Skip to main content

Notes from an Austrian Wine Tasting

Willi Klinger, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, was recently at Camarata at Paulie's to teach a seminar on the 7 Elements of Uniqueness in regards to Austrian wine. He said the wines of Austria are defined by an aromatic freshness combined with full physiological ripenesss. David Keck, M.S. was integral part of the discussion and shared his thoughts on the wines as well.

The unique elements that help make Austria an exceptional producer of wine are: 
1) The cool climate which helps to create the crisp, aromatic style.
2) The land which sits at the same latitude as Burgundy and has, in addition to the typical river valley and hillside growing areas, vineyards in the capital city of Vienna. They also boast a diverse range of soils to suit the array of grapes.
3) A signature grape, Grüner Veltliner, which has become a by-the-glass restaurant favorite. In addition to this, they have a number of other grapes, both indigenous and international, that can be made in diverse styles.
4) A wine culture that has existed and evolved for 2,000 years. The quest for quality is showcased not only in the wines but in the innovative and modern new wineries.
5) The typical smaller winery still prevails, information is passed through family members who have worked together for generations. In addition to a quest for quality, the people just enjoy what they do, says Willi Klinger. 
6) An overriding respect for nature exists not only in the wine industry but throughout the country. 10% of the vineyards are organically farmed and 3/4 of them are part of a government supported minimum intervention program.
7) The food friendliness makes wine pairing easier. The wines of Austria typically maintain good natural acidity and work well with a variety of cuisines including from China and other Asian countries that often conflict with more mainstream varietals. 

The White Wines:

2015 is considered to be an excellent vintage in Austria and the first three wines were from this year.


  • Ott Bernhard "Am Berg" Grüner Veltliner 2015 - Sourced from Niederösterreich or Lower Austria, this wine is a lighter style of Grüner Veltliner from a biodynamic producer with only 11.5% abv with typical white pepper notes and a savory finish. SRP $18
  • Christ Wiener Gemischter Satz 2015 - This wine is a field blend of grapes, co-fermented into a refreshing, light wine perfect with assorted hors d'oeuvre. SRP $ 24
  • Tinhof Neuburger 2015 - From a biodynamic producer in Burgenland, this Neuburger wine is a medium-body, softer wine with fresh aromas of apricot and raw almonds with a lingering mineral finish. SRP $24
The next three wines were all Grüner Veltliner from the Kremstal DAC. They all had a similarity, showing classic Grüner Veltliner characteristics and according to David Keck M.S., they all share a "pretty, filigree character."

  • Malat Höhlgraben Grüner Veltliner 2013 - White pepper, green almond with a light savoriness. SRP $27
  • Stadt Krems Wachtberg Grüner Veltliner Kremstal Reserve 2013 - This wine is sourced from the rocky Wachtberg vineyard on the Danube, it has white pepper aromas and flavors with a savory note and a pronounced nuttiness in the lingering finish. SRP $40
  • Stift Göttweig Gottschelle Grüner Veltliner Kremstal Reserve 2012 - Also sourced from a single vineyard on the Danube, the Gottschelle, this wine was a bit softer and rounder due to the slightly warmer year. It has white pepper aromas and flavors with green almond and a savory finish. SRP $40
Dry Riesling from two different areas and vintages and one Sauvignon Blanc. Willi Klinger named 2013 as the classic vintage in Austria for Riesling. 

  • Müller-Grossmann Steiner Point Riesling 2015 - Light, fresh. Dry, clean, linear, very floral. An elegant wine. SRP $24
  • Holzapfel Vorderseiber Riesling 2011 - The Vorderseiber vineyard area is at a higher elevation in Wachau. This was a warmer year for the area. This was a riper style, a rounder, richer wine with some petrol minerality. SRP $50
  • Sabathi Hannes Kranachberg 2013 - Sourced from the Kranachberg vineyard in Südsteiemark, the only Sauvignon Blanc area in Austria, this wine has apricot aromas and flavors, beautiful balance and a saline minerality in the finish. SRP $55

The Red Wines:

  • Umathum Zweigelt 2013 - This was a cooler year for reds resulting in a light, fruity red with an herbal sage note and a touch of smokiness in the finish; fresh and easy-drinking, this would make a great Thanksgiving Day wine. SRP $21.50
  • Rosi Schuster Sankt Laurent 2012 - An excellent year for reds, this wine is very dry with cherry aromas and flavors, somewhat pinot noir-like but more robust. SRP $ 24
  • Markus Altenburger Leithaberg Blaufränkisch 2012- A lusher style red wine, David Keck M.S. described this Reserve wine as "a fleshy, richer style' of the variety from a monumental vintage. SRP $ 35
  • Iby-Lehrner Mosso Cuvée 2012 - This dry red is a blend of Blaufränkisch, Merlot and Syrah. SRP $16

The Sweet Finale

  • Wenzel Beerenauslese Riesling Eiswein 2006 - Fresh ripe peach aromas with a lingering honeyed finish, an elegant ending. SRP $ $38

Wines tasted on October 13, 2016.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Flavor Inspired Georgian Wine Tasting and Lunch

Last month, wine professionals in Houston were given the opportunity to taste wines from one of the country of Georgia's flagship producer, Teliani Valley, over lunch at Concura to learn about the ancestral grapes, the ancient winemaking techniques, and the modern tools which come together to make the classic wines of the Kakheti region. There are 525 grape varieties currently recorded in the country with over 135,000 acres under vine, 72.4% of those vines are located in Kakheti. The country of Georgia is located approximately 620 miles from Rome and size wise, it is just slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. Despite its small size, it has a lot of neighbors that border it: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey; it also touches the Black Sea. The Kakheti wine region is located in the eastern part of Georgia with two river basins, the Ivri and Alazani, which both influence the wines. The vineyards are located at elevations of 800 to 2,600 feet with views of the Caucasus

Tasting with Rob and Bonnie Lloyd of Lloyd Cellars

Rob and Bonnie Lloyd of Lloyd Cellars. Rob and Bonnie Lloyd were in Houston in November to meet with a small group of local wine media to share their story and their Lloyd Cellars wine at Savoir . The Lloyds have family in town and were here for the holidays. Their wines are currently on the shelf at Total Wines. Rob Lloyd immersed himself in wine after graduating from UC-Irvine. He moved to Napa and put his dream in motion by working harvest at Cakebread followed by a job at the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars tasting room. These experiences motivated him to go to UC- Davis to get his Masters in Enology. After graduating, he continued immersing himself in California Chardonnay with positions at La Crema and Rombauer. He would co-found JaM Cellars and be their original winemaker launching the top selling Butter Chardonnay brand. He eventually opened a consulting firm and started his own wine projects with wife, Bonnie. Bonnie Lloyd moved to San Franscico in 1996 to continue her career in

The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition Winners

This past Sunday, Taste of Italy - Houston held The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition at the Hilton Post Oak in collaboration with the Italian American Chamber of Commerce . The competition was orchestrated to help local sommeliers hone their both their service and test taking skills while showcasing their knowledge of all things wine. Competitors started with a deductive tasting and theory exam and concluded with a table service exam. The winners were announce on Monday morning at the opening of the Taste of Italy - Houston. Tony Elsinga won the top prize of $750 along with a trip to Italy. Mark Fusco was the first runner up also winning $750 and and Carlos Rosas was the second runner up earning a $500 prize. Each winner also was a gifted a jerobaum bottle of Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.  The competition was originally conceived by Jaime Deleon , the Adult Beverage Sales Manager for Kroger's Houston Division and an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Mast