Mozart, Snowy Runes, Sacher, Sigmund Freud ... In what place will you put wine when you think about Austria? If you have not had a personal experience, it is unlikely to be in the top ten. Still, in the eastern part of Austria, where the Alps descend to the Pannonian Plain and the Hungarian border, around Vienna and the Danube, wine is an integral part of the country's life and landscape.

 

Little History

Archaeological finds confirm that grapes were viewed in these lands in prehistoric times, but the Roman Empire is the one that makes the wine industry and ramps it to lagoon-bound latitudes. The break-up of the Empire led to the abandonment of this occupation until the emergence of the Tsistrean monks in the Middle Ages, which transmitted the knowledge accumulated in generations in Burgundy. The Austrian winery also flourished during the 16th-century Habsburg dynasty when the areas planted with vines are three times larger than the current ones.

There followed a brief decline in the 17th century due to the siege of the Ottoman Empire, but the Empress Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II again restored wine making by issuing a decree establishing the famous wineries on the outskirts of Vienna which each autumn served wine , poured from the barrels and accompanied by local sausages and cheeses.

In the nineteenth century, the first rot, and then the Phylloxera epidemic in Europe, destroyed much of the plantations in Austria. Some authors believe that this has played a positive role in replacing a large number of poorly-performing varieties.

After the twentieth century wars, Austrian wine was upgraded and modernized to serve the enormous marketplace of neighboring Germany and its tastes at a lower price. This period ended abruptly in the mid-1980s with a spectacular scandal about unregulated and even dangerous health-adding glycol in wine opened by German institutions. This, of course, leads to the collapse of the industry in Austria.

From this lowest point in the modern history of Austrian wine, what restores its reputation is the most rigorous and strict in the world system of regulation adopted by the Austrian government at the time. Ironically? Hardly.

 

National classification

The existing system was based on German by the time of the Second World War but was changed after 1985. Klosterneuberger Mostwaage (KMW) measures the sugar content of grape must, similar to the Öchsle German scale, with 1 gram KMW being approximately 5 grams of Oe. Simply put, measure the maturity of the grapes on the accumulation of sugars, which affects the amount of alcohol for the particular indication. From weak to high maturity:

Tafelwein            - table wine; the fruit may be of more than one region

Landwein             - wine of the country; over 11.5% alcohol; the grapes are from one region

Qualitätswein     - quality wine; originates from a separate region and can be chaptched

Кabinett               - Qualitätswein without capsalization; an alcoholic strength of more than 12.7%

 

Prädikatswein: covers the categories from Spätlese to Eiswein for the sweetness of wine. No additives are allowed.

Spätlese                              - means "late harvest" (dry and semi-dry)

Auslese                                - means "picked harvested", grape harvested grape, hand-picked

Ausbruch                             - late harvest wine is added to heavily raisined grains to make it easier for them to be pressed (very sweet)

Beerenauslese                    - "Selected grains", mainly raisined

Trockenbeerenauslese        - 'Dry berry crop' is the most rare wine of the group made from raisined grapes dried on the vine

Eiswein                               - the grapes freeze on the vine and is picked and pressed while the water is ice (usually at night), which increases the concentration of flavors, flavors and hints

 

Classification of the Wachau Area

"Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus" has three categories, all for dry wines:

 

Steinfeder           - maximum 11,5% alcohol

Federspiel            - from 11.5% to 12.5% ​​alcohol; roughly equivalent to Kabinett

Smarаgd              - at least 12.5% ​​alcohol; these are some of the best dry white in Austria

 

Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC)

Districtus Austriae Controllatus (Latin for a controlled area of ​​Austria) is a newly introduced wine classification in Austria. It has been developed on the basis of the French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system and is combined with the classification of the amount of sugar in the must. Wines with this designation have a red and white excise label to be purchased by the manufacturer to ensure that official quotas are not violated and a traceability system is provided.

DAC regions are created for specific varieties and define the local style profile, as in the French Terror concept. As with the AOC, DACs are only labeled with the regional name, not the varieties, unless more than one variety is allowed. Wines bearing the name of the variety or the harvest year must contain at least 85% of that grape or harvest.

 

Geography and Geology

Within each wine-growing area there is a wide variety of different soils, which helps explain the diversity of Austrian wines. In the Weinviertel valley and the Danube valley, for example, the loess is dominated, while in Krems and Wachau the shallow soils over the main rock are most common. In Termenregion, clay and limestone prevail, and in Vienna, Carinthum and Burgenland soils are varied and difficult to enumerate: shale, clayey layers, marsh, loess, sand. Styria is dominated by brown soil and volcanic soils.

Austrian wine-growing regions are located in a temperate climate zone similar to that of the French region of Burgundy at 47-48 degrees latitude. The summers are usually warm and sunny and autumn can be quite soft with cool evenings. Annual rainfall in the eastern part of the country amounts to 400 millimeters, and in Styria it can reach 800 millimeters and more.

Major climatic influences are the Danube River and Lake Neusiedlersee. River water reflects sunlight and protects vineyards from drastic temperature fluctuations. The coastline of the large 300 square kilometer lake is ideal for Beerenauslesen and Trockenbeeren style - sweet bottled wine. The vast majority of Austrian vineyards are approximately 200 meters above sea level. Exceptions are made in Lower Austria and Styria, where they reach 400 and 600 meters respectively.

Austria has a variety of local grape varieties (most of which are difficult to pronounce). They exhibit typical regional characteristics, thanks to adaptation to the earth and the climate for centuries. Above all, Grüner Veltliner, but also Neuburger or Roter Veltliner (white variety), Zierfandler and Rotgipfler in Thermenregion, where the red varieties Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt, as well as St. Laurent and Blauer Portugieser - each of them is an excellent example of the idea of ​​a terrorist.

 

Major varieties

Grüner Veltliner

This variety represents one third of all vines in the country. If the coat of arms of Austria had a vine, it would have been of the Grnner Veltliner variety. The style ranges from dry wines with low alcohol content (including youngsters served from the barrel) to dense and rich sweet wines with a higher alcohol content. It matures early and has no problems with the physiological maturity of the grains, but needs extraction control.

According to wine expert Tom Stevenson, Grüner Veltliner is often slightly fruity, with a tinge of spices and a distinctive note of white pepper. Well-made wines of good harvests have similarity to Chardonnay produced in Burgundy. The variety can be made in both oak-style and wood-free when it acquires the Riesling minerals.

Riesling

Riesling is a white grape variety coming from the Rhine region. It is an aromatic variety showing colorful, almost perfumed aromas and a characteristic high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-dry, sweet and sparkling white wines, which are usually one-sided and rarely mature in oak. Riesling is a variety that is terribly expressive, which means that the character of the wines is strongly influenced by the place of origin.

The Austrian Riesling is almost always dry, with a characteristic acidity. The Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal and Traisental regions, which have shale soils, also offer plenty of minerals. Riesling can grow and develop very interesting by developing tertiary aromas away from fruit and flowers. Also, in the late harvest or when the noble mold is awaited, Riesling makes rich sweet wines in the styles of Auslese and Beerenauslese.

Zweigelt

Zweigelt is a red variety developed in 1922 at the Federal Institute of Viticulture and Propagation in Klosterneuburg, Austria, by Fritz Zweigelt. It is a cross of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. This is the most common red variety in Austria, with the tendency for plantings to grow further.

Zweigelt grows in favorable locations in all wine regions of the country. It is not very pretentious to the soil, but requires intensive work on regulating yield because of its high fertility. The variety gives light violet-reddish wines with soft tannins. When aged, they get denser tones of cherry, and the best examples are those of small Bordeaux barrels.

Blaufränkisch

Blaufränkisch is the second largest red variety of Austria and is the leader in Südburgenland, Mittelburgenland and Leithaberg. These regions make typical terroir wines. The variety is a cross between the Blauer Zimmettraube and Weißer Heunisch and was first documented in Austria in the 18th century. He rips late and makes guilt with moderate tannins, high acidity and remarkable mineralization. Cherry and red fruits are the dominant scents, but the wines are also known for their spicy character. Blaufränkisch has the versatility of Pinot Noir - made both excellent rosé and red, which can be light and fruity or aged and oak. Due to acidity and tannins there is good aging potential.

Regions of Wine in Austria

Austrian wine producers are mostly located in the eastern part of the country.

The four official wine-growing regions defined by the Austrian Wine Sector Law vary greatly. The largest is Weinland Austria (consisting of Lower Austria and Burgenland). These include Styria or Steirerland, Vienna and Bergland (Upper Austria, Salzburg, Carinthia, Tyrol and Vorarlberg).

Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) is the largest wine region in the country. It includes eight areas: Wachau, Kremstal DAC, Kamptal DAC, Thermenregion, Wagram, Carnuntum, Traisental DAC and Weinvertel DAC.

Gruener Veltliner is the most common variety in the region, but Riesling, Roter Veltliner and other white varieties are also of great importance. Red varieties such as Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch are more popular in the areas closest to Burgenland such as Carnuntum.

 

Wachau

The wide steep terraces of Wachau in Lower Austria on the northern banks of the Danube and an hour west of Vienna are the home of Austria's largest dry white wines. Here the wines of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner are characterized by amazing purity, precision and intensity.

Wahau stretches in the valley of the Danube between the villages of Melk and Krems. Together with Kremstal and Kamptal, the Wachau is one of Austria's most famous wine regions. The climate is affected by the collision of cool and humid air from the forests to the northwest, warmer than the eastern part of the Pannonian Plain. This creates a continental climate with pronounced daily / night temperature amplitudes, and the difference may be dramatic. Along with the moderate influence of the Danube River, the Wachau has a macroclimate that includes constant air and heat circulation, allowing sugars and phenolic compounds to be built during the day, but hearts and aromas are preserved by cooler nights. This is a prerequisite for creating white wines with high concentration and freshness.

Thermenregion is located south of Vienna, and the warm springs that have been known since Roman times give it its name. The right to sell wine from the cellar was first granted to local winemakers in the 13th century. Although the Thermenregion mainly makes white wines from the local varieties Rotgipfler and Zierfandler, it is also known for the Burgundy red wines of Pinot Noir and St. Laurent.

 

Burgenland is located in the far eastern part of Austria, near the border with Hungary and makes about one-third of Austrian wine. He is best known for his red and sweet white wines. There are 4 sub-regions: Mittelburgenland, Sudburgenland, Neusiedlersee-Hugelland (the home of Ausbruch wines) and Neusiedlersee.

Lake Neusiedlersee has an area of ​​300 km² but its deepest point is only two meters away. Such a large, shallow water pool with shallow and warm water makes the arrival of botrytis cinerea (noble mold) in the autumn predictable annual event. Here are bottled and late-harvest sweet wines, which do not yield to the best French.

In Mittelburgenland and Südburgenland about 75% of the production comes from red varieties such as Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. Wines here have body balance, tannins and acidity. Elegant and aromatic dry white, mainly from the Pino family, are also made.

INTERESTING FACT:

In 1778, Thomas Jefferson, the future president of the United States, after trying Spaetlese, was so impressed that he advised his friends in Europe to visit Rheingau to try and blame them for America.

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