Hand-selected recommendations for exploring another side of Vienna
Friday, May 14, 2010
It's all about the wine
With a history rivaling that of many other major wine-producing countries and dating as far back as 4000 years, one would think that a wine aficionado such as myself would have been more familiar with the various locally grown grapes and wine varieties available in Austria. I must admit however that I was not by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps it was because I had become somewhat of a wine snob over the years, dabbling here and there in Chilean, South African and Australian wines, among others, only to return time and again to my beloved Italian, French and Californian favorites. So when I came to Vienna two weeks ago and was called upon to review a number of Austrian wines, I was tickled pink by the prospect. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the wines I encountered. The following reflects a small sampling: K + K Cuvée 2007 (Mittelburgenland):
I found this combination of Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch grapes to be surprisingly robust, almost excessively so when consumed alone, but when accompanied by some freshly sliced salami and prosciutto, the intense berry undertones are balanced out nicely. Weingut Stift Göttweig Riesling Silberbichl 2009 (Kremstal):
This particular Riesling features just the right balance of dry fruitiness for my taste. With its subtle, crisp undertones, it can be well paired with prawns, shellfish or a light, cream-based pasta dish. Lenz Moser Prestige Beerenauslese 2007 (Burgenland):
With its rich flaxen color, this Prädikatswein has been appropriately labeled as "liquid gold". Although I found it to be a bit too saccharine for my personal preference, those who like sweet wines will find this one to be suitable for enjoying with desserts and cheese courses. Familie Weiss St. Laurent Classic 2009 (Neusiedlersee Burgenland):
Of all the Austrian wines I had the pleasure of tasting, this was by far my overall favorite. Unlike the other St. Laurent varieties I sampled, I found this one to be rich and flavorful on the palate without being overly intrusive. Easily dressed up or down, this wine can be enjoyed by itself as an aperitif or accompanied by an array of antipasti or even a full meal.