Le Dû's Grand Crew August '19: "Austria"

Posted by Connor Smith on

August 2019 Austria

Much like the history of Austria itself, Austrian wine often gets overlooked in the popular imagination compared to the central role it has always played. Going back centuries, Austrian nurseries have been a source for high-quality material of hundreds of grape varieties. In addition to the French varieties that were imported to Vienna and disseminated throughout Central Europe, the noble varieties indigenous to the lands of the Habsburg Empire, such as Blaufrankisch, Sankt Laurent, and Gruner Veltliner, were catalogued and preserved. A large proportion of the top-quality vine material in the US can trace its genetic lineage to Vienna.

Winemaking in Austria is clustered in four regions: along the Danube river upstream of Vienna, in the southern hills of Steiermark, in the low eastern plains of the Burgenland on the shores of the shallow Neusiedlersee, and most uniquely, within the city limits of Vienna itself.

This month, we shine a spotlight on 3 classic styles of Austrian wine.

Gruner  Veltliner has become internationally famous as an easy quaffer, but it's a mistake to think of it as a simple grape! The steep slopes of the tiny Wachau produce a style called Smaragd that produces lush and textured wines of great complexity.

Blaufrankisch and Sankt Laurent are the two most traditional red grapes of the country, and the efforts of Rosi Schuster’s estate in the Burgenland near the Hungarian border over the last 40 years have brought them great acclaim.  

Hotshot Jutta Ambrositsch sources from a few small parcels just outside the Vienna city center to make Gemischter Satz, the singular urban field blend of grapes harvested the same day and co-fermented together.

Much like the history of Austria itself, Austrian wine often gets overlooked in the popular imagination compared to the central role it has always played. Going back centuries, Austrian nurseries have been a source for high-quality material of hundreds of grape varieties. In addition to the French varieties that were imported to Vienna and disseminated throughout Central Europe, the noble varieties indigenous to the lands of the Habsburg Empire, such as Blaufrankisch, Sankt Laurent, and Gruner Veltliner, were catalogued and preserved. A large proportion of the top-quality vine material in the US can trace its genetic lineage to Vienna.

We’re sure you’ll agree: Austria’s seat at the table of the great European wine countries is as secure as ever!


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