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The wines of Umathum, Burgenland, Austria

Josef Umathum is one of Austria’s best known red wine makers. Austrian varieties St Laurent, Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch are the specialities here. Remarkably, the terraced vineyards in the village of Jois that Umathum cultivates date back to 1214.

These are serious wines that deserve broader recognition than their small production and relatively high prices permits outside Austria. You get the impression that if they were French, they’d be much better known.

Also tasted here are the wines of Zantho (www.zantho.com), which is the second label of Umathum. These are made from 50 hectares of vines in the Seewinkel region, and are more readily available. They are tasty and approachable.  

Umathum Pinot Noir Unter den Terrassen 2005
A sweet, soft, spicy wine that’s nicely expressive. Good concentration, but it isn’t heavy. 90/100

Umathum St Laurent Vom Stein 2003
Lifted aromatic nose with a herby edge to the dark fruits. Beautifully perfumed and expressive. Bright open fruit on the palate: sweet cherries and blackberries with a hint of spice. Full and expressive. 93/100

Umathum Zweigelt Ried Hallebühl 2003
Elegant sweet perfumed nose of dark cherries. The palate is broad and full with great concentration of dark fruits showing lovely purity and a hint of mineraliness. Sweet and forward. 92/100

Umathum Blaufränkisch Kirschgarten 2003
Smooth, supple, dark and chocolatey. Quite elegant. There’s some spicy seriousness, too. The palate is concentrated, mineralic and spicy with smooth, elegant dark fruits. Very pure. 94/100

Zantho Grüner Veltliner 2006
Vivid, fruity and fresh with a boiled sweets edge. 85/100

Zantho Zweigelt 2005
Juicy and vibrant with lovely cherryish fruit. Nice savoury edge. 87/100

Zantho St Laurent 2005
Vivid cherry, dark fruit, spicy nose. Bright, fruity and tangy on the palate. Deliciously fruity. 89/100

Zantho Blaufränkisch 2005
Deep coloured, with elegant sweet, dark cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is pure and fruity with sweet dark cherry and berry fruit. Nice fruit here. 89/100

Zantho Zweigely Reserve 2004
Chocolatey, spicy dark fruits nose with an oaky, menthol edge. Sweet, intense dark friiits on the palate which is ripe and spicy. A nice wine, but perhaps a little oaky? 89/100

See also: Austrian wines

Wines tasted 02/07
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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