Sadly, there isn’t enough Austrian wine! Austria is a country with a strong and historic wine-drinking culture, but it only produces as much wine as a middle-sized region of France, for example the Loire. Export isn’t necessarily a priority for many growers, but fortunately some of the top producers do want to see their wines on a world stage, where they have proved they can shine.
The vineyards all lie in the east of the country, around Vienna, downstream along the Danube to the west, and in a wide band south to Styria. Best known are white wines, particularly from Riesling - which here becomes a dry, high alcohol wine much more in the Alsace style than the German - and Gruner Veltliner, the latter grown in Austria since Roman times and now taking a third of the country’s vineyards. The top examples of both these varieties make very food-friendly wines, with the weight and structure to accompany rich or spicy dishes, and both can age superbly, with the best examples of the latter taking on the minerality and complexity of fine white Burgundy.
Austria is also the source of some of the greatest sweet wines in the world. Key to this is the Neuesiedlersee, an enormous shallow lake south-east of Vienna, which creates a perfect micro-climate for the development of noble rot in the surrounding vineyards through long, warm and dry autumns.
Note - as we do not carry large stocks of Austrian wine, we may not hold examples of all these growers' wines at all times.
On the north side of Lake Nieusiedl, this estate splits its production between reds and sweet whites.
Pittnauer, Gottesbrun, Carnuntum
The Carnuntum lies just east of Vienna. Hot, and with dry autumns, this region has great potential for red wines, now being realised by Gerhard Pittnauer. His reds exemplify all that is best in new Austrian
winemaking: as Giles Macdonogh wrote in The Wine and Food of Austria, they are ‘full and dense, especially his St. Laurents and Zweigelts’.
Wainer Wess, Unterloiben, Wachau
The historic vineyards of the Schloss Gobelsburg, which belong to the Cistercian monastery of Zwettl, were leased to Michael Moosbrugger in 1996. Since then this has become a model estate.
Fritz Miesbauer rhas revitalised this 35 hectare estate since 200.