Austria’s wines are taking the world by storm
Last week, the renowned US wine platform jamessuckling.com published a list of the top 100 wines of Austria that were tasted in 2021. Five wines were awarded 99 points, including a 2019 Blaufränkisch from Burgenland. This is the highest score that James Suckling has ever given for an Austrian red wine. Fifty wines were awarded 95 points or more, and a Sauvignon Blanc from Steiermark (Styria), also from 2019, also made its debut in the top 10. Overall, 57 of the wines came from Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), 26 from Burgenland, 14 from Steiermark and three from Wien (Vienna).
Recently, the international wine database wine-searcher.com named the world’s best Sauvignons. The top 10 included an incredible five from Austria, all of them from Steiermark. “If it’s top-notch Sauvignon you’re after, then look to the vineyards of Steiermark in Austria,” wine-searcher advised its global readership.
Four Austrian wineries from Niederösterreich and Steiermark also had reason to celebrate, having made it into the top 100 wineries in the world according to the US-American Wine & Spirits Magazine.
Wine Spectator, an equally highly regarded US wine magazine, also took a closer look at the 2019 vintage. In a detailed report, the author Bruce Sanderson tasted over 100 wines with a particular focus on Grüner Veltliner and Riesling from Niederösterreich. Overall, 60 wines scored over 90 points, with the highest score being 95 points (three wines). According to Sanderson, both Grüner Veltliner and Riesling from Austria excelled in 2019, “showing personality and finesse”.
The fact that the world of Austrian wine includes many exciting and unique treasures besides Grüner Veltliner was highlighted by Tamlyn Currin and Julia Harding MW at jancisrobinson.com. For their article “Austrian Diversität”, they tested 46 red and white wines ranging from Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Gelber Muskateller and Roter Muskateller through to Zweigelt, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir. Convinced by the quality of the wines, they are of the opinion that Austria as a wine-growing nation is definitely one “to keep an eye on”.
International acclaim and enthusiasm for Austria’s red wines has been growing for some time now. The world's most famous business magazine, Forbes, recently took a close look at two of Austria's highly prized red wines. In an article about the Neusiedlersee wine-growing region, Per and Britt Karlsson turned their attention towards the region’s flagship variety, Zweigelt. They identified an “excellent acidity”, ensured by the cool nights in the region, as the unmistakeable characteristic of every Neusiedlersee DAC Zweigelt that they tasted.
A week later, also in Forbes, wine writer Jill Barth explored the potential of Austrian Blaufränkisch wines. According to Barth, this late-ripening variety “fits comfortably into the popular chillable reds category that has charmed consumers and diners recently”. The Austrian sommelier Leopold Schneemann also gave six pairing suggestions for Austrian Blaufränkisch, ranging from cheeseboards and charcuterie to burgers and steaks.
An even more detailed report on Blaufränkisch was penned by Aleks Zecevic for the US drinks industry publication Beverage Media. The sterling reputation that this variety enjoyed in the 19th-century Austro-Hungarian Empire was lost for a time in the 1900s. However, according to Zecevic, Austrian Blaufränkisch is making a comeback today with a style that can be described as “medium-bodied, silky and vibrant”. Convinced by the advantages the variety has to offer, even Australian and US-American wineries have started planting Blaufränkisch.
- jamessuckling.com:“Top 100 Wines of Austria 2021”
- wine-searcher.com: “The World’s Best Sauvignon Blancs”
- Wine & Spirits: “Announcing the Top 100 Wineries of 2021”
- Wine Spectator:
- jancisrobinson.com: “Austrian Diversität”
- Beverage Media:“Blaufränkisch’s Global Comeback”