Austria; the land of Mozart, vienna schnitzel, opera, the blue Danube and wine.
That last word may seem a bit out of place, but it is not.
While not on the France, Germany, Italy wine tour route, Austria does produce wine, and some very nice wines at that.
Why then are the Austrian wines a big secret and not a standout on dealer’s shelves?
I really cannot answer that question but perhaps there are few purely Austrian restaurants in which they would serve those wines to allow for familiarization.
Even during the 1960s and 1970s when German wines (mainly Liebfraumilch) were the rage, Austrian wines, which share some similarities, were little known.
My plan is to rectify that now. I have recently found out that I am of Austrian ancestry (there is even a Castle Bodenstein) and I am probably suffering from some form of ancestral ethnocentrism.
The most popular Austrian variety is a white grape called Gruner Veltliner.
This grape produces wines that are similar to the German Riesling but definitely not a carbon copy.
The Gruner Veltliner wines are different because they are mostly dry but are so fruity that they seem to have a bit of sweetness.
If you are anything like me and love sampling new varieties, try a wine from Austria.
I am not going to say that they may become your favorites but I am sure that you will love them and after all, that is the only wine served at Castle Bodenstein.
Joseph Ehmoser 2018 Terrassen ($15).
I put this wine up first because it is a great wine to start off with, as it is both an excellent ambassador for the style but also in the very affordable price range. The aroma accents pepper, apple and citrus that continue on to the finish. This is the common theme of all of the Gruner Veltliner wines but it is the backgrounds flavors and aromas that make the difference. This wine is medium bodied so you know there is plenty of fruit to be found in the finish. I believe that when you sample this wine your wine horizons will be greatly expanded.
Pfaffl Zeisen ($18.99).
If the high school German is still intact, you know the zeizen means time and I do not have the foggiest idea why the wine was so named but, if I may, its zeizen has come. The fruit is a bit more obvious with this Gruner Veltliner, while the peppery element is subdued. All of these flavors are balanced on a very obvious citrus acidity. I found this to be an easy wine to fall in love with as it presents its tributes in a very stylish manner.
Huber Vision ($16.99).
The word vision means the same in German as in English, so if you feel someone or something is staring at you while you are drinking this wine it is probably the big blue eye on the label. Actually the “Vision” that is being referred to is the vintners desire to project all of the natural features of the vineyard. They therefore only use grapes that have been organically grown. The wine from these grapes is light in body but very aromatic. The aroma is floral, however picking out the exact flower aroma is impossible as it is a compendium of many flowers.
Domane Wachau 2016 Achleiten Smaragd ($45.99).
The vineyard for this wine is located in the Wachau Valley along slopes of the Danube River, which by the way, is brown and not blue. It is the water from the famed river that irrigates the vines and imparts to the finished wine a minerality that is both obvious and fascinating. There is a positive acid bite to this wine that seems to be intertwined within the flavor. The flavor seems to be larger than life as it remains on the palate long after the wine has been swallowed. I know that this wine is expensive but the first taste will prove it to be money well spent.