Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Austrian Wine Region

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 5:28 PM

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In most of America you would not be seeking out a great white wine in nearly-mid-November.  As we are well aware, however, New Orleans is not "most of America."  The recent cool evenings may hint at winter coming just around the corner but until then the hot sunny days keep our convertible tops down and the white wine flowing.--

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It was in that frame of mind that I ordered a white wine before dinner last night and was rewarded with one of the best white wines I have had in a really long time.  A 2007 Stadt Krems Grüner Veltliner "Kremstal" from Austria's newly indoctrinated Kremstal DAC (explained below).   Grüner Veltliner is a wine similar to Pinot Grigio but more consistently good (imho) and with richer and more complex flavors.  This wine was intense and full bodied with classic Grüner  flavors of superripe pear, spice, and stone fruit.  The finish was long and smooth with fresh citrus and tropical fruit flavors lingering for ages.  The wine was absolutely outstanding.  Emeril's Delmonico sells it by the glass for $10 and you should be able to buy it by the bottle for $16-$20 elsewhere in the city.  It is imported by Vin DiVino in Chicago so if you can not find it, ask your local wine shop to get it in for you.

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Austria is an interesting wine region that is too frequently overlooked by all but the most enthusiastic of wine aficionados. In 1985 there was a scandal involving wine makers adding diethylene glycol ( a poisonous alcohol) to their wines.  The biggest injury was to the reputation of the négociants and, sadly, to the wine reputation of Austria as a whole.  As a result of this Austrian wine laws were revamped and are now among the most stringent in the world.

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-Not much Austrian wine makes it out of the country and what does generally gets quaffed in Germany.  That leaves very little for the USA but when you can find them, they are usually worth the effort.  The Kremstal region, where the wine I had last night originates, is one of the three most well known regions in the country - the other two are Wachau and Kamptal - and the 2007 vintage is the first for the region to carry the label designation Kremstal DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus).  The Kremstal region is the fourth of Austria's 19 wine-growing areas to take DAC classification, a classification system similar to the French or Italian systems, used as an indication of origin and quality,  since the DAC was introduced in 2003.To qualify for the DAC label a wine must be made from Riesling or Grüner Veltliner,  grown in the Kremstal region, and must pass quality tests including a clean, crisp, peppery-spice flavour and no discernible wood flavour.   It also must have alcohol levels between 12% and 12.5%.-

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You may not heed my advice on this until the weather turns warm again but believe me, you will thank me when you do.  And if you do like this wine, here are the top 5 rated Grüner Veltliner from the same region - according to Wine Spectator:-

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Meinhard Forstreiter Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kremstal Tabor

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Malat Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kremstal Das Beste Von Grosse Reserve

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Nigl Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kremstal Privat

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Winzer Krems Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kremstal Edition Chremisa

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Meinhard Forstreiter Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kremstal Schiefer

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Cheers!

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