I happened to be in London earlier this week for a meeting and was really pleased to see that there were a couple of tastings that really floated my boat on at the same time. One of those was the Annual Austrian Wine Tasting. It was great, well organised, a nice venue but I just don’t feel like I was able to do it justice. I has a number of things I wanted to do, I wanted to check out some wines from a few highly rated growers, I wanted to taste across a number of regions to remind myself of their stylistic differences and I wanted to taste some interesting wines that were not readily available in the UK.
I sort of managed all three but to be honest the tasting was so big that I hardly scratched the surface. There were 26 wineries there all looking for representation and I managed to taste with just one – but it was a good one. Why choose this one? Purely on the labels on the table I’m afraid.
Austrian wine is still (and always will be) quite niche in the UK, but that means there are plenty of great wines not yet over here or yet discovered so pretty much any importer looking for good wines can easily go and find something new that is worthwhile bringing over. There are a few importers who do a magnificent job of bringing some of the best, Fields Morris and Verdin and particularly Clarke Foyster have mouthwatering ranges of some of the very best producers.
I first really came to understand something of the Austrian wine scene when I visited the Northern winelands (technically ‘Lower Austria’) on a whirlwind three day trip that took in Wien, Burgenland, Nieusiedlersee, Kamptal, Kremstal and the Wachau and also included tutored tastings covering Styria and Wienviertal DAC. Since then I’ve bought decent, well priced Austrian wines when I get the opportunity to, Waitrose do a pretty good job for everyday drinking.
Weinbau Alexander Koppitsch
A relative newcomer from Burgenland home to some of Austria’s finest red wines Alex is the winemaker here while from spending a few minutes talking with him and partner Maria it is clear she is the natural sales and marketing manager. The wines here are produced in a natural way with the grapes being grown biodynamically with minimum intervention. I tasted immediately after finishing tasting from wineries such as Pitnauer and Moric so to stand up to those was going to be something of a test. The thing that really stood out for me here was the exquisite freshness and purity of fruit – this was wine that tasted of fresh berries and could only translate their variety and place to the glass. I was pleased to see that others at the tasting were also giving these wines the thumbs up and it sounded as if a number of people were interested in importing them so I hope we’ll see them over here soon.
Klassik Gruner Veltliner 2014
Full bodied Gruner that is weighty and concentrated. Lovely length and purity this is stylish and elegant. 90
Klassik Weissburgunder 2013 (Pinot Blanc)
Elegant but manages to be relatively characterful with poise and focus. Mineral and ripe peach and citrus notes. 90
Reserve(?) Gruner Veltliner 2013
Fragrant, textured and complex with lots of concentration. It managed to marry lovely elegance with that body and has plenty to offer. 90
Klassik Balufrankisch 2013
Fresh cherry and really pure and precise. Lots of redcurrant and strawberry fruit. Relatively simple the fruit is really right to the fore. Deliciously drinkable. 88
Klassik Zweigelt 2013
Leafy mineral with plump red berry fruit, I have to admit to not normally liking Zweigelt – (maybe my tastes are changing but I found several here that I liked) There is again lovely purity and focus with slightly tart acidity that works really well freshening the palate. Good length. 91
Klassik ‘No. 4’ Cuvee 2013
A blend of Zweigelt (60%), Blaufrankisch (20%). St. Laurent (20%) and Syrah (5%). Bright elegant with lots and lots of berry fruits, it’s almost like a wine made from summer pudding. Sweet fruited stylish and complex it’s pure and long. 91
Klassik Pinot Noir 2013
Lovely fresh berry fruit, very clear Pinot character this is sweet fruited and fragrantly perfumed with some savoury and mineral notes. Really very drinkable and well thought out Pinot that presses a lot of buttons. Accessible but serious too. 90
Reserve Neuberg Blaufrankisch 2012
A wine with real depth and complexity with is brightly fruity, quite profound, fresh and fragrant. Terrific length and poise. Really very good indeed. 93