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Aug 4, 2018

Austria Overview:

  • Same latitude as Burgundy – more continental, less Atlantic influence in climate
  • Soils: Range of soils
  • Lots of different grapes
    • Whites: Grüner, Riesling
    • Top reds: Blauer zweigelt with St. Laurent, Blaufränkisch, Pinot Noir
  • Great value for $ -- not a lot of mass brands=

Austria reds -- growing region overview

  1. Pannonian Area – southeast of Vienna
  2. Warmer climate
    1. Burgenland: in eastern Austria, south of Vienna and along the border with Hungary
    2. 14 red wine grape varieties for production of quality wine – 1/3 of Austrian vineyard

The Grapes:


  • Origins: Crossing between Blauer Zimmettraube x Gouais Blanc (Weißer Heunisch)
  • Often confused with Gamay
  • In the vineyard: Vigorous, early budding, late ripening, needs warm climate. Can be inky with no flavor if over-cropped but laws keep yields down
  • 6% of total vineyard
  • Flavors: Brambly berry or cherry, fresh acidity with some tannin. Spiciness and depth, with good acidity
  • Key Areas
  • Burgenland:
    1. Center of red wine culture in Austria
    2. Südburgenland:majority are hobby winemakers, or supplement their income with another job or profession, wines sold in Buschenschank (local taverns)
    3. Eisenberg DACis fantastic for lighter style Blaufränkisch with mineral notes
    4. Leithaberg DAC–cooler sites away from lake. Often blends of Blaufränkisch with up to 15% Zweigelt, St. Laurent. Fuller bodied with mineral notes.
    5. Neusiedlersee: Near Lake Neusiedl. Styles range from unoaked and fruity to oak aged and big, can be blended
  • Niederösterreich, Carnuntum:
    1. Aromatic, dark berry notes, peppery spice, licorice and tar with bright freshness
    2. Vineyards in three principal hilltops south of the Danube
    3. Hot summers and cold winters, an influence that in combination with the moderating effects of the nearby Danube and (Lake Neusiedl) ripen grapes


St. Laurent

  • Origin: From Niederösterreich. Name probably refers to St. Lawrence whose Saint’s day falls on 10 August, when variety veraison begins.
  • In the vineyard: mid-ripening, needs deep soils or irritgation or at risk from late frosts, can develop rot in the fall – very finicky. Low/erratic yields. Can be delicious, ripens earlier than Pinot Noir, can grow on more diverse sites than Pinot – better grape for growers
  • Flavors: Aromatic, velvety/silky, good color, good tannin with sour or dark cherry, blackberry, smoke and black pepper spice. Like a powerful Pinot
  • Key Areas:
    • Mostly SE of Vienna in Burgenland’s Neusiedlersee
    • Thermenregion: Name from thermal, sulphuric water springs. Cistercian monks revitalised viticulture during the Middle Ages
    • West of Vienna in Weinvertel – large region



  • Origin: 1922 at the Teaching and Research Centre for Viticulture and Horticulture (LFZ) in Klosterneuburg. Cross of Blaufränkisch x St. Laurent. Grandchild of Gouais Blanc and Pinot (like Burgundy)
  • Most widespread red in Austria, in all wine-producing regions
  • In the vineyard: Early budding, earlier ripening than Blaufrankisch, yields are high, have to manage vigor. Demands little from the soil
  • Flavors: Spiced cherry and raspberry withexotic spice, floral notes, and cinnamon.Can be early-drinking with no oak OR stronger wines from barrel aging
    • Can be blended -- with Cabernet and Merlot or with Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent
    • Can be like Beaujolais. Style depends on yield and vinification: bigger yields, simple; low yields -- full-bodied, can age
  • Key Areas:
    • Mostly Niederosterreich -- Kamptal is very good, marketed under the designation of "Niederösterreich".
    • In Weinviertel north of Vienna
    • Best wines from Neusiedlersee, Burgenland: reflects the region's climate and soil

Pinot Noir

  • One to watch. Can range – light and boring to more layered examples


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