Monday, February 6, 2023

Wines of Austria trade tasting in London

It is not often that the wines of Austria are on display at a trade tasting in London, and so I was most grateful for the opportunity to participate in this event expertly organized by Austrian Wine.

Austrian wine regions are all in the east of the country

Some relevant facts learned today.

Today Austrian wines are 68% white (Grüner Veltliner is top with 32%) and 30% red (zweigelt at the top with 13%).

These are grown over some 45,000 hectares of vineyards (about 1% of the world wine production) with some 15% now certified organic and 18% certified "sustainable."

In addition to a large walkaround choice of wines, a few masterclasses were offered as well, and it is on two of these that I will focus my post.

Masterclass 1: Zweigelt in Neusiedlersee

A few dates by way of introduction:

1922: successful crossing between St Laurent (an early ripening, delicate fruit grape) and blaufrankisch (a late ripening grape with firm tannins) to produce zweigelt.

1950s: many experimental vineyards are launched

1960s-70s: significant increase in production, 770 ha in 1978.

1992: first designated area of origin Rubin Carnuntum, zweigelt becomes the top red grape in Austria

2012 DAC  (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) granted.

Below some notes from the best wines (all zweigelt) I tasted in this masterclass:

Seegut Lentsch - Podersdorf Neusiedlersee, Ried Seeweingärten DAC reserve 2017
Firm tannins, mod complex and length, vegan certified. Score 88

Hannes Reeh - Andau - Unplugged 2015
feels older than 2015, balsamic notes, leather, perfect balance. Score 90

Georg Preisinger - Gols, Ried Dorfweingarten 2009
Feels much younger, still zesty. Cassis, blackberry. Ready but with potential in the bottle. Score 90

Allacher Vinum Panorama - Gols, Ried Altenberg 2001
Well aged, smooth, leather, game, soya;, mature now! Score 93

Weingut Pöckl - Mönchhof, Cuvée Admiral 2011
Complex and long, ready now. Blend of zweigelt (60%) with cab sauv and merlot. Score 92

Masterclass 2: Kamptal in Neusiedlersee Grüner Veltliner (GV) and Riesling DAC

All in all I found the quality of the whites in this masterclass superior to the zweigelt of the previous one. Of course I am comparing apples and oranges, but today confirmed the axiom that Austrian whites fly higher, for now, than reds.

GV Langelois "friendly by Laurenz V" 2021
Typical freshness and aroma, balanced result probably because of 35yo vines. Steel only. Score 90

GV Langelois "Alte Reben" 2021
Powerful flavors from late picking on 45yo vines. Steel and Austrian oak. Score 92

GV Ried Schönberger Kalvarienberg 2021
Fruits and flowers, good balance and length. Score 92

GV Reserve Ried Schenkenbichl "1ÖTW" 2021
Floral nose then  balance and even smoothness ending. Score 93

GV Ried Grub "1ÖTW" 2020
Another surprisingly smooth wine, balance and length. Score 92

Riesling Ried Heiligenstein "1ÖTW" 2021 Eichinger Birgit
Not yet open, yet already strong typical riesling with notes of tropical fruit, needs time to excel. Score 92

Riesling Ried Gaisberg "1ÖTW" 2016
Petrol as it should be, dry and long. Score 93

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