Shichiken sake what the cost per bottle

120 euros a bottle - I'd have a problem with that

Jürgen Schmücking is a journalist and mainly writes aboutWine, brandy and good food. In the interview, he chats about his personal relationship with Most and shows trends and potential for further development. In addition: Why would he personally have a real problem if Mostviertler pear cider suddenly cost 120 euros per bottle.
 

If I open your fridge, would I currently find a bottle of cider in it? If so, which must and where does it come from?
Caught cold. Nobody is standing there at the moment. Or - wait a minute, not true. A cider from Normandy has just cooled. But that's more of a coincidence. We will soon have a tasting on the subject of “Ciders of the World”. There are still some products to be tasted in advance. Otherwise you would be more likely to find cider in my fridge in summer. Since I like astringent thirst quenchers, a dry organic must is very likely. Probably from the Mostviertel anyway. Maybe also from the Mühlviertel.

If you follow your Facebook or Instagram account, you can see that you taste your way through a wide variety of products in and around Austria every day. What does a product have to have or how does a product have to taste in order to get your attention?
Well, organic helps. That has less to do with doctrinal conviction and more to do with my biography. I know the market, my in-laws are organic pioneers and I have great sympathy for the manufacturers. But as I said - I'm not dogmatic. My main concern is authenticity. So it's about artisanal production, about preserving diversity and culinary traditions. Slow Food's claim, Good, clean and fair, it is most likely to hit it.

You know the Mostviertel, the Mostbarons and many of their products. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mostviertler Most? What do you associate cider with and what does it mean for you personally?
The hats with the white feathers. No, seriously: For me, the group of cider barons is a sworn bunch of passionate producers who live exactly what is important to me: a deep connection with the region and a healthy amount of quality fanaticism. And they have a lot of fun with them. When I think of their musts, lightness, clarity, joie de vivre and summer come to mind. This is precisely where its importance lies for me.

Most had a bad image for a long time. Due to the so-called "revolution in the cellar", i.e. the hygienic working method and the use of the most modern technology, the quality of the must has improved significantly in the last few decades. Most is now also served in upscale restaurants. How do you see the development of must now and in the future?
There is still room for improvement. The must still has a lot of potential, especially in gastronomy. It should be possible that this is also recognized outside of the Mostviertel. The barons do their cider a great service as ambassadors. More of that.

Many - even in the Mostviertel - are not aware that the raw material “cider pear” is actually very limited. This became clear again, especially in a poor harvest year like last year. The Mostviertel is one of the few regions in the world where there are cider pears and where these are clearly in the foreground compared to apples. How do you see this situation? Are rare products automatically more interesting for consumers?
Not automatically, but when the story is told, it is. Ultimately, it is precisely about positioning the Mostviertel internationally as a first-class pear appellation. Actually, that shouldn't be a problem at all. Through the intensive exchange and the will to develop further, a unique Mostviertel style has developed. Crystal clear, sparkling clean, light, fruity and partly based on old varieties. That is a very clear profile for a region. Specialties and rarities can also be developed within this. I am thinking of Josef Farthofer's MOSTELLO, but also of Toni Distelberger’s Eis.Birne. There should also be space for current developments. When it comes to wine, there is currently a strong move away from cleanliness and brilliance towards more - let's say - rusticity and down-to-earth quality. Some wines seem like an anachronism. The must barons could also think about this (re) development without immediately giving up their profile.

Shouldn't - to put it provocatively - a bottle of pear cider from the Mostviertel actually cost 120 euros due to the limited supply and the special taste? Do you think that consumers only recognize the value of a product through the price?
Difficult topic. I am convinced that the price of some wines is not based on production costs, but solely on supply and demand. And about the amount consumed. In my home - that is, in my household - a few bottles of cider go away on a hot day. At 120 euros per bottle, I would soon have a real problem. But you're right, most of it is still being sold below its value. One could think about marketing individual musts as such well-stocked and scarce treasures and charging 120 euros for them. I believe that this will start a discussion about the value of must. It would be worth a try.

Which Mostviertler Most is your personal highlight and why?
The blood pear must from Hechal because it is so extraordinary that it is a pleasure and the must from the green Winawitz pear from the Adelsbergers. Extremely harmonious, crisp acidity, wonderful pear fragrance.

 


To person:
Jürgen Schmücking is a journalist. He mainly writes about wine, schnapps and good food. Bio. His reports appear in magazines such as schluck, ORIGINAL, Lebensart or Biorama. Now and then also in the falstaff. A few examples can be found at www.schmuecking.bio. Then Jürgen is still a photographer. Not a full-service photographer, however. No passport photos, no weddings. Agriculture and cuisine only. Because these are inextricably linked. Says Jürgen. Then he still writes books. At the moment together with the BIO HOTELS Kochlust PUR III - Sense & Sensuality. Or “A fette Sau”, the standard work on the rare breed of Mangalitza pigs. By the way, the fat pig is available here: www.afettesau.at. And otherwise? Otherwise he sits as a taster in regional, national and international wine competitions, travels to winemakers, cider farmers, schnapps distillers, alpine dairies and other farmers.

 

photos: Jürgen Schmücking