This was a fantastic vintage for Austria, one that celebrates the crystalline beauty and the nation’s contrasting styles of dry, fuller-bodied Riesling and creamy Grüner Veltliner.
Learn more about 2011 Austria
A fantastic vintage for Austria, that celebrates the crystalline beauty and contrasting styles of Riesling, with its the fuller bodied Austrian dry style, alongside of course that of Austria’s creamy Grüner Veltliner.
We’re also recommending three red wines: Austria’s Zweigelt, courtesy of Josef Ehmoser, rings with crunchy black cherries (ala Dolcetto) while Roland Velich at Moric brings us noble Blaufränkisch from the Mittelburgenland, with Uwe Schiefer offering us his velvety, Central Otago-esque interpretation from Südburgenland. Germany’s new ‘wunderkind’, Pinot Noir, is recommended this year, as grown in Baden and Franconia by Herrs Becher, Heger, and Fürst.
‘Gott sei Dank, dass im Juli schlechtes Wetter war!’ ('Thank God, that in July the weather was bad!')
So pronounced one of our Austrian Winzer – rare to hear a farmer welcome bad weather. The Austrian marketing board weighed in with a rather more prosaic and measured verdict, ‘Good wine, good quantities’, forgetting that much of the press mistakenly associate low yields with quality. The truth is that without that bad June, it would have inevitably been a very early harvest eschewing the long hang time, which is widely credited with being a criterion of complexity in the Wachau.
High temperatures in August brought the risk of grilled grapes, but fortunately the Wachau is equipped with drip irrigation systems which can mitigate such potential damage. The Indian summer in early September caused rapidly rising sugar levels and presented problems for the production of the lighter categories of Steinfeder and Federspiel. There is no evidence, however, that this tendency was exacerbated as the autumn wore on; indeed F-X Pichler, the latest of pickers, has Smaragd wines at between 13.5 and 14.5% - I have known them a comfortable degree over that. 2011 has not produced fat wines like 2006; there was virtually no botrytis and no flattening out of terroir characteristics - quite the opposite - even if analytical acidity levels are in stark contrast to those high ones of 2010.
These taste for the most part well balanced wines, and were I to take on the odious responsibility of comparison, I would point to the filigree quality of 2005, but with greater structure and concentration. The Rieslings, it seems to me, dominate the Grüners for power of expression, with some wines displaying extraordinary poise and beauty.
Roy Richards - Associate Agency Director