Austrian wines have enjoyed a decades old reputation as among the best in Europe. Austrian wines rival Italian, German, and French reputations for quality. Like Germany and Italy, Austrian wines benefit from extensive government oversight. The certifications of a growing region, varietal grapes, and fermentation methods has meaning for consumers who do not wish to pay a premium price for wines produced by technological shortcuts.
The Austrian wines direct from the Wachau Valley and Danube River region west of Vienna now rivals the Piedmont in Italy and the Rheinhessen region in Germany. All recognized as regions with high quality wines. Austrian wines are best known for Traminer (Gewurztraminer), Riesling, and Gruner Veltliner varietals.
Gruner Veltliner World Class Wines
The Gruner Veltliner has won many blind taste competitions against Chardonnay and other more well-known varietals. In recent years, it has surpasses many more established varietals market share growth. In the UK, the USA and elsewhere, Gruner Veltliner has a growing and enthusiastic audience of wine lovers. Characteristically, buyers more impressed with taste and quality than price tags and pedigree.
Two outstanding Austrian wineries producing Gruner Veltliner, Traminer, and Riesling varietal wines are Weingut Rabl and Weingut Johann Donabaum. Weingut Rabl in the Kamptal-Donau production zone, along the Danube River, is a prime wine region of Austria. Weingut Johann is another producer whose products are emblematic of Austria's Wachau wine region.
The Sweet Gets Sweeter In Austrian Wine
Direct</strong> from the first harvest of Gruner Veltiner, Traminers, or Rieslings, the wines produce a pleasant and sweet wine. Winemakers ferment the early harvest, and then age it in oak. The sugars are less concentrated than later stage harvests, and the alcohol content is deceptively low, the wines are far more potent than one might expect from and 8% alcohol level. The natural sugars and to the pleasant effects and slow sipping is a wonderful way to enjoy them. The late season harvests have higher concentrations of sugars. Late season and end of season levels of alcohol are higher than the first, and tastes are progressively sweeter.
The Ice Next Time
From the fire of summer, to the cool of autumn, comes finally to the ice of winter. Grapes have the highest possible concentrations of sugars when left on the vines to freeze. When pressed and fermented above the must, these ultra sweet wines form a delicious and complex set of sweet flavors. Eiswein is the most rare of the Gruner Veltliner or Riesling harvests, both by nature and wine-maker design the quantities are much smaller that the late season varietals.
There are enthusiastic buyers in growing numbers for Austrian wine direct from Wachau Valley. For more than a decade, a ground swell of popularity has grown for Gruner Veltliner across the UK. There is a wonderful combination for the wine buyer, high quality and a relatively modest price.