Saturday, July 06, 2024

Austrian Wine Tasting

Vienna, Austria. Sunday 07-July-2024.

Every day's a school day! Basically we knew nothing about Austrian wines so we booked a tour with Wine and City and were picked up by our guide Stefan. Around 30 minutes north of Vienna we visited three different vineyards, tasting three whites and a red at each stop, the last one including supper. We were a small group of six: us two, a couple from New Jersey and an Argentinian/Spanish couple.

First venue: Wiengut Hoermayer. []. 

Our host at Hoermayer was Roman, the winemaker himself, who filled us in on the background to Austrian wines, this vineyard and his wines. It is small winery of 6 hectares producing 30 thousand bottles a year. 

He explained that the soil is loess and similar to the soils found in Burgundy. Red grapes (predominantly Zwiegelt in this area) are grown on the slopes and Grüner Veltliner in the valleys where they receive more water. Zweigelt is an Austrian hybrid grape variety created in 1922 by Friedrich Zweigelt and is a cross between the St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch grape varieties. He explained that the appellation DAC [Districtus Austriae Controllatus] not only defines the grape but also the style in which the wine is made. It means that the wine displays the unmistakeable characteristics of that wine-growing appellation region. A bottle labelled Grüner Veltliner, for example, from elsewhere will not necessarily taste the same as his. 

  • Weinviertel DAC Grüner Veltliner Ried Fürstenberg 2023 13,0% ABV 
    Fresh and tasty, ideal as an aperitif wine.
  • Gemischter Satz Ried Fürstenberg 2023 13,0% ABV
    This is a way of winemaking also found in Puglia where a mix of varietals are grown together in the vineyards, then harvested and vinified all together. This was a mixture of sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, pinot blanc, chardonnay and grüner veltliner!
    A bit more flavour but still fresh.
  • Weissburgunder Ried Fürstenberg 2023 13,0% ABV
    Fermented in old oak. It is pinot blanc, loved by wine experts but does not sell so well in Austria. 
    More body and flavour than the first two. Would go better with food.
  • Zweigelt Grosse Reserve Reid Neustift 2021 14,5% ABV
    Ferment is 50% new oak and 50% old oak barrels. Spends one year in barrique.

Second venue: Laimer [Weinbau Laimer] is a three generation, family-run winery, again a small 6 hectare estate. We went down into their cellar for the tasting and nibbles.

As before, we tasted three whites and one red.

  • Grüner Veltliner Again a fresh and tasty aperitif style wine.
  • Gemischter Satz Another mixed grape wine: grüner veltliner, pinot blanc, riesling and yellow muscatel.
  • Yellow Muscatel Dry, more body, tasty.
  • Zweigelt 12%. Six months maturation in barrel. We liked this red and bought a bottle to have at home. Eating out in a restaurant every night for five weeks would not be good for the waistline. As we are staying in people's homes we have the facilities to cook in every so often.

Third venue: Paul. [Weingut Paul]. This was a tasting and meal combined. No tasting notes as we were too busy chatting and eating!

  • Chardonnay 2023.
  • Grüner Veltliner 2023
  • Sauvignon blanc 2023
  • Zweigelt 2021

First course was assorted meats with a mustard sauce accompanied by a delicious parsley potato dish and saurkraut.

Pudding was a selection of cream filled pastries.

After that it was back into Vienna. Stefan very kindly dropped us off very close to our apartment. As it was still relatively early we went for a beer at nearby Balkan bar, Juzni Vetar, to round off the evening.

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