Wine Typology of Austrian Wines
In line with The Austrian Wine Festival (Singapore) 2010, let's explore the wine typology of Austrian Wines. The many facets of Austria’s wine landscape are mirrored in the diversity of its wines. For a little more clarity and conciseness, we’ve summarized the diversity into nine wine types: Sparkling Wines – Fizzy & Animating White Wines – Light & Fresh Austrian white wines offer a wide range of tempting flavours for every occasion and every season: Junger Österreicher and Steirischer Junker, as the first heralds of the new vintage, are obvious wine choices in the autumn. A light Grüner Veltliner, like a “Steinfeder” from the Wachau, or a softly spiced Welschriesling from the Steiermark (Styria), are suitable for all occasions. Highly charming are the “Schmeckerte” (“tasty” wines) like Muskateller, Muskat-Ottonel, Müller-Thurgau and Traminer. White Wines – Classical & Dry Classic Austrian white wines show freshness, fine acidity, pronounced elegance and loads of character with a moderately full structure. Their subtle character allows even the finest aromas and flavours in your food to evolve. This clear profile is expressed particularly well by the DAC wines: Districtus Austriae Controllatus describes varietal wines that are typical of their area of origin, such as Grüner Veltliner for the Weinviertel DAC and the Traisental DAC. There are other fruity, stimulating whites, such as fresh Rieslings from the vineyards along the Danube river, or elegant Weißburgunders and Chardonnays from the Burgenland, as well as aromatic “Steirische Klassik” wines, which are produced mainly from Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon (Chardonnay) or Weißburgunder. White Wines - Strong & Full-bodied ]Here come the stars of the Austrian white wine culture: those great wines with ageing potential; outstanding terroir wines that have captured international acclaim. While the range of grape varieties is practically endless, the clear leaders are those wines from single vineyard sites made from Grüner Veltliner and Riesling grapes (for example, “Smaragd” wines from the Wachau, and excellent wines from the area along the Danube river or from the Weinviertel). Very individualistic wines are the robust Zierfandler and Rotgipfler from the Thermenregion, and the complex Weißburgunder and Chardonnay from the Burgenland – for example, from the Leithaberg. This category is rounded off by great wines from single vineyard sites in the Steiermark (Styria) – mainly Sauvignon Blanc and Grauburgunder, but also specialities like Neuburger and Roter Veltliner. And, rediscovered only recently, is the “Gemischter Satz” from Vienna. Rosé Wines – Racy & Fruity Rosé wine is produced in all of Austria’s wine-growing areas and in a variety of styles: charming young wine, like Primus Pannonicus from the Burgenland, or fresh Zweigelt and St. Laurent wines from Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), or the racy Schilcher from the Weststeiermark (West Styria). Red Wines – Elegant & Complete This is thanks to wines with fruity aromas – typical Austrian aromas; wines that are classically styled as well as matured in barriques; wines with depth, yet without too much alcohol; in short, wines that reflect typicity of origin, that are elegant and truly enjoyable to drink. Zweigelt plays a leading role, as it is cultivated in nearly all of Austria’s wine-growing areas. Carnuntum, for example, has made an international name for itself over the past few years with its distinctive, high quality red wines. And in Mittelburgenland, several grape varieties are grown, with Blaufränkisch in particular displaying remarkable independence and individuality. Specialities such as St. Laurent and the sensitive Blauburgunder are increasingly gaining in popularity with consumers as well as wine-growers. Other typical Austrian wines, such as Blauer Portugieser and Blauburger, complete the range of varieties here in Austria. Red Wines – Dense & Intense Full-bodied, dense wines with complexity, depth and a long ageing potential, are being rewarded both nationally and internationally. Strong red wines are in high demand – either as single varietals from single vineyard sites, or as cuvée blends whose moderate barri¬que ageing doesn’t mask the flavour of the wines. Those top quality wines matured in small wooden casks retain their pure, fruity aromas and flavours, and reflect true terroir characteristics. A fact to be especially proud of is that typical Austrian grape varieties, such as Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, have found a firm place alongside the classic Pinot Noir and other international grape varieties, such as the Cabernets. The native varietals are grown and produced mainly in the Burgenland, as well as in Lower Austria (Carnuntum, Thermenregion) and in Vienna. White Wines – Sweet & Strong High quality wines in styles such as Spätlese and Auslese have optimal storage potential. As young wines, they demonstrate finesse with velvety residual sugar and a dynamic balance of fruit and acidity. The perfect climatic conditions in the northern and southern wine-growing areas set the tone for these beautiful creations. Just as varied are the grape varieties from which these wines are produced: aromatic Muskat-Ottonel from the Burgenland; and (Gewürz-) Traminer, as well as Neuburger, Chardonnay and Weißburgunder, from the Steiermark (Styria). Refined variations of the wines feature Grüner Veltliner or Riesling, with both grape varieties cultivated in various wine-growing areas; also, there are Spätlese or Auslese wines produced from the Zierfandler and Rotgipfler varieties growing around Gumpoldskirchen. Noble Sweet Wines Sweet Austrian wines feature the highest levels of Prädikat: Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Strohwein, Schilfwein, Eiswein - with expressive, velvety-fruit aromas and flavours – and the noble, sophisticated Ruster Ausbruch, with its centuries-old tradition. These sweet wines are rare, characterised by their residual sugar sweetness, highly concentrated acidity, and often with the incomparable aromas and flavours of botrytis cinerea. The Burgenland, with its extraordinary microclimate around Lake Neusiedl almost seems as if it was selected especially for the creation of these wines, particularly in the Seewinkel area. But other wine-growing areas produce special vintages of Prädikatswein as well: for example, in Großriedenthal, where grapes used for Eiswein find the best possible growing conditions; or in the area along the Danube river, where Riesling and Grüner Veltliner show richness of finesse. --- This article is part of a special feature on Austrian wine over the period of The Austrian Wine Festival so stay with us if you want to find out more! Discover the best bars and lounges in Singapore Western dishes you should try
Austrian Wine Festival
OpenRice SG Editor
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