At the Annual Tasting of Austrian Wines in London last month, I caught up with Noel Young and tasted my way through the wines he had on show from various producers.
Based in Vienna, Fritz Wieninger cultivates 33ha of vines on either side of the river Danube – for 2011, conditions were warmer after the cool 2010, with an increase in both quality and quantity.
The Vienna Hills GV 2011 was fresh and light with peppery celery and lentils.
The Herrenholz GV 2011 was fuller, with a creamier texture and a minerally finish.
The Wiener Gemischter Satz Klassik 2011, a field blend of up to 13 grape varieties all grown, picked and fermented together, was fresh, lively and balanced, with prominent GV characteristics (the main grape in the blend).
The Wiener Gemischter Satz Nussberg Alte Reben 2011 was very different from the previous year’s style – now fermented only in stainless steel, it had an aromatic nose, lemon and lime fruit, good depth of flavour and a fresh acidity.
The Vienna Hills Riesling 2011, an unfiltered barrel sample, had a toasty, intense nose, an expressive palate with lemon and lome fruit, a creamy texture combined with a toastiness and a long mineral finish.
The Wiener Trilogie (70% Zweigelt, 15% Cab, 15% Merlot) had a perfumed nose of vanilla, sour cherry fruit and liquorice; the palate shows good bramble fruit and spice with a soft, mouthfilling texture, juicy acidity and some grip on the finish.
Based in Lower Austria’s Kamptal, just outside the Wachau, Kurt Angerer names many of his wines after the soil type they are grown on. Whether any of the differing minerals in the soil actually end up in the finished wine is still the subject of debate, but there are certainly perceptible differences due to the effects of terroir.
Kies GV 2011; grown on mixed soils and not picked until December, this is ripe and rounded.
Spies (“shpeez”) GV 2010; grown on granite, there is lots of classic varietal white pepper, spice, celery and lentils with ripe peach fruit, balanced acidity and good minerality.
Loam GV 2010; flintsmoke, a fleshy feel with some spice, balanced savoury and full, a toasty flintiness develops on the palate.
Eichenstaude GV 2010; complex with ripe peach and nectarine fruit, spice, a mineral buzz and some toastiness, a soft texture.
Zweigelt “Barrique” 2009; sweet cherry and elderberry fruit, pepperiness, rounded moutfeel, intense with tannic grip.
St Laurent 2009 – bright and translucent in the glass, the nose is of berry fruit, coffee and spice. The palate shows ripe cherries, sweet bramble fruit and liquorice, grippy finish. Overall, feels rounded balanced and approachable.
Based in Illmitz in Burgenland near the Hungarian border on the Pannonian plain, Kracher is perhaps Austria’s greatest dessert wine maker.
With low hills, warming southerly winds and the shallow Lake Neusidl providing morning fogs, conditions in this region are perfect for reliable botrytis growth almost every year.
The additional warmth also provides suitable conditions for dry reds.
Klassik Illmitz Zweigelt – a perfumey elderberry and cherry nose with liquorice and earthiness; the palate shows sweet-sour cherry fruit, spicy mintiness and a grippy finish. Fleshy and approachable.
Auslese Cuvee 2009 (white blend), light and fresh, with simple fruit sweetness that is initially intense then fades. The savouriness lingers, however.
Beerenauslese Cuvee 2009 (white blend), a real step up, ripe, marmaladey and peachy with balanced fresh acidity and savouriness.
Eiswein Cuvee 2009 (white blend), botrytis on the nose, the palate is sweet-sour, intense and complex with aromas of peaches roasted in butter, more pungent botrytis notes and fresh acidity. Mouthfeel is weighty with glycerol and there is a savouriness on the finish – great depth of flavour and length.
TBA “No 2” Scheurebe 2009, intense aromas of mango and roasted peach skin, weighty glycerol on the palate, long on the palate and finish.
TBA “No 3” Welschriesling 2009, fresher and more fragrant with elderflower aromas, mouthfilling and long on the palate and finish.
All the wines here were good-to-superb, but here are my specific recommendations:
Wieninger’s Vienna Hills Riesling for its complexity and depth of flavour.
Angerer’s Eichenstaude GV for its complexity and depth of flavour.
Kracher’s Klassik Illmitz is a great entry-level introduction to Austrian reds, but the main event is the dessert wines, so the Eiswein Cuvee for its complexity and depth of flavour.
Noel Young Wines – www.nywines.co.uk
Weininger – www.wieninger.at
Angerer – www.kurt-angerer.at
Kracher – www.kracher.at
Copyright Tom Lewis 2012
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