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Tasting Notes from Europe 2016

Austrian wines are greatly misunderstood and underrated in Australia- possibly because they focus on indigenous varieties and possibly due to lingering after-effects of the glycerol additives scandal of the 1980s. Whatever the reason we should pay greater attention to them because both whites and reds should appeal to the average Australian palate and they are reasonably priced.

2012 Domaine Wachau Riesling: like most Austrian Rieslings made in a dry style; classic fresh cut limes and minerals with fragrant aromatics, very good mid-palate fruit intensity and lovely texture;could drink until the cows come home with Asian spices.

2011 Blaufrankisch (Burgenland): a local red variety that is easy on the palate and the pocket; classic dark cherry, soft tannins, medium fruit weight, good balance and length; a sound partner with any wurst.

2010 St. Laurent (Steiermark): another indigenous red variety that has many Pinot Noir-like qualities; good aromatic lift with Morillo cherry to the fore; very good mid-palate fruit weight, fine texture with secondary characters evolving, acceptable balance and length; yes it would be a good match with duck or quail

2013 Gruner Veltliner (Sudtirol): this white variety probably defines Austrian wine more than any other - think top Riesling with an intriguing white pepper note on the finish; lifted white flower aromas, generous mid-palate and extended minerally finish; who could ask for more?

2010 Zweigelt (Burgenland): the lovechild of Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent, Zweigelt is Austria's most popular red variety because it is so approachable and eminently drinkable; loads of dark cherry and plum, silky tannins and satisfying finish - no wonder they love it!

2010 Lagrein (Sudtirol): more closely associated with the neighbouring Alto Adige region in Italy this is another attractive red from the Innsbruck area; quite Merlot-like (the good ones!) with plush plum and hints of earth and pepper; more classically French in style, this is a serious red that would enhance the enjoyment of roast lamb.

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