Nenad Trifunovic

Wine Without Borders – The Almasy Collection

Every castle has a history. Especially in a “land of castles”, Austrian Burgenland. One castle stood out from our perspective, Burg Bernstein can be found on if you desire to experience a Heritage Hotels of Europe. But is also significant for something we all savor even more. Wine, of course.

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This historic castle is most famous for being the birthplace of Laszlo Almásy, whose life was featured in the movie “The English Patient.” The film, based on Laszlo`s life, won 9 Oscar.

Yet Laszlo Almásy wasn’t the only explorer in the Almásy family. From Bernstein Castle in Burgenland, the Almásy family members have long forged fearlessly through the world’s deserts, rivers, and forests, whether by automobile, airplane, or motorbike.

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Descendants of Laszlo Almásy run the place today, and they established Burg Bernstein as a “cornerstone” or a starting point of the Almásy Collection.

How would wine taste if there were no borders? Or more precisely, what would the typical wine-cellar book of the Danube monarchy look like?

These questions are answered by Groszer Wein, Sarah Heller MW and the Almásy family, with their unique selection of ten different wines from today’s Austria, Romania, Slovenia & Hungary, which from 1867–1918 were united under the ruling house of Habsburg-Lorraine.

But first, a bubbly welcome! The Wine&more team visited this extraordinary place, and upon our arrival, we were put to the noblest of tasks… to open a sparkler with a sword.

One must take this seriously in order for bubbles to remain in the bottle and all the fingers in place when bottle top pops over the castle yard.

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There is a stone in the middle of the Bernstein castle yard that is considered as “point zero”. Each wine in the Almásy Collection has a number on its label.

That number shows how many kilometers away the vineyards are from the stone in the castle’s yard. For example, that sparkling Grüner Veltliner that we were welcomed with was grown 72 km air distance Northeast from the Bernstein Castle.

During dinner, we tasted 248 Southwest which comes from Vipava Valley in Slovenia and their distinctive Pinela variety. Soon after, a bottle of 487 label was opened which is a Harslevelu wine from Tokaj, Hungary. Exactly 487 kilometers East Northeast.

It is hard to tell if we were mainly intoxicated from the wines or from having dinner in an authentic castle’s ballroom. Both of which was an extraordinary experience, and it felt like we were in the center of the world.

Ancient motives on the high ceiling under the candlelight created an exceptional atmosphere for enjoying wine, food, and good company.

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Not to mention a night spent in a spacious “room.” Many average apartments are smaller than these “rooms.” Plus, every single detail fits perfectly.

Which wouldn`t be worthy of mention if every single thing was not authentic and restored! We spent the night in castles before, but this experience was like spending a night in a museum.

Oh, yeah. It is also a museum. Wonder what they used as a corkscrew back in 1199 when Bernstein Castle was built 🙂

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Overlooking the Hungarian lowlands and southern Austria, we also tasted numbers 121, 80, 65, and 401. That Zweigelt from Thermenregion (65 km North) was outstanding, but for a sweet end, there is nothing more suitable than sweet Aszu.

For a moment, we were transported 401 km East NorthEast to Tokaj, to come back again, to a point zero, the heart of Almasy Collection.

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It gives us great pleasure to offer some of these wines on Wine&more. According to our calculation, our webshop wine cellar is 175 to the South Southeast from “point zero” 😉

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