Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Backgrounder on Austrian wines

Austrian wines have received international acclaim over the last few years, especially after the phenomenal blind tasting where a judging panel made up of top sommeliers, international wine journalists and restaurateurs ranked Austrian Grüner Veltliners (a local grape in Austria) above the top French wines (especially white Burgundies). This tasting instantly put Austrian wines in the limelight, and they have since been represented in wine lists in prestigious restaurants owned by top chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Charlie Trotter, Alain Ducasse and Wolfgang Puck.

The majority of Austrian wines are hand-crafted and produced by family-owned wineries. Customers are therefore ensured of styles that are unique to the terroir and philosophy of the wine makers. Many of the wines are also based on indigenous grape varieties. Particularly noteworthy are the country’s fresh and crispy white wines and excellent sweet wines, while gaining prominence are the country’s elegant, medium to full-bodied red wines. Austrian wines also promise value-for-money.

Not only have Austrian wines excited wine lovers overseas, it also made a deep impression with local wine journalists at blind tastings held in Singapore.

Austrian Pinot Noirs showed their impressive top class status at an international blind tasting held in Singapore on August 4th. The tasting, which was organised by Michael Thurner, the former general manager of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, comprised a total of 34 international wines from the vintages 2001-2008. Of these wines, 12 Austrian Pinot Noirs placed amongst the top 20! And the competition was tough: the Austrians successfully triumphed not only over many familiar names from Burgundy, but also over wines from the New World (overseas). The results of this tasting show how much of an impression we’re making on the international stage with our high class red wines,” said an enthusiastic Willi Klinger, the general manager of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. “For a long time, we were known around the world for our white wines only, but now we are more and more being associated with our world-class red wines as well.”

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