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London Wine Fair 2011: Austria

Written by JW. Posted in Austria

Wonderful range of fresh and lively Austrian reds and whites at the Fair last week, and some pretty serious efforts too. As good as the international varieties grown here are the real excitement is surely in the local varieties, obviously Grüner Veltliner and Riesling amongst the whites and Zwiegelt and  Blaufränkisch amongst the reds.

Very appetizing and fragrant wines were shown by Esterhazy Wein from Austria’s Burgenland. Based in Eisenstadt, fifteen kilometres from lake Neusiedler See, and set right up against the border with Hungary. The origins of the aristocratic Esterhazy family’s wine making dates back to the 17th century. A grand spanking impressive modern winery was established here in 2006 which looks out toward the decidedly grander Esterhazy palace. The wines are impressive. In particular their single cru Blaufränkisch, produced from the Follig vineyard near Grosshoflein in the heart of the Neuisiedlersee-Hugelland wine area was terrific. Stupidly somehow I missed their sweet whites.

Esterhazy, Grüner Veltliner, ‘Estoras’ Burgenland, 2010

Fresh appetizing wine; some candy; minerally; real candy and zest on the palate; lees notes too. Nice bite and very appetizing. 88+/100

Esterhazy Chardonnay ‘Classic’ Burgenland 2009

Pale straw; floral, quite delicate; fine and tight on the palate; good focus; apples. Good life. Vibrant and vivid. 88+/100

Esterhazy Pinot Noir, ‘Classic’ Burgenland, 2009

Red; earthy looking at the edge; cherry, spicy tomato plant; quite delicate nose; quite delicious on the palate; light and fairly delicate but fragrant. 88+/100

Esterhazy Zweigelt ‘Classic’, Burgenland, 2009

Earthy and fresh looking; some redcurrants, aromatic; delicacy; spicy notes too; grip on the palate; quite lightweight but real delicacy again. Zip at the end. 88+/100

Esterhazy Blaufränkisch ‘Classic’, Burgenland 2009

Mid depth; quite sappy and dense; feels pent up; spicy; palate quite tight but lots of fruit here; very fresh and juicy feel; mid weight but lovely freshness and grace. Lively acidity too. Very good. Vibrant. 90+/100

Esterhazy Blaufränkisch/Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘Falstaff’ 2009

Similar density; some leaf on the nose along with the vibrant plumpness of the Blaufrankish. Nice palate, the blend actually works pretty well. 90+/100

Esterhazy Blaufränkisch, Single Cru, Follig, Neusiedlersee-Hugelland 2008  

Mid red; more lifted and resinous on the nose; works well – like fine Pinot Noir; some medicinal notes; palate feels little more structured and grippy. Pretty serious interpretation of Blaufrankish. 16 months in 100% new oak. 92+/100

Award-winning wine grower Rudolph Rabl is well known for the extremely fine quality of the white wines he grows in Langenlois in Kamptal. The ‘VO’, or Vinum Optimum range only uses the best grapes from the finest sites from the 75 hectares of vineyard they have. Great range of white wines, the Riesling Steinhaus was stunning. The reds had good concentration and fruit.

Rabl Grüner Veltliner, Spiegel 2010

Pale straw; fine attractive nose; good density; attractive wine. Very good. 12.5% 88+/100

Rabl Grüner Veltliner VO 2010

More straw; rounder; broader; nicely flavoured, attractive wine. Moreish. Very good 90+/100

Rabl Grüner Veltliner, Katerberg 2009

Pale straw; fresh minerally and appetizing aroma; broader slightly flatter palate. Vintage? Nice purity. 88+/100

Rabl Riesling, Steinhaus 2010

Green/straw; candy fresh; pure; limes; soap and lees; this is extremely good; limes and lees on the palate; racy and taut. Terrific 93+/100

Rabl Riesling, Schenkabichl 2009

Deep straw; honeyed some cream and perfume; full bodied palate.90/100

Rabl Blauer Zweigelt VO 2008

Mid red fresh looking; aromatic and fruity; lots of red fruits on the palate; quite sexy and open. 88+/100

Rabl Pinot Noir 2007

Mid red; some spicy Pinot; tomato plant; lively palate. Attractive and fruity. Pretty good. 87/100

Kurt Angerer is also in Austria’s Kamptal region is something of a ‘terriorist’ with vineyard block designated wines, variously Kies, Spies, Loam, Granit and Eichenstaude and so on. These are extremely intense and impressive white wines. The Gruner Veltliners are extremely fine and the Riesling excellent.

Kurt Angerer  Grüner Veltliner, Kies 2010

Pale straw; chalky minerally note; leesy palate with nice flavour and intensity; some soap too; lovely bite and acid. Really fresh and appetizing. 12.5% 90+/100

Kurt Angerer Grüner Veltliner, Spies, 2010

Straw, hint of gold; leesy nose; wet wool; intensity here with candy notes; palate less bite butricher. Excellent 91+/100

Kurt Angerer Grüner Veltliner, Loam, 2010

Straw; some butter; quite masculine; broad and deep on the palate; quite chalky with some candy. Lees on the finish. Another terrific Gruner. 90/100

Kurt Angerer Grüner Veltliner, Echenstaude, 2010

Attractive creamy nose; fresh and broad; appetizing; trace of sweetness here on the end. From Niederosterreich and picked [quite remarkably] between 26-27 November. 90+/100

Kurt Angerer Riesling, Donatus, 2009

Golden, broad Riesling aromas; some honey; good palate with bite at the end 88+/100

Kurt Angerer Riesling Ametzberg 2009

Cleaner and fresher; leesy; apples; extraordinary intensity; good concentration and length. Very fine. 93+/100

Kurt Angerer Zweigelt, 2009

Vibrant earthy purple, transparent core; very fresh, blue fruits; cherry and quite sappy with grip and bite; lively and attractive with grip. 87+/100

Kurt Angerer Pinot Noir 2009

Earthy red; spicy characters; attractive; soft and sweet; some leaf and undergrowth in here too. Easy 88/100

Kurt Angerer Granit, Zweigelt 2008

Oak barrel influence; some jam and red fruits; quite open but oak not that brilliantly integrated. Goodish. Should settle. 86+/100

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