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Austria: Austrian Red Wines

What About Austrian Reds?
At first thought one would probably think of Austria’s climate as being quite cool. In the Alps and the western and northern reaches of the country this is true. The eastern plains that border Hungary and Slovenia, however, are a different story all together. Right in the heart of this region is Mittelburgenland, and this is Austria’s red wine country, with 95-percent of the vineyards planted to red wine varietals.

Traditional wines such as Blaufrankisch, Saint Laurent, and Zweigelt dominate production, but varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are being seen with greater regularity. Though the region is indeed warm, proper ripeness tends to be a chronic problem for Cabernet Sauvignon in particular, despite the fact that many growers have taken it up as the holy grail. More dependable wines tend to be made from Blaufrankisch and Saint Laurent.

Blaufrankisch has often been confused with Gamay, but it was probably brought from Hungary as opposed to France. The wines tend to be light in body, though certainly fuller than most Gamays. As with many Austrian reds the use of new oak barrels is not uncommon, and the ripe raspberry qualities of the grape tend to incorporate the spice of the wood in an attractive way. Blaufrankisch also tends to be lighter in tannin and quite accessible upon release. As for Saint Laurent, the Austrians tend to think that it is a member of the Pinot family, and its characteristics lend some credence to this theory. Indeed, Saint Laurents, like Pinot Noirs, are lighter in body, with ethereal, heady, and exotic bouquets. Though tricky to grow, successful examples are consistently among the finest Austrian reds.

Premier Producers
Graf Hardegg (Max Red)
Leo Hillinger (Cabernet Sauvignon, Hill 1 Red)
Maria Kerschbaum (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Paul Kerschbaum (Blaufrankisch)
Christine & Franz Netzel (Rubin Zweigelt)
Georg Stiegelmar, Juris (St. Laurent)
Stift Klosterneuberg (Barrique St. Laurent, Chorus Red)
Taurot (Grosse Lagen Red)
Umathum (Haideboden Red)

Great Producers
Feiler Artinger (Syrah, 1005 Red)
Tobias Friedrich (Zweigelt)
Walter Glatzer (Gotinsprun Red)
Christian Grassl (Cuvée Nepomuk Red)
Gsellman & Gsellman (Alte Lagen Red)
Rotweingut Iby (Vin Anton Red)
Kollwentz-Romerhof (Steinzeiler Red)
Josef Leberl (Peccatum Red)
Leitner (Pannobile Red)
Domäne Müller (Riunterra Red)
Christine & Franz Netzel (Reserve St. Laurent)
Nittnaus (Commondor Red)
Josef Pöckl (Zweigelt)
Schönberger (Herbst Cuvée Red)
Schwarz (St. Laurent)
Heidi Schröck (Lionne Red)
Ernst Triebaumer (Ried Mariental & Aus den Rieden Blaufrankisch)
Umathum (St. Laurent)
Urbanihof (Barrique No. 3 Red)
Wellanschitz (Fraternitas Red, Cabernet Sauvignon)
Weninger (Reserve Blaufrankisch, Merlot)
R. Zimmerman (Cuvée Barrique Red)

Dependable Producers
Achs-Tremmel (Barrique St. Laurent)
Kurt Angerer (Granit Zweigelt, PinBologna Red)
Arkadenhof Buchmayer (Cuvée Agnes Red)
Feiler Artinger (Umriss Blaufrankisch, Solitaire Red)
Gesellmann (Opus Eximium Red, Creitzer Red)
Haus Marienberg (Blaufrankisch, St. Laurent, HM-I Cuvée Red)
Gernot Heinrich (Gabarinza Red)
Herzinger (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Rotweingut Iby (Chevalier Blaufrankisch)
Harald Kraft (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Paul Lehrner (Reserve Blaufrankisch)
Leth (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Josef Lust (Blauer Portugieser, Cuvée Philipp-Joseph Red)
Markowitsch (Rosenberg Red)
Ilse Mazza (Zweigelt)
Domäne Müller (Zweigelt)
Munzenrieder (Zweigelt)
Nittnaus (Pannobile Red, Vigor Rubeus Red)
Josef Pöckl (Rosso e Nero Red)
Familie Prieler (Blaufrankisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Schützer Stein Red)
Rebhof Sommer (Cuvée Classique Red)
Rosenhof (Blaufrankisch)
Georg Stiegelmar, Juris (St. Georg Red)
Stift Klosterneuberg (Ausstich St. Laurent)
Ernst Triebaumer (Ried Gmärk Blaufrankisch)
Wellanschitz (Barrique Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt)
Winzer Krems (St. Laurent)

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