Austria’s four eastern states produce mostly white wines on relatively flat terrain, although of late there has been a considerable increase in red wine production.
After the wine adulteration scandal in early 1980’s, the government legislated the strictest wine laws, and enforces them vigorously.
There are 35 officially sanctioned grape varieties, of which gruner veltliner is the most popular. This typically Austrian grape likes gravely, or loess rich soils. Grapes grown on gravely soils yield lemony wines, which taste fresh, while those grown on gravely soils yield silky and mineral rich wines.
Winemakers use gruner veltliner to make sparkling, or medium-bodied fruity wines, or reserve quality, or ice wines.
Gruner veltliner wines complement best freshly shucked oysters with a few drops of lemon juice, or grilled chicken, or braised pork belly, or braised provimi veal, or semi-soft cheeses. Ice wines can be enjoyed on their own or with apple strudel (a Viennese specialty) or fruit based desserts.
Austrian winemakers promote their wines annually in April in Canada and the USA.
This year, the selection of gruner veltliner and other grapes was large.
The following stood out:
Gruner Veltliner Edition Chremisa, 2010, Winzer Krems tastes off dry although it has only 3.8 grams of residual sugar, and 7.10 grams of titratable acidity, is light, dry, fruity, and deeply flavoured.
Rieslign Trockenbeerenauslese, 207, Rable sweet, highly aromatic, smooth ad well balanced with a logn afetrtaste.
Gruner Veltliner, Old Vienna Composition, Classic Style, 2011, Hafner Family Estates a superbly crafted, smooth, fruity, medium-bodied wine meant for sipping and pair with white-fleshed butter-fried fish fillets.
Chardonnay Beerenauslese, 2010, Sattlerhof Generally winemakers produce dry chardonnay, but this winery decided to pick raisinised grapes and made an excellent sweet wine smelling of dried stone fruits, with a superb and long finish.
Antares Grand Reserve, 2008, Zahel a blend of 60 per cent St. Laurent, 20 Zweigelt, 10 cabernet sauvignon, and 10 merlot, exudes red berry aromas, is completely dry, smooth, full bodied, well balanced and superbly suited for robust food