Austrian Mountain Reds

GDP shares cooler climate Austrian wine suggestions


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Austrian Mountain Reds
It’s been cold as an Alpine breeze here in New York and that got me thinking of mountain wines—red mountain wines to be precise. Now this is a bit of a departure for me; I generally prefer these wines when the weather is not quite so determined to separate me from the tip of my nose. But the folks who make these wines tend to face conditions at least as bad as the ones we’re experiencing here in NYC, and somehow they manage to get by, so I figure we ought to at least try.
The wines I chose to taste were from Austria, with two of my favorite mountain varietals on offer: Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt. While these two wines can be quite similar, I tend to notice their distinctions as much as their similarities. The climate and soil of Austria yields wines that tend to be higher acid, crisp and crunchy with fine-grained tannins and a cool, reserved character in the fresh fruitiness they tend to exhibit. With Zweigelt, that fruitiness tends to remind me a bit of Syrah; floral with wild blueberry edges to the core of blackberry and raspberry fruit. Blaufrankisch, on the other hand, offers more complexity, some of which no doubt comes from newer oak, which is more commonly used with Blaufrankisch than with Zweigelt. But even on it’s own the grape produces a wine with more spice and savory notes than the fruitier Zweigelt.

If you haven’t had either of these varietals before, they’re definitely worth seeking out for a change of pace—also as an introduction to the style of red wines available from Austria and other mountain regions. They offer a more refreshing, different drinking experience than one typically gets from warm-climate wines, and are decidedly food friendly, perfect for simply-prepared and arctic weather-ready game, duck or beef dishes.

Austrian Farm House and Vineyard via Shutterstock 

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  • Snooth User: courgette
    124481 158

    Thanks for the Austro-boosterism here, Greg. I fell in love with Zweigelt a couple of years ago, via Brundl's liters (which I buy at Minneapolis' Surdyk's). I served it at a party recently, and everyone kept grabbing the bottle to be sure they remembered it!

    Feb 05, 2013 at 2:16 PM

  • Snooth User: yoyoma
    55601 3

    The glass stoppers and the red/white/red tops make it worth the search. Didn't know you could still find Zantho Zweigelt. Darn good, and restaurants triple charge for it.
    Try ZVY-GELT

    Feb 05, 2013 at 7:47 PM

  • Thanks for the info. Will be in Innsbruck next week am looking forward to trying their whites but prefer reds and now I have an idea of what to try. Jack

    Feb 06, 2013 at 2:14 AM

  • Sounds interesting. Any NY or Northwestern US wineries getting into these varietals?

    Feb 06, 2013 at 6:02 AM

  • Snooth User: guitarman
    943122 5

    I enjoy reading these articles as I'm still trying to learn more about Wine. There's also another wine from that part of the world made by Toni Hartl, which I've heard is good but can't seem to find where or how to purchase some and I can't get a reponse from their website. Any suggestions?

    Feb 06, 2013 at 11:54 AM

  • Love the Blaufränkisch

    Feb 08, 2013 at 7:35 AM

  • Left when I was 6, not sure what the wines were at the family table. Guess I should start "visiting" the homeland.

    Nov 20, 2013 at 10:27 AM

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