Thanks to the very strict regulations in place the wines of Austria are some of the highest-quality and technically correct wines in the world. Winemaking knowledge and skill has increased in leaps and bounds over the last couple of centuries and it is paying off big time.
Austria is now proudly producing a portfolio of dry whites that can be light and zesty to full-bodied and concentrated. The sparkling wines are crisp and aromatic. The reds are juicy and soft with alluring aromas. Not only does Austria produce wines that are characterful they are amongst some of the most food-friendly wines in the world. Gruner Veltliner when light and citrusy is the perfect accompaniment to fish, more fuller bodied is amazing with chicken and sparkling versions are great with vegetables. Where Blaufrankisch is fantastic with veal through to beef.
Main Grapes or styles
Gruner Veltliner – Gruner is Austria’s little baby that is capable of producing some very high quality white wines. Along with Riesling it is one of the most versatile white grapes being made into light to full bodied and dry to sweet white wines. It has classic flavours of green fruits and juicy citrus along with nutty and biscuity aromas.
Riesling – the German grape that has found a home in Austria. Unlike most examples of Riesling produced in Germany that are light and crisp, the Rieslings of Austria are traditionally fuller in body and aged in large old oak barrels.
Blaufrankisch – is the leading red grape variety of Austria. It produces wines that are spicy with black fruit flavours. They have soft medium tannins with high acidities – both of which help to make very age-worthy wines.
Niederosterreich – is in the very north of Austria and home to the countries leading white wines of incredibly high-quality. The wines here are mainly Gruner Veltliner but Riesling makes the odd appearance also.
Leading sub-regions are Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal.
Burgenland – is in the far east on the border with Hungary. This is red wine country where the grape of Blaufrankisch dominates plantings. Not only is Burgenland home to Austria’s best red wines – it is also a hub for sweet wines of epic quality.
Leading sub-regions are Neusiedlersee and Neusiedlersee-Hugelland
Climate and its effect on the wines made here
Due to the Alps covering much of the western and southern parts of Austria the winemaking regions are centred in the northeast. The continentally of eastern Austria help to ripen both red and white grape varietals this is helped along by the cooler winds coming off the mountains in the north and south. The whites are light and refreshing with crisp acidities and the reds are medium-full bodied wines with fresh fruit flavours and soft tannins.