The Advent season is a time for reflection; among other things, contemplating what presents might bring joy at Christmas, and specifically to whom. Wine from Austria provides the answer – the perfect gift, with which one can easily prove their own excellent taste as well. A wide palette of wine styles from various vintages and grape varieties make for a sumptuous range of choices. In addition, wine will always tell the story of its origins. And if one manages to add a personal story as a connexion to the wine, it then becomes the perfect present.
A wine is a wine?
No; of course not! One can consider wine from many differing perspectives, and enjoy the many facets of its expression. Austria has a total of thirty-six grape varieties permitted for the production of Qualitätswein, and sixteen individual winegrowing regions make the characteristics of their specified origins keenly felt in the wines they produce. One can draw distinctions between ten different styles of wine, ranging from Sekt at its different quality levels, through fruity rosé wines, white and red wines in styles both classic/refreshing and opulent/profound. In addition, there are the Prädikat wines and the ‘alternative’ wines. If one takes a turn at the wheel of time and considers wine from the standpoint of aging and maturity, there is in fact a limitless diversity available. And if the analysis brings paralysis – so far as choosing is concerned – one is sure of receiving sage advice from the wine merchant or even directly from the grower. Regardless of whether one wants to make a present to one’s partner, neighbour or mother, there is always the right wine for the occasion. And if unable to decide, just give two bottles – with this policy, one can never go wrong!
Special occasions, special wines
On those days and evenings when people especially near and dear gather at the table, it’s the time for conviviality and enjoyment. So the wine that one selects can certainly be something exclusive and special. But what, exactly, is special? Perhaps a wine that is available only in small and limited quantities? Either because of the vintage or the size of the bottle; a large-size bottle – Magnum (1.5L), Jeroboam (3L) or Methusalem (6L)– is not only an eye-catching format, but it also allows the wine to mature longer, more evenly and with greater elegance.
Of course one can confidently rely upon the wine ratings of leading publications, and give wines that receive particularly stellar evaluations. This brings joy to the recipient, because these wines have acknowledged value, while at the same time underscoring the generosity of the giver. And it is then especially nice when there is a story to tell about the wine being given. Of course, fine wine always tells its own story, concerning its origins, the signature of the grower and the time & effort invested in its production – so of course it will demand an appropriate price. On the other hand, there could be a personal story to complement the bottle: the wine could evoke memories of shared experience, or might be accompanied by an invitation to travel to one of Austria’s wineproducing regions – or even simply to a pleasurable evening of stimulating conversation. When the culture of the connoisseur extends to the choice of the wine glasses, there is nothing standing in the way of an inspiring experience with a great wine. Because the flavour of a great wine is unforgettable.