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Tasting notes of wines from Austria

(Prices and stockists in the UK are listed in brackets; as a rough guide £1 = US$1.90. Date of tasting is indicated at the end of each note as month/year)

See producer profiles: 

also: the wonderful world of Grüner Veltliner; Austria's red wines and Austrian wines from Nick Dobson

My blog entries on Austrian wine

and a Major series on Austrian wines based on a visit in October 2004

Markowitsch Pinot Noir 2007 Carnuntum, Austria
13% alcohol. From loamy soils over limestone, extended maceration on skins (31 days), 16 months in barriques. Just a hint of coffee and cocoa from the oak on the nose, together with some sweet plummy fruit. The palate is elegant with attractive sweet cherry and raspberry fruit together with some rich spicy oak notes. Smooth, sleek and integrated, this is a really well made wine – one that probably needs a year or two longer to begin to emerge with some evolved complexity. At the moment, it’s a bit too suave for its own good. Stylish, though, with real potential. 90/100 (£14.99 Oddbins)  07/09  

Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner Hoher Rain 2006 Kremstal, Austria
This organic Austrian is richly textured and bold, with some pepperiness. Lovely density of fruit with real intensity and some complexity. 89/100 (£10.50 Genesis Wines) 02/08  

Stadt Krems Grüner Veltliner Lössterassen 2006 Kremstal, Austria
Rich intense melon and pepper nose is smooth and sweet. The palate is soft and bold with expressive, sweet melony peppery fruit. A delicious rich style. 91/100  02/08

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Renner 2006 Kamptal, Austria
Fresh, smooth, slightly herby nose. There’s some subtle pepperiness here. The palate is sweetly fruited with lovely density. Elegant and concentrated with lovely expressive character. 92/100 02/08

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Alte Reben 2006 Kamptal, Austria
Taut, intense lime and herb nose with lots of complexity. The palate is dense and full with concentrated limey fruit. Complex and lively. 93/100 02/08

Hirtzberger Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Axpoint 2006 Wachau, Austria
Powerful, expressive, herby minerally nose: fabulously rich and aromatic, but fresh at the same time. The palate is concentrated, soft, fat and melony with lovely broad flavours and nice sweetness. Brilliant in a rich style. 94/100 02/08

Hirtzberger Riesling Smaragd Hochrain 2006 Wachau, Austria
Tight complex limey nose. The palate is rich with some sweetness to the nicely textured fruit. Nicely focused and fresh with some lime and herb notes. Lovely. 93/100 02/08  

Walther Polz Therese Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Sudsteirmark, Austria
Serious Sauvignon from Styria, in southern Austria. Rounded and generous with ripe fruit and just a hint of greenness. Good concentration. Quite a rich style, but still savoury. 89/100 09/08

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Tradition 2005 Kamptal, Austria
Michael Moosbrugger made this wine in a traditional style after finding papers in the loft of the monastery detailing how the wines were made in the past, and it’s brilliant. Richly textured, smooth and slightly creamy with some spice and mineral characters on the nose. The palate is texturally rich and complex with great depth and a hint of honeyed richness. 92/100 09/08

Bründlmayer Steinmassl Riesling 2006 Kamptal, Austria
Willi Brundlmayer was there to present this wine. Taut, pure and mineralic with some lemony fruit on the nose. Good concentration on the palate with lovely fresh acidity. Bright and lovely. 91/100 09/08

Rabl Gruner Veltliner Eiswein 2006 Langenlois, Austria
Citrussy, sweet and herby with lovely elegant, fresh fruit that's viscous and intense at the same time. Nice acidity. A striking, supersweet unctuous wine with the richness offset by good acidity. 91/100 09/08

Moric (Roland Velich) Blaufränkisch Neckenmarkter Alte Reben 2004 Burgenland, Austria
Lovely minerally blackcurrant fruit is the dominant theme here. It’s quite focused, with lovely structure from smooth but firm tannins. Good integration of oak and lovely minerality to this serious red wine. 92/100 09/08

Huber Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Niederosterrich, Austria
Wonderfully pure, precise and aromatic, with lovely minerality and bright fruit, along with some freshness from high carbon dioxide levels. The palate is pure with rounded, fresh, almost transparent fruit, a hint of fruit sweetness, and then beautifully focused minerality. It's a bright wine, but it's not at all sharp or acidic. There's a lovely combination of ripe fruit and minerality, but none of the grassiness that's a signature of this grape in New Zealand. It reminds me a bit of Gruner Veltliner, with its textural components and hints of spiciness. 91/100 (£12.99 Oddbins, UK agent Thierrys) 09/08  

Herbert Triebaumer Ruster Ausbruch 2002 Burgenland, Austria 
Yellow/gold in colour, this is a rich, almost pungent sweet wine with lifted aromas of cantaloupe melon and apricot, alongside spicy and herbal notes. The palate is viscous (163 g/litre residual sugar) with bold, concentrated flavours of ripe apricot, citrus and melon, together with some spicy complexity. It’s a serious wine of real class and intensity that just manages to stay balanced despite the immense sweetness. 93/100 (£21.95 Great Western Wine) 01/08

Weingut Stadt Krems Weinzierlberg Grüner Veltliner 2006 Kremstal, Austria
Aromatic and quite full, with a rich melony fruitiness coupled with some brighter, peppery notes. Quite generous and sweet. The palate is rich textured and soft with a lovely fresh pepperiness, giving a counter to the sweet fruit and stopping it from being at all flabby. There are some citrus pith notes, too. Brilliant stuff. 92/100 (£10.99 Averys) 11/07

Erich Maccherndl Riesling Smaragd Steinterrassen 2005 Wachau, Austria
Quite a deep yellow colour with some green tinges, this is a full flavoured, savoury, 'trocken' style Riesling made from ripe grapes. The nose shows refined honeyed, minerally, herby/citrussy fruit. It leads to a palate that's rich and ripe, but nicely defined by fresh herb and citrus notes, together with a hint of sweetness and cutting minerally acidity. There's a lot of intensity and presence here in this dry styled wine, which is probably best served with food. 90/100 (£12.95 Great Western Wine here) 12/07

Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Schnabel 2005 Kremstal, Austria
A yellow gold colour, it has a beguiling, complex aroma of nuts, herbs, pepper and toast. The palate has a lively presence of fresh, herby, peppery fruit together with some nutty depth. As is typical of Gruner, there's an interesting texture: it's not fat, but there's some broadness, although the overall effect is one of dryness. Quite serious and food friendly. 91/100 (11/07)

Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Schnabel 2006 Kremstal, Austria
A classic Gruner, this has a lovely peppery freshness with richer textural elements to the fruit. There's some bright minerality and fresh acidity on the palate, keeping this from being fat, and combined with the smooth, rich texture it makes for quite a compelling wine that should age nicely in bottle. Pure, refined and expressive. 91/100  11/07

Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Schnabel 'Minimal' 2005 Kremstal, Austria
This wine, made without any added sulfur dioxide, is pretty wild stuff. There's a hint of cloudiness to the yellow/golden colour. On the nose, spicy, slightly peppery fresh notes are combined with richer, toasty, vanilla, bready elements to create a warm, complex whole. The palate has really nice tangy, minerally acidity under the warm toasty, bready notes. There's also some tannic structure here, which is unusual in whites. Extremely food friendly and quite complex, with a pleasant sort of reductive character. Who knows how this will develop, but it's quite serious and thought provoking now. 92/100  11/07  

Feiler-Artinger Blaufränkisch Trocken 2005 Burgenland, Austria
This is a nice fresh cherry-scented Austrian red with deep tarry edge to the nose. The palate is bright and a bit sappy with some gravelly earthiness and nice tannin. Quite juicy and attractively savoury. 88/100 (£8.99 Waitrose) 05/05

Emmerich Knoll Grüner Veltliner Loibner Schütt Smaragd 2002 Wachau, Austria
Rich, full, melony nose with a lovely fresh, peppery edge. Smooth, rich palate with nice melony fruit. It’s youthful and fruity at the moment, and may well put on some complexity with further age. 92/100 05/06

Gobelsburger Riesling 2005 Kamptal, Austria
This is a really impressive Riesling from Schloss Gobelsburg. It has a lovely crisp lemony nose which is nicely poised. The palate is generous and nicely fruited with expressive lemony fruit and good acid. Delicious. Very good+ 89/100 (£7.69 Waitrose) 04/06  

Nikolaus Moser Grüner Veltliner Gebling Vineyard 2003 Kremstal, Austria
Initially on opening there’s a blast of sulphur on the nose. This dies down to reveal fresh, limey, spicy aromas. Fruity. The palate shows pretty, bright peppery fruit with good acidity. A fresh style with good food compatibility. A good introduction to Grüner Veltliner, but it does lack real personality. Very good+ 88/100 (Marks & Spencer) 07/04

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Tradition 2001 Langenlois, Austria
I was very impressed by this GV, made in a traditional style that aims to replicate the way the wine would have been made 100 years ago. Fresh, crisp grassy nose leads to a fascinating palate that is rich textured with amazing rich white pepper character and a rich texture. Striking stuff and quite lovely. Had twice with consistet notes. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£14.49 Noel Young Wines) 03/04  

Bründlmayer Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein 1997 Kamptal, Austria
Piercing fresh limey nose with a delicate floral edge. The palate is crisp and spicy – quite light but still fresh with good acidity. Delicious, dry and spicy with good acidity. Very good/excellent 91/100 02/04

Martin Estate Riesling Dornleiten 2003 Kremstal, Austria
A wine made by Nigl for Marks & Spencer, who’ve recently listed a few Austrian wines. Refined, taut, minerally nose with subtle lemony fruit and a touch of sulphur. Quite fine. The palate is fresh, lemony and crisp with good acidity. Not profound but nice enough and a versatile food wine. Very good+ 88/100 (Marks & Spencer) 07/04

Nikolaus Moser TBA Chardonnay 2002 Neusiedlersee, Austria
From Sepp Moser, made for Marks and Spencer. Lovely rich nose: complex botrytis character with spice, some apricot, honey and with a limey edge. The palate is rich and sweet with lovely viscous peachy fruit and good balancing acidity. Could do with perhaps a touch more acid? But it’s still very fine. Very good/excellent 93/100 (Marks & Spencer) 07/04

Bründlmayer Zöbinger Heiligenstein Riesling Trocken 1997 Kamptal, Langenlois, Austria
Lively citrussy nose with a slightly cheesy, minerally complexity. The palate is intense and minerally; dry with lively acidity. Dry with a herby edge – verging on the profound. Very good/excellent 03/03

Erich & Walter Polz Grassnitzberg Weissburgunder 1998 Südsteirmark, Austria
Classy stuff, still very much alone. Toasty, mealy nose with notes of straw and herbs. The palate is creamy and nicely judged, with rounded nutty fruit. Stylish and well balanced. Very good/excellent (originally from Oddbins at £9.99) 91 04/03  

Weingut Knoll Ried Loibner Loibenberg Riesling Federspiel 1999, Wachau, Austria
Relatively shy nose is minerally, taut and lemony. The tight, mineralic palate shows high acidity. This is a fairly serious Riesling but needs to open out: it’s a bit of a waste drinking it now. On the second day it is spicier and more expressive with some grapefruit and melon character emerging. Lovely weight on the palate. Very good/excellent 12/01

Franz Prager Weissenkirchen Achleiten Smaragd Riesling 1999 Wachau
A top wine from one of Austria's leading producers. Gorgeous sweet, rich, ripe nose with a touch of honey and some peachy, limey fruit. Palate is rich and full, with touch of spice and good acidity. Overall, it's a delicious aromatic dry white wine with good concentration and nice balance. Very good/excellent 06/01

Heidler Grüner Veltliner Spiegel 2000, Kamptal, Austria
A pale yellow colour, this has a subtle, rounded lemony nose with a touch of spice. The palate shows good balance, with a nice mineral character and some lemony notes, together with a peppery edge. Good extract and concentration. Pretty classy stuff, and will probably improve with short term cellaring. Finishes dry and spicy. Very good+ (£8.95 Berry Bros & Rudd)  10/01

Heidler Grüner Veltliner Thal Novemberlese 2000, Kamptal, Austria
Lovely concentrated dry white wine: not rich textured, but with a lovely mineral extract. The spicy nose has a sweet floral, aromatic lift, with a touch of pepper. The palate is light and fresh, but with great depth and concentration and a pronounced spicy character. There's just a touch of residual sugar that adds roundness, but the wine finishes quite dry. Distinctive stuff. Very good/excellent (£10.95) 11/01

Erich and Walter Polz Weissburgunder Grassnitzberg 1998 Südsteirmark, Austria
An attractive yellow gold colour, this Pinot Blanc has a knockout nose of spice, toast and bready notes, with a creamy edge. The palate is rich, full and honeyed with high acidity and a lovely spicy character. This is a delicious wine with great balance and complexity. If you're a fan of Alsace-style whites, you'll probably love this. Excellent (£7.99 Oddbins, currently reduced to £5.99) 07/01

Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling Spätlese 1999, Wachau
Nikolaihof is a high-profile estate run along biodynamic lines, and this wine is made from late-harvested grapes, and weighing in at 12.5% alcohol. Very pale in colour, this has a fresh citrussy nose with a smoky mineral edge. The palate is bright and spritzy, with lively, zingy acidity. Quite light textured and finishes dry. A delicate wine, there currently isn’t as much complexity as I was hoping for here; hopefully this will come with time. I must admit that I was expecting more from this well regarded producer. Very good (Price guide: Raeburn stock the 1997 version of this wine for £23) 4/01

Nikolaihof Riesling Vom Stein zu Mautern Smaragd 1999, Wachau
The Smaragd classification is the highest level, named after the lizards that bask in the sun on the terraced vineyards, and the wine from these ripe grapes has 12.5% alcohol. This has a fresh, fruity nose with hints of smoke and minerals. It's fresh and spritzy on the palate, and perhaps a bit grapey. Overall it's a little weightier than the Spätlese, but still a light-textured wine, and it finishes dry. A little bit simple at present? Very good (Price guide: Raeburn stock the 1998 for £22.) 4/01

Bründlmayer Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein 1999, Langenlois, Kamptal
13% alcohol. Light, fresh, minerally/citrussy nose leading to a full, concentrated palate with good complexity, firm acidity and a dry finish. There's some limey Riesling character and although it's a touch austere at the moment it should develop nicely. Very good+ (Price guide: the 1997 vintage is £13 from Raeburn) 4/01

Bründlmayer Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein Alte Reben 1998, Langenlois, Kamptal, Austria
A sensationally bold interpretation of Riesling. Pretty alcoholic at 14%, but not unbalanced. Beautifully enticing smoky, spicy nose (some botrytis here?). The concentrated, rich palate shows complex notes of lime, spice and honey, with a bone dry finish. Quite delicious. Excellent (Bibendum £18) 4/01

Umathum Frauenkirchner St Laurent 1995 Bom Stein Neusiedler See, Austria
(Umathum is the producer; St Laurent is the grape) An unusual red wine from Austria, this is a light red/purple colour with a pungent, herby, slightly medicinal nose. On the palate this is bone dry, quite acidic and a little herbaceous, but with plenty of complexity and interest. It may sound a bit odd from this description, but the overall effect is a pleasurable one, honest! Very good+ 1/01

Erich & Walter Polz, Grassnitzberg Weissburgunder 1998, Austria
A delightful full-flavoured Pinot Blanc from Austria. Displays rounded flavours of honey and apples with a crisp balancing acidity and smoky/mineral notes. Really good stuff: tastes a bit like a mature Chablis. Great balance. Very good+ (£7.99 Oddbins) 8/00

Erich & Walter Polz Grauburgunder 1998 Grassnitzberg, Südstermark, Austria
It's rare to see a high street merchant stocking Austrian wines. Full flavoured yet delicate, sophisticated dry white wine. Lovely smokey nose with a touch of honey. Dry spicy palate: quite rich, with a full texture and a nice smoky character. Very good/excellent. (£7.99 Oddbins). 9/00

Erich & Walter Polz Grauburgunder Grassnitzberg 1998, Sudsteirmark, Austria
A Pinot Gris from southern Austria. A yellow/gold colour with a spicy, butterscotch-tinged nose with a touch of caramel and honey. Rich, rounded palate is quite fat textured, and is bone dry, with a spicy finish. Interesting stuff but needs drinking up fairly soon. Very good+ (£7.99 reduced to £5.99, Oddbins) 10/01


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