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Dry Rieslings – Seven of the Ten Best from Austria!

It may be a legend that Austria is the home of the Riesling grape, but the quality of the country’s modern Rieslings is beyond doubt. On the occasion of the VieVinum wine fair held in Vienna in June 2004, the Swedish wine dealer Jan-Erik Paulson once more held an international blind tasting for a select panel of experts. “The Best Dry Rieslings from Around the World from the Vintages 2001 and 2002” was the theme of the tasting at the Korso restaurant at the Hotel Bristol.

This picture shows grapes of Riesling
© Austrian Wine / Oberleithner

Great names from Austria, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Slovakia were nominated for the tasting. To insure an impartial and internationally respected result, the 47 wines were tasted by international wine journalists from 19 countries. German and Austrian top growths competed for first prize in a fascinating head-to-head race, and in the end, only 1.5 points separated the first ten wines.

Seven of the ten highest-scoring wines came from Austria. While two German wines could decide the first two places for themselves by a hair’s breadth, Austria’s top Rieslings followed close behind. The remainder of the field was packed equally densely, but was dominated throughout by the “old world”, by European Rieslings. The first Alsatian wines appeared on places 16 and 19. The best wine from the New World made place 27.

Much like the legendary Korso tasting of 2002, which pitched international Chardonnays against Austrian Grüner Veltliner, with the latter sweeping all top places and dominating the field, this year’s Korso tasting shows once again that Austria has secured a top place among the world’s great wines. Different terroirs and microclimates allow a variety of Riesling styles to develop in the country, while one common denominator is always present: an immense aromatic depth and minerality, which will continue to win Austria’s Rieslings admirers among the worlds most discerning connoisseurs, and a place among the world’s greatest wines.


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