Austria

Austria is one of the oldest wine growing regions in the world. And interestingly, it's also one of the most dynamic. The DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) was started in just 2001. The DAC ensures that an Austrian wine has a regional typicity and follows the rules of that region, established by a group of local wine growers, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. As the DAC is relatively new, some regions are not yet a part of the system, including the Wachau, who still operates following their local jurisdiction of Vinea Wachau (started in the 1980's). Austria has a cool climate for grape growing and each region is distinct. Most Austrian wine is consumed within Austria, but Austrian wine became famous in the US in the 1990's for its indigenous variety Gruner Veltliner. Gruner Veltliner is the most widely planted grape variety in Austria and depending on where it is planted and how it's cared for, it can be as simple as an everyday, table wine or as complex and age-worthy as some of the very best whites in the world. Welschriesling is the second most widely planted, but you find more of the noble Riesling state-side. The two most famous reds are Zwiegelt and Blaufrankisch. Zweigelt is affectionately described by Philip Blom in his book, "The Wines of Austria" as the 'cocker spaniel' of Austrian grapes, "always friendly and never agressive". Blaufrankisch makes very interesting wines. They are normally very dark in color and spicy on the palate. But again, depending on where its planted and how it's handled, it can be very elegant and complex. The name suggests that Blau (Blue) and 'frankisch' (Franconian) that this grape was very highly regarded during Charlemagne's rule in the eighth century and earned the title of 'frankisch', or a noble grape. There is a deep-seated wine culture in Austria. It is exciting to see how the younger generation is maintaining this tradition and at the same time exploring new techniques to make their wines even better. We have a small selection of Austrian wines and the wineries that we have chosen to represent each offer a very unique expression of their region and of Austrian wine at its best.