Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Beast from the East! Austrian Red

Now when you think of ‘up and coming’ countries for red wine, many will think of Montenegro, Lebanon and Israel (well I do anyway!). Although they are producing fantastic wines, nothing I have tried from those areas have impressed me quite as much as a wine I tried the other day.

Having followed their neighbours Germany, Austria produces large quantities of dry, peppery Rieslings that have had Sommeliers interested for a number of years, and of course Gruner Veltliner is experiencing a real revival at the moment. However, it's their red wines that have had my taste buds bouncing recently, and I am keen to spread the Austrian love.

Some of Austria’s more commonly grown red grape varieties include Blaufrankisch, the gloriously spicy Zweigelt, and St. Laurent. It is however a grape variety a bit better known that has caught my eye in this beautiful country.

Located on the East shore of the Neusiedlersee Lake in the region of Burgenland lies the winery of Gerhard Pittnauer, and it is his 2011 Pinot Noir that has been impressing me recently.

Pittnauer, Pinot Noir, 2011- £12.50, The Wine Society

In the glass it looks like a Pinot Noir at a beauty pageant. Although typically light and cherry red, this wine is so clear and bright it sparkles like a ruby ring on a millionaire’s finger.
The nose is bright and fruity with touches of sweetness, raspberry and spice.
On the palate this wine really comes alive, with raspberry and strawberry sweetness matching beautifully with a distinct hit of sour cherry. It reminds me of cherry drop sweets in liquid form with none of the sickliness - in fact, even though this wine is 13.5%, it couldn't be more drinkable.

I know everyone always goes on about how temperamental and how hard to grow Pinot Noir is, but Gerhard really seems to have hit something special here. It is exactly what I believe a Pinot Noir should be, a big fist of flavour placed delicately inside a velvet glove, and it is by far one of the best wines I have tried this year.

As well as their Pinot, Pittnauer do a fantastic Zweigelt- Blaufrankisch blend called Pitti 2011 which is a fantastic introduction to Austrian Red and these two really exciting grape varieties.

If you’re interested in delving further into the world of Austrian red, then look out for names such as Josepf Ehmoser and Heidi Schrock, who both make really exciting Austrian Wines that are readily available throughout the UK.

So jump on board and expand your wine world!!

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