Friday, September 07, 2007

Austrian Wine Bargains (pre-harvest 2007)

In spite of the growing number-and apparent profitability-of high-end wines from Austria, there are still genuine bargains to be found. At a pre-harvest tasting at Wein&Co in Vienna, a Viennese Grüner Veltliner from Phillip Zoll blew the crowd away.
Old Austrian wine hands probably think of Viennese wines as the lightly flavored little sourballs that make the summer days go by or the hearty heurigen food go down. They are bargains in the sense of not costing very much. But real bargains start when more refined qualities come in.
The Grüner from Zoll costs a mere 9.55 Euro. The nose is an intriguing blend of white pepper and herbs with a subtle floral hint. The lightly fruity flavors open up on the palate along with a bright and refreshing acidity and medium body. The finish is surpringly long and leaves a clean, appetizing sensation behind.
So what's going on here? Is this a fluke? Were the winemakers in Vienna's Weinviertel needlessly floundering? Is there a catch?
The short answer is that I don't know if this lovely wine signals a trend or if it's just a one-off.
Stay tuned.

-Lynn Hoffman, author of The New Short Course in Wine
and the refreshing new novel, bang BANG

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