Last week I was very happy to receive an invitation to an Austrian wine tasting at the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston. Despite its during the workday timing, I really wanted to attend, so I took a half day and yesterday after a crazy morning, was on my way to the tasting.
Hosted by Winebow, the Austrian wine tasting featured over 40 wines from the following winemakers:
Winemakers Rudi Pichler, Fritz Miesbauer and Paul Achs were in attendance to pour and talk about their wines. It was a very nice touch to be able to speak with and listen to the winemakers, like taking a trip to the wineries without leaving town
The tasting room was spacious and set up beautifully with lots of seating, ideal for taking photos and for sitting down to take notes.
Over the course of the afternoon, I was able to taste a variety of Austrian wines, from sparkling to whites and reds. There were some obvious standouts for me.
Beautiful, dry sparkling wines from Szigeti provided the perfect start to my tasting experience. (Note that I did go somewhat out of the order that the tables were in, due to crowds at the beginning. Hopefully this wasn’t too much of a tasting faux pas. . .)
Out of the three Szigeti sparkling wines that I tasted, the Cuvee Prestige was my personal favorite. With a slight sweetness, a pretty intense pop of grape flavor, and delightful bubbles, this wine rivals many of my favorite cavas and proseccos. The next time you are looking for a little bubbly to celebrate, why not look to Austria?
Staying with lighter wines, I also tasted the Wieninger Rosé de Pinot, a lovely pale pink, delicate, slightly fruit wine with a smooth finish.
Isn’t it pretty?
Many of the white wines available were Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Luckily for me, though I do not drink white wine that often, these are two of my favorites. I enjoyed the Fred Loimer Lois, which I have tasted before. With a fresh taste of apples, this Grüner Veltliner is very easy to drink and would be an excellent introduction to Austrian wine.
My favorite table of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling was most definitely the Stadt Krems table. I tasted all of the wines (and at this point felt a lot less awkward spitting!) The winemaker walked me through his wines, explaining the growing regions of the wine and the reason for the fruitiness and minerality of the wines. I especially enjoyed the 2008 Riesling Kögl and the 2008 Grüner Veltliner Wachtberg, but I would recommend any of the wines at the table, especially for spring and summer consumption. Each of these wines offered something different, but they were all very fresh with a lot of fruit and absolutely perfect for a hot summer’s day barbeque.
Not surprisingly, I enjoyed many of the reds that were poured at the event. I became a fan of Blaufränkisch last summer at Newport Vineyards and tried it again several times in Prague.
My two favorite reds of the day were the Paul Achs Blaufränkisch Edelgrund and the 2006 Heinrich St. Laurent. The St. Laurent was outstanding starting with a nose of dark berries all the way to a full finish. Its possible that I did not spit this taste out, and I may have gone back for another tiny sip. . .
After all of this, there was a table of eau de vie from Gölles . I only tasted the poire which had an intense pear flavored punch, and a warming effect on the mouth. A tiny bit of this would go a very long way, but I could most definitely see this eau de vie as a nice apres ski drink.
As you all know from my Vienna post, I love Austria. I also love learning about lesser known wine regions, and I am grateful to have had the chance to attend this event today.
If you get the chance to try Austrian wine, you should jump at it. There is an entire world of wine out there waiting to be discovered by us US wine drinkers!
Have you ever tried wine from a less commonly known wine region? Let me know your favorites!