise not too sweet, with the right level of sweetness and a lingering bitter note. Exactly this bitter note, turned out to be a feature that divided me and my friend. Whereas my friend adored this lingering bitterness,  I had to grimace a bit. And, the reason why I didn’t appreciate this Birnenmost. So sometimes it’s just a matter of personal preferences. Quality-wise it’s a good Birnenmost. This fountain of happiness clearly does not make everyone happy. 4/6

Availability: directly from their shop or through Mostbarone.

Price: Glückssprudel was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

Distelberger Rote Pichlbirne

In my previous reviews about Birnenmost from Austria, you might have noticed that I used the term ‘Mostbarone”. Let me tell you a little bit more about this interesting movement. In 2003, Mostbarone was set up to promote the Birnenmost culture and protect this beverage from fading into oblivion. Mostbarons committed themselves to strict quality rules and the maintenance of the tradition of Birnenmost. These ambassadors of Birnenmost can be easily recognised as they wear distinctive hats.

After the Speckbirne, Rote Pichlbirne is another single varietal Birnenmost from Toni Distelberger. Toni Distelberger is also one of the Mostbarons. Rote Pichlbirne means red hill perry and is a perry pear variety. It is not exactly known where this pear variety comes from, but most probably from Upper Austria. Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin:
Amstetten, Lower Austria, Austria
Pears: 
Rote Pichlbirne 
Sweetness as per label: 
trocken (dry)
ABV: 
6.5%
Package type: 
1000 ml clear bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of green fruits, elderflower, quince, Mirabelle plum, a bit metallic and honeydew in the background.

Taste: it begins lightly sweet with low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, gree fruits, elderflower, low bitterness, Mirabelle plum, quince, low pear. Finishes dry with a note of low honeydew.

Overall: This time, I decided to share a bottle of this Birnenwein with a friend. Together with my friend, we agreed that the Distelberger Rote Pichlbirne is a great and lighter alternative to white wine. It’s long taste and lovely refreshing acidity along with notes of green fruits make it an enjoyable beverage that can be easily appreciated by everyone. Although it is a single-varietal perry, I thought it was full-bodied and full of flavours. It didn’t taste watery at all. We had it with pasta with tomatoes, tuna and black olives and thought it paired quite nicely. We would both buy it again. 4.5/6

Availability: directly from their shop or through Mostbarone.

Price: Rote Pichlbirne was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

Distelberger Speckbirne 2018

Speckbirne is a perry pear variety that comes most probably from Kärnten, Austria. It has been widely cultivated in Austria since 1888 when it was presented for the first time at the agricultural show in Vienna. Its name actually means ‘bacon pear’ and is due to the extraordinary shiny skin of this pear variety. Speckbirne basically looks as if it was smeared with bacon grease. As for the tannin content, it’s not rich in tannins although it has a light astringent taste when you bite into it.

Many Birnenmost producers of Austria use this perry pear in their blend but also as single-varietals Birnenmost. Today I give you the Distelberger Speckbirne.Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin:
Amstetten, Lower Austria, Austria
Pears: 
Speckbirne 
Sweetness as per label: 
trocken (dry)
ABV: 
6.5%
Package type:
1000 ml clear bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong. Smokiness, vanilla, fresh pear and low caramel. Hints of fresh yellow apple and of alcohol.

Taste: it starts lightly sweet of sugar with low acidity of lemon. Further down, low bitterness, low caramel, a taste of alcohol. Finishes with notes of higher alcohols and low plain bitterness with herbals.

Overall: My first impression of the Distelberger Speckbirne 2018 was actually quite good as I picked up a great, rich and interesting fruity scents with a lovely vanilla note in the background. Taste-wise, surprisingly I didn’t get much on the palate and the overall impression was rather disappointing. I thought it tasted too sweet with almost no existing acidity. I know, until now it doesn’t sound bad at all and is related to my personal preferences. But there was a herbal note on the palate that I didn’t find tasty. Not to mention the aftertaste, which was rather nasty, chemical and reminded me of higher alcohols mixed with plain bitter notes. Indeed, the taste started to improve with the rise of the temperature as the flavour of caramel was more pronounced. But it still wasn’t fun to drink. Exceptional nose stopped me from giving it a lower score. Please don’t hate me, Toni. 3/6

Availability: directly from their shop.

Price: Speckbirne 2018 was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

Mostbaron Exibatur 2015

The history of Birnenmost (pear wine) in Lower Austria is really fascinating. Here is another fun fact. In the 18th century, the consumption of Birnenmost was so high in Melk, Lower Austria that beer and wine producers felt threatened by it. For this reason,  a police order was issued in 1770 in Melk on banning the sales of Birnenmost in taverns. The ban was supposed to increase the sales of wine and beer. I’m not sure if it helped at that time but one thing is certain. The popularity of Birnenmost in Lower Austria survived also this ban.

Exibatur 2015 is another Birnenmost from the product range of Verein Mostbarone from Lower Austria. Exibatur is a local term for the plough. Let’s see how this Birnenmost will perform.Company: Verein Mostbarone
Place of Origin: 
Öhling, Lower Austria, Austria
Apples: 
a blend of Dorschbirne and Grüne Pichlbirne
Sweetness as per label: 
halb-trocken (semi-dry)
ABV: 
6.6%
Package type: 
750 ml green bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong. Fresh green apple, ripe and overripe yellow apple, mirabelle plums, fresh pear with a hint of baked apple.

Taste: it starts lightly sweet with medium acidity of lemon. Low bitterness, burnt caramel, very low astringency. Finishes with a lingering low acidity of lemon with a hint of burnt lemon, ripe yellow apple and a touch of acidity.

Overall: The more Birnenmost I drink, the more I like it. Exibatur has a strong yet refreshing and elegant taste. It has a distinctively refreshing style due to lovely, delicate and longlasting acidity of lemon. It’s full-bodied, balanced and vibrant. And, clear without any off-notes. I must admit that drinking Exibatur was a pure pleasure to me due to a unique combination of refreshing yet powerful flavours. Summarizing, Exhibatur 2015 is a well-made, versatile and refreshing option that may please a crowd. 5/6

Availability: from their online shop

Price: Exibatur 2015 was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

Mostbaron Preh 2017

I’m sure that everyone heard about Empress Maria Theresa from history classes in school. But did you know that Maria Theresa ordered the planting of trees along roadsides? Long-lived trees were planted along the main roads so they were easy to recognise. Fruit trees were planted in the countryside so farmers or soldiers passing through the country could benefit from it and collect the fruit. The importance of fruit trees in Austria was also recognised by Maria Theresa’s son Joseph II, who awarded farmers a silver medal when they planted over 100 fruit trees. More to that, in order to obtain a wedding license, several fruit trees had to be planted.

This is how Maria Theresa and Joseph II contributed to the expansion of the popularity of u.a. Birnenmost in Mostviertel.

Today’s Birnenmost is called Preh. ‘Preh’ means pride is Mostviertel dialect. Company: Verein der Mostbarone
Place of Origin: 
Öhling, Lower Austria, Austria
Apples: 
a blend of Stiegelbirne and Speckbirne
Sweetness as per label: 
halb-trocken (semi-dry)
ABV: 
7.2%
Package type: 
750 ml clear bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear very pale straw-yellow with a light greenish hue and no head. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of gooseberries, chalk, mirabelle plums, grass and a hint of caramel.

Taste: it begins lightly sweet with low to medium acidity of lemon, mirabelle plums, gooseberries,  a touch of bitterness and lemon peel. Finishes with very low astringency and a hint of peppermint.

Overall: Remembering my previous experience with Brous, I tried Preh almost immediately after removing it from the fridge. Interestingly, despite serving it at low temperature, the scent was still exceptionally strong and fruity of gooseberries. Not only the scent was strong but also the taste was longlasting. I adored the nicely balanced acidity and sweetness. I must say I thought that Preh was really delicious. Also, when it warmed up. The Mostbaron Preh is indeed a Birnenmost to be proud of. I’d love to have it again. 5/6

Availability: from their online shop

Price: Preh 2017 was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.

Mostbaron Brous 2017

Until last month I wasn’t aware that there is a place in Europe where perry pear trees significantly outnumber cider apple trees. I’m talking about Mostviertel, a region in Lower Austria famous for their Birnenmost, pear wine. The tradition of making Birnenmost here goes back to the 12th century. Interestingly, even aristocracy at the time started having pear trees in their coat of arms and named themselves e.g. ‘von Birnenbaum’.

The Mostbaron Brous is my first ever Birnenwein, a blend of two pear varieties, Stiegelbirne and Speckbirne. Brous means buds in Mostviertler dialect.Company: Verein Mostbarone
Place of Origin: 
Öhling, Lower Austria, Austria
Apples: 
a blend of Stiegelbirne and Speckbirne
Sweetness as per label: 
halb-trocken (semi-dry)
ABV: 
7.2%
Package type: 
750 ml clear bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear very pale straw-yellow with a light greenish hue and no head. No carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong. Fresh green apple, pineapple, fruity, initially zinc oxide-eugenol cement used in dentistry, mirabelle plums, flowers and light grass.

Taste: my initial taste is lightly sweet with low to medium acidity of lemon. Notes of burnt sugar, caramel, elderflower, alcohol, xylene, and green apples. Finishes with a light bitterness, distant caramel, hint of grapefruit and a grassy note.

Overall: I have made three attempts to try this Birnenmost. I’ve tried it at nearly room temperature first and didn’t like it at all. So I put it back to the fridge and waited until it cooled down a little. It didn’t help much. An array of flavours was there but still, the Brous didn’t seem balanced. My third attempt was at a very low temperature. Basically, after taking it directly from the fridge, I tasted it again. It tasted much better. Without the unpleasant bitterness, taste of alcohol but with light fruity notes. Actually, it tasted more like semi-sweet white wine than pear wine and didn’t really convince me. Anyway, I think that Brous would make a great food companion as it is rich, has length, structure and smooth taste. Just remember to drink it at low temperature. 3.5/6

Availability: from their online shop

Price: Brous 2017 was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.