Austria Wine Delights Beyond Gruner Veltliner with a Red Wine Revolution

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By Mymi Myriam

Toronto’s Austrian Wine Tasting took place on a lovely warm spring day. Thinking I would be charmed by a panoply of Gruner Veltliners, I entered a very bright and spacious room where the event was taking place and I began looking through the list of producers as well as the wines they were pouring.

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I thought my main challenge would be in deciding which Gruners to try but then I realized that so many reds were also being poured. Good news, since I am a big fan of Zweigelt, but there was one varietal in particular that I was most intrigued by: Blaufrankisch.

The first time I heard about Blaufrankisch, it was described by Andrew Jefford as “an Austrian revolutionary red varietal capable not only of making poised, refined, even aerial reds, but of reflecting region and vineyard site with fidelity, too”.

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Hum, how interesting and I was exactly where I needed to be to explore it thoroughly! The Blaufrankisch I sampled and reviewed are: Prieler’s 2013 Klassik Johanneshohe, their 2013 Reserve and 2012 Reserve Goldberg, Esterhazy’s 2011 Reserve Follig and Zantho’s 2014 Klassik.

Alana Fekete
Alana Fekete

But what of Austria’s famous white, Gruner Veltliner? To my delight, the first table I went to was Laurenz Five where Alana Fekete (AKA Gizella and Zoltan’s daughter) was pouring a selection of 4 of them. Alana’s passion for wine is tangible, she grew up in a wine family where both parents are prominent figures in the industry. As a University student, she joined her father’s wine agency Kylix Wines and even worked the harvest at Peachy Canyon in Paso Robles and at Torbreck in the Barossa Valley.

Alana’s expertize and enthusiasm about Gruner is contagious, when asked how she would describe the varietal to someone who has never tried it, she responds, “it has some of the minerality found in Riesling with the crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc as well as some of the aromatics and white peach characteristics often associated with Pinot Grigio.

When it comes to food, the Gruner grape is extremely versatile. It works wonderfully with seafood, fried food (like schnitzel!) and delicious on its own.” She even confesses that outside of sparkling wine, her white wine of choice this summer will definitely be Gruner!

As I tasted Laurenz V’s 4 Gruners: 2014 “Singing”, 2014 Friendly, 2014 “Charming” and 2012 “Four”, I asked Alana which one is her favorite. She revealed that since they are all quite different, it depends on the occasion and what kind of food she might be having. For example, poolside on a hot summer day she would enjoy the Singing Gruner as it is the most tropical and fruit forward in style. Whereas the Charming Gruner would be her choice with oysters because of its racy acidity and exceptional minerality.

Wow, who knew that Gruner Veltliner had so many delicious facets?

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Well, today I discovered that when it comes to wine, Austria offers an incredible diversity and range of styles. Whether you are looking for a full bodied red, a dry sparkling, a food friendly white or even dessert wine, Austria does it all and does it well! I will definitely be spending more time in the Eastern European wine section! Thank you Advantage Austria for putting this tasting together, and also, Alana gets my vote for Gruner Ambassador! Merci!

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Other wines I sampled and reviewed are Zantho’s 2013 Reserve Zweigelt, Heinrich’s 2014 Dorflagen Pinot Noir, Kurt Angerer’s 2012 Granit Zweigelt, Schweiger’s 2014 Reserve Zobinger Heiligenstein Gruner & 2014 Reserve Zobinger Terrassen Gruner and Szigeti’s 2013 Sekt Brut Gruner & Sekt Blanc de Blancs “Adele”.

 

Mymi

Mymi Myriam
Sommelier & Musician

Mymi is a sommelier, singer-songwriter, musician and voice-over artist with a serious and contagious passion for wine, food and music.

When asked why she is so enthusiastic about wine, she replies, “Wine connects so many elements of life that I absolutely love. From growing herbs and vegetables to cooking, eating, travelling, entertaining, studying. There is always something new to learn in the world of wine. Sharing my knowledge with people, no matter their level of expertise, is something I sincerely enjoy.”

Her qualifications include certifications from The Court of Master Sommeliers, The International Sommelier Guild, The Society of Wine Educators, The Ontario Wine Council and most recently, The French Wine Society. As a professional musician, she shares her knowledge of wine in an entertaining, down-to-earth, and unpretentious way.

She is completing the French Wine Society’s Master Level program, is in the early stages of creating a food/wine/music show is currently recording her first all-French album. Mymi is a regular contributor to NatalieMacLean.com.

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