Monday, February 9, 2015

Austria’s Best Red Wines - Falstaff RotweinGuide 2015

Picture, from left to right: Wolfgang M. Rosam (Falstaff Herausgeber), Axel Stiegelmar (Weingut Juris, 3. Falstaff-Sieger), Peter Keller (CEO Breitling), Werner Achs (1. Falstaff-Sieger), Elke Winkens (Schauspielerin und Moderatorin der Falstaff Rotweingala 2014), Philipp Grassl (Weingut Hans und Philipp Grassl, 2. Falstaff-Sieger) / © APA Fotoservice, Ludwig Schedl

The Falstaff RotweinGuide 2015, a wine guide for Austrian red wine, was released in November 2014 in Vienna, Austria. In the Falstaff RotweinGuide 2015, around 1500 wines of around 400 winemakers are described on 374 pages. This key reference for Austrian wine was released for the 18th time by Peter Moser. The focus of the Falstaff RotweinGuide 2015 is on the 2012 vintage. The Falstaff RotweinGuide 2015 awarded prizes in 11 categories.

For previous years see:
Austria’s Best Red Wines - Falstaff RotweinGuide 2014
Austria’s Best Red Wines - Falstaff RotweinGuide 2013
Austria’s Best Red Wines - Falstaff RotweinGuide 2010/2011
Wine ratings: Austria - Falstaff Top Red Wines 2009/2010

Picture: Falstaff RotweinGuide 2015 Österreich

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.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Peter Moser in Frankfurt

There are 3 key Austrian red grape varieties, although other varieties are also grown, including international grape varities. 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.

Discover Blaufraenkisch! Top 100 Tasting in London, UK - Schiller's Favorites

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Austrian Wine Marketing Boss Willi Klinger in London, UK at the Blaufraenkisch Tasting

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.

Overall Winners

Best wine overall in the Fallstaff RotweinGuide 2015 is the XUR 2012 (a Cuvée of Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent) with 95 Falstaff Points, made by Werner Achs from Gols. #2 in the overall ranking is Weingut Hans und Philipp Grassl from Göttlesbrunn with the Cuvée Bärnreiser 2012, ahead of Weingut Juris, also from Gols, with the Cuvée Ina'mera 2012.

Falstaff Reserve Trophy Winners

Going back one year, the 2011 Blaufränkisch wines from the Burgenland dominated the Falstaff Reserve Trophy contest:

#1: Weingut Gager, Deutschkreutz, Blaufränkisch Gager V-MAX 96 Falstaff-Punkte
#2: Albert Gesellmann, Deutschkreutz, Blaufränkisch »hochberc« 2011
#3: Weingut Wagentristl, Großhöflein, Leithaberg DAC rot Reisbühl 2011

Sortensieger - Specific Grape Variety Winners

For specific grape varieties, the winners are:

Blaufränkisch: Eisenberg DAC Reserve Reihburg 2012 - Weingut Kopfensteiner, Deutsch Schützen

Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon Neuberg 2012 - Winzerhof Kiss, Jois

Cuvée: XUR 2012 - Weingut Werner Achs, Gols

Merlot: Merlot Sandwühler 2012 - Weingut Niki Windisch, Groß-Engersdorf

Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir Baumgarten 2012 - Weingut Pittnauer, Gols

St. Laurent: St. Laurent Reserve 2012 - Weingut Dopler, Tattendorf

Syrah: Syrah and ever 2012 - Weingut Artner, Höflein

Blauer Zweigelt: Zweigelt Reserve 2012 - Weingut Anton Hundsdorfer, Neckenmarkt

Zweigelt Grand Prix Winners

Looking ahead, the winners of the Zweigelt-Grand Prix 2013 are:

#1: Weingut Hannes Reeh, Andau – Zweigelt Unplugged 2013
#2: Weingut Pöckl, Mönchhof – Zweigelt Classique 2013
#3 ex aequo: Weingut Werner Achs, Gols – Zweigelt Goldberg 2013
#3 ex aequo: Weingut Erich Scheiblhofer, Andau – Zweigelt Prädium 2013

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