small country, gov’t supported wine event

No, I’m not referring to Israel here.  Though I did have the Israeli wine industry in mind when I attended the “Austrian Samples & Swing” event yesterday.  But what else is new…

Set up in conjunction with, and co-hosted by the Austrian Consulate General and the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, this was a very well attended professional event.  Yet it was also quite intimate.  Only 6 importers/distributors were there pouring wines.

I had an appointment to get to so I was not able to stay long.  And I basically stuck to whites, though I did try 2 sparklers & a rose’.

I started at the Prescott Wines table, where I tried 5 Gruner Vetliners (over 1/3 of the country is planted in GV).  I found a pretty nice variation between the wines, which impressed me as many wine regions seem to have many producers making varietally correct but uninspiring and nondescript wines.  The wines showed characters ranging from mineral & flint to citrus & spice.

I enjoyed the 2007 Michlits Gruner that I found to have appealing flinty and stone fruit characteristics with a crisp palate and long finish.

Another wine of note was the 2008 Strauss “Samling”.  I was told that Samlling, the varietal, is a cross between Riesling & Silvaner.  WOW…this wine had a Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry nose to it.  It didn’t have Sauvignon Blanc (or GV) acidity/crispness, but it was an interesting wine.

I then moved on to the Skurnik wine table.  The non-vintage Schloss Gobelsburg Sekt Brut, a blend of Gruner Veltliner with Pinot Noir and Riesling, was interesting as it is a wine that is estate: harvested, riddled & disgorged.  It was a crisp & yeasty with citrus notes and a long finish.

Also of note at the Skurnik table was the 2007 Hiedler GV that was crisp, spicy and even a bit creamy.  And the 2008 Hofer Zweigelt Rose’ which had a pinkish-salmon color, rose pedal aromas and a crisp refreshing palate.

The final table I was able to visit prior to my appointment was the Vin Divino table.  Vin Divino had a nice lineup of affordable wines and my favorite was the light and simple yet refreshing 2007 Wieninger “Genischter Satz” which I was told was a field blend of 13 varietals all fermented together to make this fun, fruity & crisp wine.  And the 2007 Domaine Wachau Gruner Veltliner Federspiel “Terrassen” which had citrus & stone fruit (white peach maybe?) characteristics to go along with its crisp, refreshing & long palate.

In all I will say that while I was not BLOWN AWAY by anything, I was quite impressed.  It seems that the Austrian wine industry has found varietals that work with their soils & climate.  They are introducing their wines, together with the help of the government, at affordable prices.  Together with informative and professionally printed literature, and top notch importers and distributors I am certain that the Austrian wine market is on the upswing.

Happy Austrian Wine Tasting.


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