Austria, WINE

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Austria's is another of those wonderful stories of wine redemption. In the 21st century, the country has fully emerged from the controversies and underachieving quality that plagued its reputation for the latter half of the 20th century. Austrian winemakers have once again found their groove, working with native varietals and strict adherence to quality standards. Wine production in Austria is concetrated mostly in the east of the country, where the Alps prevent any Mediterranean influence. Instead, the region is dominated by a continental climate and heavily influenced by the wide, meandering Danube river, the shallow Neusiedl lake, and the vast, warm Pannonian Plain to the east. The state of Niederösterreich is the overall epicenter of Austrian wine, and this is the most common regional designation found on basic bottlings.

The signature grape is indisputably the aromatic, peppery, zesty Grüner Veltliner, but Riesling also finds a special expression in many of Austria's more specific white wine micro-climates and terroir. Wachau is perhaps Austria's most famous region although it doesn't bear an offical DAC designation. Its steep, sun-drenched terraces above the Danube (similar to those of Germany's Mosel) are known for their citrusy, peppery, ageworthy Grüners and rich, steely Rieslings. The local quality spectrum divides wines into three categories according to ripeness and alcohol content: Steinfeder, Federspiel, and the heady, dense, otherworldly Smaragd. A bit further down the Danube is the prestigious DAC of Kremstal. The climate here is a bit warmer than Wachau, exposed as it is to the warm dry winds of the Pannonian Plain. The corresponding wine styles typically display fuller richness than Wachau, along with more tropical fruit notes in the whites, while the red Zweigelt is able to gain a foothold here, too.

Next up is Kamptal, another small wine commune on a tributary of the Danube and revered the world over for its intensely rich, spicy Grüner Veltliners and bone-dry, smoky Rieslings. The steeper terraces are well-suited to Riesling, while Grüner thrives on the lower slopes in the deeper clay and loess soils. Much like its neighbors, Kamptal is heavily influenced by the river and the plain, as well as the cool winds from the Alps. As the course of the Danube flattens, it reaches the Wagram, where the vineyards are concentrated in on a broad plain and plateau of uniformly deep loess soils — prime Grüner country, where the wines are rich, densely packed flavor bombs with a characteristically full, creamy texture.

Southeast of Vienna, the areas around the Neusiedl Lake are markedly different than those along the Danube. Burgenland, as it's known, runs south from the Danube to Steiermark along the Hungarian border and has more in common, climatically speaking, with Hungary than with the rest of Austria. The lake itself is the defining influence here, storing heat and lengthening the ripening season. The region produces Austria's finest red wines from Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, and Sankt Laurent varietals. The lake's attendant humidity is also a major factor in developing botrytis cinerea, a necessary ingredient in producing world-class sweet wines, the best of which rival those of Sauternes and Tokaj.

There is no shortage of great viticultural potential in Austria, and as the years pass by, we are likely only scratching the surface of what's possible here. The future looks bright indeed.

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94 points Wine Enthusiast: An earthy dimension still clings to the zesty notes on the nose but on the palate a whole load of citrus flavors are expressed without strain: For now, lemon and the tangy zest of tangerine carry everything on this slender but concentrated wine to a glorious, totally… ...
WE 94
V 93
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Brundlmayer Riesling Kamptal Zobinger Heiligenstein 2015  (#329667)

Riesling from Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 94 points Wine Enthusiast: An earthy dimension still clings to the zesty notes on the nose but on the palate a whole load of citrus flavors are expressed without strain: For now, lemon and the tangy zest of tangerine carry everything on this slender but concentrated wine to a glorious, totally refreshing finish. This is the glory of youth but with such purity and bundled energy this has a long, promising and decidedly delicious future. Drink 2016-2036. (Sep 2016) ] 94 points Wine Enthusiast: An earthy dimension still clings to the zesty notes on the nose but on the palate a whole load of citrus flavors are expressed without strain: For now, lemon and the tangy zest of tangerine carry everything on this slender…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
$29.95
$40.00
Save $10.05 (25%)40.00
Save $10.05 (25%)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: Yeasty savor and saltiness mingle with yellow pear scents on the nose of this wine. The palate adds juicy, ripe yellow plum to the mix, expanding its flavor to full-on fruitiness, with a baseline of zest and saltiness. It's generously packed, with a clean, dry and lasting… ...
WE 91
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Laurenz V. Gruner Veltliner Kamptal Charming Reserve 2015  (#701979)

Other White Wines from Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 91 points Wine Enthusiast: Yeasty savor and saltiness mingle with yellow pear scents on the nose of this wine. The palate adds juicy, ripe yellow plum to the mix, expanding its flavor to full-on fruitiness, with a baseline of zest and saltiness. It's generously packed, with a clean, dry and lasting finish. Alcohol 13%. (Jul 2017) ] 91 points Wine Enthusiast: Yeasty savor and saltiness mingle with yellow pear scents on the nose of this wine. The palate adds juicy, ripe yellow plum to the mix, expanding its flavor to full-on fruitiness, with a baseline of zest and saltiness. It's…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$19.95
$30.00
Save $10.05 (34%)30.00
Save $10.05 (34%)
Der Pollerhof is made from several vineyards in Roschitz, in the region of Niederösterreich. It is hand harvested and is fermented in steel tanks. This wine has notes of tropical fruit, ripe apples, white pepper, minerals and citrus fruit. Good body, balanced and sappy through the finish. Great… ...
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Der Pollerhof Gruner Veltliner Niederosterreich 2017  (#332672)

Grüner Veltliner from Weinviertel, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ Der Pollerhof is made from several vineyards in Roschitz, in the region of Niederösterreich. It is hand harvested and is fermented in steel tanks. This wine has notes of tropical fruit, ripe apples, white pepper, minerals and citrus fruit. Good body, balanced and sappy through the finish. Great value! ] Der Pollerhof is made from several vineyards in Roschitz, in the region of Niederösterreich. It is hand harvested and is fermented in steel tanks. This wine has notes of tropical fruit, ripe apples, white pepper, minerals and citrus fruit. Good body,…

1L Magnum | In stock, 12+ available
100% Furmint. Pale gold. This Furmint shows all characteristics of the historical, indigenous grape-variety: Fresh aromas of apples, fully ripened quinces with a hint of lemon flavors. The palate is succulent, finishing refreshingly crisp with mineral-expression. The fermentation was carried out in… ...
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Wenzel Furmint Burgenland 2015  (#327859)

Other White Wines from Neusiedlersee, Burgenland, Austria

[ 100% Furmint. Pale gold. This Furmint shows all characteristics of the historical, indigenous grape-variety: Fresh aromas of apples, fully ripened quinces with a hint of lemon flavors. The palate is succulent, finishing refreshingly crisp with mineral-expression. The fermentation was carried out in stainless steel tanks. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation and the wine remained in contact with the fine yeast lees prior to bottling. ] 100% Furmint. Pale gold. This Furmint shows all characteristics of the historical, indigenous grape-variety: Fresh aromas of apples, fully ripened quinces with a hint of lemon flavors. The palate is succulent, finishing refreshingly crisp with…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
$16.88
$29.50
Save $12.62 (43%)29.50
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A fresh, elegant and harmonious Grüner Veltliner with a soft, fruity aroma and tones of black pepper. Fresh and spicy taste with a delicate fruity finish. ...
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Hogl Gruner Veltliner Federspiel J&G 2016  (#331392)

Grüner Veltliner from Wachau, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ A fresh, elegant and harmonious Grüner Veltliner with a soft, fruity aroma and tones of black pepper. Fresh and spicy taste with a delicate fruity finish. ] A fresh, elegant and harmonious Grüner Veltliner with a soft, fruity aroma and tones of black pepper. Fresh and spicy taste with a delicate fruity finish.

750ml Bottle | In stock, 5 available
$18.95
$23.25
Save $4.30 (18%)23.25
Save $4.30 (18%)
93-94 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): Last tasted from cask in June 2016, this combines ripe white peach, fresh lime and floral perfume with coolingly pungent mint and oregano. Polished in feel and infectiously juicy, it introduces a welter of shimmering, ineffable mineral nuances - saline,… ...
V 93-94
WA 93
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Nigl Riesling Kremstal Hochacker 2015  (#327576)

Riesling from Kremstal, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 93-94 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): Last tasted from cask in June 2016, this combines ripe white peach, fresh lime and floral perfume with coolingly pungent mint and oregano. Polished in feel and infectiously juicy, it introduces a welter of shimmering, ineffable mineral nuances - saline, stony, crystalline, peppery - in its undulating, multilayered, mouthwatering, finely focused finish. Drink: 2017-2028. (Feb 2017) ] 93-94 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): Last tasted from cask in June 2016, this combines ripe white peach, fresh lime and floral perfume with coolingly pungent mint and oregano. Polished in feel and infectiously juicy, it introduces a welter of…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
$41.88
$60.00
Save $18.12 (30%)60.00
Save $18.12 (30%)
98 points and 'Top 100 Wines of 2017,' James Suckling: A stunning high-end dry riesling that's still quite shy on the nose, but really concentrated and very finely-nuanced on the palate. Devastatingly beautiful peachy fruit, some honeysuckle and enormous depth at the long, graceful finish. This will… ...
JS 98
WA 94
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Prager Riesling Smaragd Wachau Achleiten 2016  (#330943)

Riesling from Wachau, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 98 points and 'Top 100 Wines of 2017,' James Suckling: A stunning high-end dry riesling that's still quite shy on the nose, but really concentrated and very finely-nuanced on the palate. Devastatingly beautiful peachy fruit, some honeysuckle and enormous depth at the long, graceful finish. This will age well if you can resist it now. (10/1/17) ] 98 points and 'Top 100 Wines of 2017,' James Suckling: A stunning high-end dry riesling that's still quite shy on the nose, but really concentrated and very finely-nuanced on the palate. Devastatingly beautiful peachy fruit, some honeysuckle and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
$44.95
$60.00
Save $15.05 (25%)60.00
Save $15.05 (25%)
92-93 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate: ...very clear, precise, fresh and smoky on the nose, indicating crystalline aromas of white and concentrated white stone and fresh citrus fruits intermixed with crushed stone flavors. Round, lush, pure and piquant on the palate, this is a full-bodied,… ...
WA 92-93
JS 90
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Hiedler/Ludwig Riesling Kamptal Gaisberg Reserve 2016  (#330417)

Riesling from Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 92-93 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate: ...very clear, precise, fresh and smoky on the nose, indicating crystalline aromas of white and concentrated white stone and fresh citrus fruits intermixed with crushed stone flavors. Round, lush, pure and piquant on the palate, this is a full-bodied, gorgeously juicy, finessed and elegant Gaisberg with complexity, good concentration, fine tannins, tension and lingering salinity. Tasted as a sample in July 2017. Drink 2022-2032. (Aug 2017) ] 92-93 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate: ...very clear, precise, fresh and smoky on the nose, indicating crystalline aromas of white and concentrated white stone and fresh citrus fruits intermixed with crushed stone flavors. Round, lush, pure…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$28.88
$42.00
Save $13.12 (31%)42.00
Save $13.12 (31%)
92 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2015 Riesling Smaragd Wösendorfer Hochrain displays a smoky and stony bouquet. On the palate, this is a just-ripe and tightly woven Riesling with power, salt and tension. Very stimulating its grip. Drink: 2020-2030. (Jun 2016) ...
WA 92
V 92
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Pichler/Rudi Riesling Wachau Smaragd Hochrain 2015  (#328161)

Riesling from Wachau, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 92 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2015 Riesling Smaragd Wösendorfer Hochrain displays a smoky and stony bouquet. On the palate, this is a just-ripe and tightly woven Riesling with power, salt and tension. Very stimulating its grip. Drink: 2020-2030. (Jun 2016) ] 92 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): The 2015 Riesling Smaragd Wösendorfer Hochrain displays a smoky and stony bouquet. On the palate, this is a just-ripe and tightly woven Riesling with power, salt and tension. Very stimulating its grip.…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$46.88
$70.00
Save $23.12 (33%)70.00
Save $23.12 (33%)
91-92 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): ...exhibits a striking combination of bright, active, tart citricity and gooseberry crunch with smoky, stony underpinnings. Formidably energetic and persistent, it comes off as a bit more primary and reminiscent of a 'normal' handling of Riesling fruit...… ...
V 91-92
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Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Niederosterreich Tradition 2013  (#330946)

Riesling from Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 91-92 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): ...exhibits a striking combination of bright, active, tart citricity and gooseberry crunch with smoky, stony underpinnings. Formidably energetic and persistent, it comes off as a bit more primary and reminiscent of a 'normal' handling of Riesling fruit... There is obviously tremendous potential here but enough youthful jumpiness, severity and austerity to suggest that one wait a few years before taking the second peek. Drink: 2018-2025. (Nov 2015) ] 91-92 points David Schildknecht (Vinous): ...exhibits a striking combination of bright, active, tart citricity and gooseberry crunch with smoky, stony underpinnings. Formidably energetic and persistent, it comes off as a bit more primary and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
91 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): Knoll's 2016 Steiner Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Kabinett (from the Kremstal but marketed as wine from Lower Austria: Niederösterreich) is pretty reductive on the nose and offers bright fruit and floral as well as flinty aromas. Pure, dry and crisp on the… ...
WA 91
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Knoll/Emmerich Riesling Kabinett Steiner Ried Pfaffenberg 2016  (#332325)

Riesling from Wachau, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 91 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): Knoll's 2016 Steiner Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Kabinett (from the Kremstal but marketed as wine from Lower Austria: Niederösterreich) is pretty reductive on the nose and offers bright fruit and floral as well as flinty aromas. Pure, dry and crisp on the palate, this is a firmly structured and well-concentrated Riesling at 12.5% alcohol though it needs some years to get rid of the sulfuric notes. Drink: 2022-2032. (Aug 2017) ] 91 points Stephan Reinhardt (Wine Advocate): Knoll's 2016 Steiner Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Kabinett (from the Kremstal but marketed as wine from Lower Austria: Niederösterreich) is pretty reductive on the nose and offers bright fruit and floral as…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
93 points Wine Enthusiast: Soft hints of orange zest on the nose give way to joyous, bright and sprightly lemon zest notes on the slender but concentrated palate. Lustrous citrus is expressed with great purity and drive. Freshness and verve is all. What a joy. You feel purified after drinking it.… ...
WE 93
V 90
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Brundlmayer Riesling Kamptaler Terrassen 2015  (#327577)

Riesling from Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Austria

[ 93 points Wine Enthusiast: Soft hints of orange zest on the nose give way to joyous, bright and sprightly lemon zest notes on the slender but concentrated palate. Lustrous citrus is expressed with great purity and drive. Freshness and verve is all. What a joy. You feel purified after drinking it. Drink 2016-2026 at least. (Sep 2016) ] 93 points Wine Enthusiast: Soft hints of orange zest on the nose give way to joyous, bright and sprightly lemon zest notes on the slender but concentrated palate. Lustrous citrus is expressed with great purity and drive. Freshness and verve is all.…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 9 available
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