Mackenzie Hoffman—sommelier at Brooklyn’s effortlessly hip wine bar, The Four Horsemen—has a passion for natural wines that’s nothing short of infectious. Ask her to recommend a glass and she’ll tell you what’s been going on in California, in Italy, or—on her most recent work trip—in Austria. We were hungry for the deets on the country’s stellar wine scene, of course, but we also wanted to get her impression of the capital.
“When I was in the wine-growing regions, I basically talked to farmers, but I did spend a bunch of time in Vienna.
Being from the United States, from New York City, we don’t see history from hundreds of years ago. It’s so important to visit cities that are older than where you are from. Going to the Gustav Klimt exhibit—like we have Museum Mile, but they have an area that’s just designated to museums. It’s so exciting to go.
The architecture is a little different. You’re not in Spain, so you don’t have Gaudi in Barcelona marking the city all over, and it’s maybe not as cosmopolitan as Paris or Madrid, but the history is really cool.
And then you also have young people that are opening really cool restaurants. At O boufés, the chef’s name is Konstantin Filippou. He’s affiliated with the MAD symposium, and he has kind of a Noma of Vienna. The restaurant’s reminding the guests that they’re in Vienna, they’re in Austria, but it’s a modern restaurant, which is really cool.
You have these two different food worlds that are side by side. When we were in the wine-growing regions, we saw a lot of Mangalitsa, which is a different breed of pig. Then you’d go to this new modern restaurant, and they’re also serving Mangalitsa, but in a different way. At the end of the day, they’re both valuing this product that is uniquely theirs.
There’s also this hotel, the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, that has one of the best wine lists in the world. They have this living art work on the ceiling that I think is actually a huge screen, like it’s a kaleidoscope. It’s on the eighteenth floor, and you get a huge view of the city.
In Vienna, there are streets that are almost like you’re in a labyrinth. The streets curve, you’ll go down this small, small street—and then, all of a sudden, you come up to this ginormous church that almost makes you cry.”
Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, Vienna
Mon-Sun: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Dominikanerbastei 17, Vienna
Mon-Sat: 5:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.
Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom
Praterstraße 1, Vienna