Monday, January 17, 2011

Austria’s Best Red Wines - Falstaff RotweinGuide 2010/2011

Pictures: Christian G.E.Schiller with Silvia Prieler (above) and Peter Moser with the 3 Winners of the falstaff Prizes Andi Kollwentz, Clemens and Waltraud Reisner-Igler, Georg and Silvia Prieler (below).

The Fallstaff RotweinGuide 2010/11, an wine guide for Austrian red wine only, was released in early December 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

The Falstaff jury tasted about 1500 Austrian red wines of the vintages 2008 and 2007. The best wines went into the second round, where (1) the 3 overall winners (Falstaff winners) and (2) the 3 winners in each group of the major grape varieties were selected. In addition, (3) the 3 winners of the Donau Versicherung Reserve-Trophy were selected; these were aged wines from the 2007 vintage, released a year later than the other wines.

Austria’s Red Wine Boom

At first thought one might think of Austria’s climate as being quite cool for red wine. In the Alps and the western and northern reaches of the country this tends to be true. The eastern plains that border Hungary and Slovenia, however, are a different story. Yes, Austria has an international reputation for its white wines, but the reds have been improving. Like in Germany, in Austria there has been a revolution going on in terms of red wines in recent years. In both countries, red wine now accounts for about 1/3 of the wine production.

There are 3 key Austrian red grape varieties, although others are also grown, including international grapes. Zweigelt accounts for 9.0 % of Austria’s total production, Blaufraenkisch for 5.5 % and Blauer Portugieser 5.0 %. All other red grape varieties - including the international grapes Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah as well as St. Lauren - are below 2 percent each of Austria’s wine production.

Zwiegelt: The most abundant red grape; makes good wines ranging from simple cherry fruit reds to more substantial reds destined for aging.

Blaufränkisch: Common in Burgenland, this makes spicy, sturdy, berry fruited reds which can have some tannic structure. Probably Austria’s best red grape.

Blauer Portugieser: This red grape makes soft, approachable, juicy wines mainly for early consumption. The most widely planted red grape but not for top quality wines.

St. Laurent: Came from France in the mid-19th century, and seems to have substantial Pinot Noir parentage. It makes soft, slight herby, expressive reds; it’s a bit like Pinot Noir.

The 3 Falstaff Winners

The 3 Fallstaff winners are those wines which scored the highest points among all rated wines. It should not come as a surprise that the first and the second place went to two Blaufraenkisch wines from Burgenland. The wine with the third highest score was the number one cuvee wine.

1. 2008 Blaufränkisch Mittelburgenland DAC Reserve Biiri, Weingut Hans Igler, Deutschkreutz, Burgenland. “An ideal combination of grape variety and terroir.’ says Falstaff Editor-in-Chief Peter Moser.

2. Leithaberg DAC Weingut Prieler, Schützen am Gebirge, Burgenland. I had a lovely lunch with Silvia Prieler from Weingut Prieler a few months ago in Burgenland. She is such a charming lady and the Prieler wines are just outstanding. I reported about my lunch here. Weingut Prieler was the Falstaff winemaker of the year in 2009.

3. 2008 Steinzeiler , Weingut Kollwentz, Großhöflein.

Donau Versicherung Reserve Trophy

This award is for wines that have spent more time aging before being released. Again, the two top wines are Blaufraenkisch wines.

1. Blaufränkisch Bühl 2007, Claus Preisinger
2. Blaufränkisch Mariental 2007, Ernst Triebaumer
3. Bärnreiser Reserve 2007, Philipp Grassl

Blaufränkisch 2008

1. Mittelburgenland DAC Reserve Biiri, Weingut Hans Igler (1. Falstaff-Sieger 2010)
2. Leithaberg DAC, Weingut Prieler (2. Falstaff-Sieger 2010)
3. Blaufränkisch Jungenberg, Markus Altenburger

Cuvée 2008

1. Steinzeiler, Weingut Kollwentz (3. Falstaff-Sieger 2010)
2. Anna-Christina, Franz Netzl
3. Antares Grande Reserve, Richard Zahel

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Christine and Franz Netzl in Washington DC.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Alexander Skoff, Weingut Zahel in Vienna. Alexander Skoff, the nephew of Richard Zahel, is managing the cellar, the vineyards, customer support as well as the net activities of Weingut Zahel.

Pinot Noir 2008

1. Pinot Noir Dürr, Weingut Kollwentz
2. Pinot Noir Reserve, Gerhard Markowitsch
3. Pinot Noir 2008, Weingut Pöckl

St. Laurent 2008

1. St. Laurent Altenberg, Walter Glatzer
2. St. Laurent Reserve, Erich Sattler
3. St. Laurent Reserve, Philipp Grassl

Merlot 2008

1. Merlot Rotundo, Weingut Gottschuly-Grassl
2. Merlot Privatkeller, Schloss Gobelsburg
3. Merlot »m«, Uwe Schiefer

Syrah 2008

1. Syrah 2008, Johannes Trapl
2. Syrah 2008, Fam. Artner
3. Syrah 2008, Erich Scheiblhofer

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

1. Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Erich Scheiblhofer
2. Cabernet Sauvignon Tribun, Franz Taferner
3. Cabernet Sauvignon Kart, Hans Igler

Zweigelt 2008

1. Zweigelt Gigama, Franz Leth
2. Zweigelt Schwarz Rot, Hans Schwarz
3. Zweigelt Pannobile, Claus Preisinger

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