Inside World Spirits © Episode 4: Apricot, Gerhard Maass

Inside World Spirits © Episode 4
Apricot, Gerhard Maass

Can be streamed (in German with English subtitles) in the protected area - directly at iws.tv

Everything revolves around the subject: The Wachau Apricot Queen

  • Talk partners: Gerhard Maass, Austria’s biggest apricot plant operator and distiller
  • Botanical: ginger, Patrick Altermatt, Switzerland
  • Viewer guest: Alexandra Zerza, private person, Austria
  • IWS.tv host Wolfram Ortner – 20 minutes of exciting and profound presentation

Products/ spirits:

  • Apricot, Maass Brand, Austria
  • Apricot brandy Reserve, Fruit Distillery Franz Tinnauer, Austria
  • Apricot brandy, The Wachau Private Distillery Hellerschmid, Austria

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Background information about the IWS.tv episode:

The Wachau Apricot Queen

The apricot is an old fruit from Asia which belongs to the rose family and was already coveted in primeval times. Erotic and female associations are attributed to this fruit due to its shape. The object of desire for the distillers’ scene however is the so-called ‚Wachau Apricot’, meanwhile a registered trademark. This special variety is called „Klosterneuburger“ and is a direct relative of the „Hungarian Best“ which needs warm and dry conditions for its perfect growth. It is a true flavour miracle concerning the capture of apricot aromas in spritual form.

For distillers the apricot is a kind of love-hate relationship. The perfect apricot can only be distilled in good fruit years in which all climatic conditions are consistent. If the ripeness on the tree is ideal and if one is lucky to distill under a „lucky star“, one can get the perfect apricot into a glass too.

The ideal image is very aromatic approaching peaches and rose wood with nice and fresh citrus notes, a subtle bitter almond or marzipan note respectively  a delicate and elegant green and slightly minty tartness, a nice interplay of acidity and fruitiness and finally a long and tight aromatic finish.

Many distillers remove the stone before the fermentation so that the bitter almond note doesn’t become too intense. In bad vintages however, one consequence is that the typicality suffers and can very easily be compared with a Gloster apple. If the stone remains in the mash during fermentation, the final product gets a very strong marzipan stylistics which amateurs love on the one hand which on the other hand leads to the suspicion of being aromatised. The industry also uses this feature for the production of marzipan substitute.

Products/ Spirits & Distilleries

Maass – Tyrolean mountain apricot and Fiss barley

In the heart of the Tyrolean mountains, surrounded by mighty three thousand metre high peaks, is one of Austria’s largest apricot plantations. At an altitude of nearly 900 metres at the entrance to the wild and idyllic Kaunertal valley, there are approximately 10,000 apricot trees. Next to an ancient Roman tower – which is where the farm name ‘Turabauer’ originates – you will find an architectural gem, the Maass open distillery in Prutz. Crystal-clear mountain air and pure spring water from the Central Alps make the fruit at Gerhard Maass’ family business ripen to the best quality.

The ‘imperial barley’ is something special, cultivated in the interwar period by Karl Röck and grown until the 1960s on the Fiss sun plateau. This variety is very productive, easy to grow and resistant to pests. In earlier times, it was exported as far as America, until it was displaced by a Bavarian barley variety and forgotten for many decades. Today it is experiencing a renaissance – the barley is certified and of the highest quality. On an area of around 40 hectares it is once again being cultivated, and a small innovative group of farmers, including Maass Distillery and the Zillertal Brewery, have developed new, regional products from it, ranging from a regional bread to beer and brandy – and what Gerhard Maass has produced from it, is absolutely fascinating.

The World Class Distillery 2017 (Distillery of the Year Gold & World Spirits Award 2017 OBB) received double gold for Gerste Imperial Holz (barley) and Single Malt Whisky – Imperial Malt Blend, gold for wild cherry, orange muscatel, apricot (wood), gentian and Gin by Maass brand.

91 WOB-Punkte – Marille 2011 L: 211/141- Gold
Maass-Brand, Österreich-6522 Prutz, www.maass-brand.at
Fragrance: Very aromatic, ripe ground product, nice fruit, delicate perfume, raspberry, rose notes, apricot puree, almonds, nuts, mint. Taste: Jammy fruit notes, citrus, almost exotic, orange peel, rosewood, menthol-like coolness, delicate roast aromas, caramel, raisins, elegant tartness, full-bodied, long, aromatic finish.

Franz Tinnauer: Styrian superstar

The fruit distillery is a traditional, certified family business run by Franz Tinnauer together with his daughter, Monika. Margarethe is the heart and soul of the residential buildings which nestle on the beautiful Mount Gamlitzberg. Following the motto TASTEFUL. STYRIAN. STRONG. distillation takes place entirely from the fruit itself and exclusively in a double distillation procedure to make the richest, fruit-concentrated distillates. In addition, only regional fruit varieties are processed, which mostly come from their own land – quality is, of course, the most important factor. As it is the understanding in the business that alcohol is a carrier for all aromas, all fine distillates contain over 40% alcohol by volume.

The high-proof distillate of approx. 80% alcohol by volume is stored for at least one year, and then there are five graduation levels: Classic – aromatic and very fruity as a clear distillate, at least one year old, at least 42% alcohol by volume; Reserve – at least two years old, at least 50% alcohol by volume; Reserve Zigarrenbrand cigar brandy – at least three years in French oak barrels, at least 50% alcohol by volume; Grand Reserve – special vintages, clear brandies, at least three years matured, cigar brandies stored in barrels at least five years, usually above 60% alcohol by volume. In the product range, which also includes liqueurs and spirits, there is something for every taste, be it mild, sweet or very strong.

The World Class Distillery 2019 OBB (Distillery of the Year 2019 – Silver) received double gold for the Zwetschken Zigarrenbrand Reserve (damson cigar brandy) (Spirit of the Year 2019), Apricot Brandy Reserve (Spirit of the Year 2019), Red Williams Pear Brandy, and gold for Williams Pear Brandy Reserve, Juniper and Pear-Quince Brandy Reserve.

95,3 WOB-Punkte – Marillenbrand Reserve 2012 L: 1138 - Double-Gold
Fruchtbrennerei Franz Tinnauer, Österreich-8462 Gamlitz, www.tinnauer.at
Fragrance: Very compact, ripe variety style, brilliance covered slightly by alcohol, elegant freshness and fruit ester, some citrus, raspberry, cherry, plum, vanilla, rose petals, caramel, white chocolate. Taste: Strong as an ox, powerful taste experience, complex style, jammy and drop-like texture, blackberry, honey, roasted almonds, floral touch, dark chocolate, delicate extract sweetness, slightly green and minty, warming pressure in the finish. (Spirit of the Year 2019)

Wachauer Privatdestillerie Hellerschmid: Apricots and lots more

In 1948, Franz Hellerschmid founded the private distillery in Krems with the aim of producing fine brandies and liqueurs from the Wachau apricot. The product range mostly included heavy and very sweet liqueurs, which were almost exclusively sold within the region. In 1970, Hardt Hellerschmid took over the company, completely modernised it and considerably expanded the product range and delivery area and, in 1972, set a milestone in the history of the company with the ‘B’soffene Marille’ (‘tipsy apricot’). As a representative of the third generation of the family, Bernhard Hellerschmid has been running the company since 2008.

More than twenty different spirits and non-alcoholic specialities are produced, whereby the recipes remain true to the time when the business was established. Complemented by process-optimised production processes, typical Austrian specialities have been created. With each new generation there have been innovations and changes, but over the years the handed-down recipes and the focus on local raw materials sourced from up to 50 kilometres around the town of Krems have always remained constant. The diverse product range encompasses fruits in alcohol, clear spirits, bitter schnapps, fruit liqueurs, emulsion liqueurs, alcohol-free, sweet and savoury, as well as sparkling and refreshing drinks.

At the World Spirits Award, there was double gold for Mohn-Eierlikör (poppy seed and egg liqueur), gold for walnut schnapps, blueberry brandy and raspberry spirit, and silver for apricot brandy.

82 WOB-Punkte – Marillenbrand 2017 - Silver
Die Wachauer Privatdestillerie Hellerschmid, Österreich-3500 Krems an der Donau, www.hellerschmid.com
Fragrance: Rather ripe fruit stylistics, some fruit ester, quite a lot of peel aromas, rosewood, milk chocolate, caramel, delicately apricot-like, cherry-like, almond-like, discreet meadow herbs, minty, somewhat nutty, some woody and tart spiciness. Taste: An image on the palate, subtly jammy, cherry and plum-like, full-bodied, jam-like, marzipan-like, malty, delicate eucalyptus coolness, somewhat edgy, delicate bitter aroma, good body and density, rather understated length.

Quelle: www.world-spirits.com © by WOB

 

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