Discovering the Wines of Austria and Germany

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

On another beautiful Tuesday evening in the city, we had the privilege of learning about and tasting the great wines of Austria and Germany.  Led by wine veteran Jason Alexander, we had a full class of females eager to gain more knowledge of, and of course taste, these fascinating wines.  It appears that the males thought they could sit this one out on account that these were mostly Rieslings, but boy did they sure miss out on some incredible wines.

Jason started off the class by briefly touching on the interesting history that Austria has within the wine industry.  For those who know about the issues that the country previously faced in the 80’s due to chemically altering their wines, Austria has sure come a long way since those days.  Nowadays, it is very common to find Austrian wines at even the most highly regarded restaurants and wine bars.

While on the topic of Austria, we dove into a Gruner Veltliner wine and continued onto Austrian Rieslings.  To add to the mix, we also tasted the Austrian red varietal known as Blaufränkisch from Burgenland.  Each of these wines expressed their unique levels of fruit, spices, and minerality.

Moving onto Germany, Jason enlightened the class on the German wine laws and how the wines are categorized by their level of ripeness.  He also described in detail the different regions and how their terroir undeniably affects the outcome of their wines.  All of which influences the steep pricing for some of the highly sought after quality German wines.

With that being said, we tasted through our line of four German Rieslings.  Starting off with a Trocken wine, we continued on to taste a Kabinett, Spatlese, and finally an Auslese classified wine.  Within the four wines, we were able to uncover the strong minerality variances between the prestigious regions of Rheingua, Pfalz, and Mosel.

My top pick for the night?

Zantho Blaufränkisch 2008- Burgenland, Austria

This extraordinarily interesting red starts the nose off with the aroma of burnt sugar, similar to the top layer of a warm crème brûlée.  Hints of strawberry, red cherry, and raspberry are nicely intertwined with the sugary characteristics.  The palate closely mimics the nose, while adding notes of forest floor, leather, a bit of herbs and even some green cardamom.  This well balanced wine is medium in body and acidity, making it easily drinkable while allowing the taster to have an exhilarating experience on the palate.

Thanks again to Jason and Brian for another fun and didactic wine class!

-Julie Albin

Wine List

  1. Salomon Undhof Von Stein Berglagen Gruner-Veltliner 2009 – Kremstal, Austria
  2. Domaine Wachau Terrassen Smaragd Riesling 2009 – Wachau, Austria
  3. Zantho Blaufrankisch 2008 – Burgenland, Austria
  4. Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvee 2008 – Burgenland, Austria
  5. Riesling Trocken, Robert Weil Kiedrich Turmberg 2009 – Rheingau, Germany
  6. Riesling Kabinett, Muller Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten 2004 – Pflaz, Germany
  7. Riesling  Spatlese, Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich 2009 – Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
  8. Riesling  Auslese,  Josephshofer Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Fuder 6 2005 – Mosel-Saar- Ruwer, Germany

Leave a Reply