Interview wine sommelier
"Better a little more wine than too little!"
In Southern Styria, the journey of Styrian wine is experienced and enjoyed: Mr Pfanner, wine sommelier and absolute wine expert, in conversation about cooking with wine, the most harmonious water & wine matches and how to prepare the perfect white spritzer.
Dear Mr Pfanner, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. You are a wine sommelier and an expert at the vinotheque of the Loisium Wine & Spa Hotel Ehrenhausen in beautiful southern Styria. How long have you been pursuing this passion and how did you get into it?
My passion for wine arose very early in my life. As the youngest child of a gastronomic family, I already had contact with food and wine in my youth. As a man in his late forties, I have experienced the journey of Styrian wine and accompanied its rise. For the past three years I have been responsible for wine at the Loisium Südsteiermark in Ehrenhausen, where I live out my passion in both purchasing and sales on a daily basis.
You are an absolute expert: What role does the respective water play with the wine for you?
Many aspects of water influence the wine, as well as the food. Minerality and carbonic acid certainly do. Water can both adulterate and support. Water with a high iodine content certainly has a positive effect on the organism, but it has too much flavour of its own to accompany wine and food. In Styria in particular, there are more and more wines that reflect the soil and microclimate (terroir) in addition to young and fruity wines.
Especially wines that have a salty finish can be combined very well with mineral water with a slightly higher minerality. Limy or chalky wines can be well accompanied with more carbonic acid.
Many people give little importance to water with wine and make a maximum distinction as to whether they would rather enjoy it sparkling, mild or still with a good glass of wine. Yet water perfectly supports the wine in developing its full aroma. From this experience: What do you consider to be the most harmonious water & wine matches?
In principle, wine and mineral water from the same region go well together (same mineral mix). Water with a low mineral content is subordinate to the wine in terms of taste. The higher the mineral content, the more the acidity and tannin of the wine can be underlined or emphasised, but the sweetness and melting point suffer. Highly carbonated water, as well as strongly alkaline water, influences the character of the wine too much.
Which water do you use for the all-time favourite drink of the Austrians, the white spritzer?
A highly carbonated and low mineralised water.
Some people say: "I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add some to the food". But joking aside: cooking with wine is a broad field, because countless dishes benefit from wine and vice versa. In your opinion, which aromas flow best from the respective wine into the dish and what role does the water served with it play in this?
What is important about the wine used for cooking is, of course, its quality. The acidity and tannin content give the dish the necessary character. Melting, oak barrel ageing and colour have a strong impact on a dish and bring it to perfection.
What are your best tips for cooking with wine?
It is better to use a little more wine than too little. Of course from a bottle, which you then serve with the meal. Let it simmer a little to evaporate all the alcohol.
Finally, tell us your favourite dish with a fruity red wine or a dry white wine?
Veal cheeks in aromatic red wine and grape sauce on a mash of sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables.