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 Waitrose now stocks 18 Austrian wines

10. February 2012

The quality of Austrian wine has been transformed over the past 20 years and the country is now unquestionably one of the world's most exciting sources of elegant, perfumed reds and pure, mineral whites.

Austria's current reputation has been built on its ability to reliably produce high-quality, dry, aromatic and zesty whites. The king and queen of Austrian grapes are the white varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, which both produce appetisingly crisp, pure and elegant wines. The former is richer and more pungently aromatic - white pepper and fresh green plums being characteristic. The latter is more delicate and lithe on the palate, with citrus zest flavours and a satisfying chalky, mineral texture. Both varieties are usually deliciously vibrant upon release, but can also age very well, developing an attractive richness and depth after a few years in bottle.

Austria also produces some very fine reds from the indigenous grape varieties of Blaufränkisch, St Laurent and Zweigelt. All three varieties produce wines with good acidity, lendinga delicious freshness to the ripe fruit flavours. St Laurent produces wines similar to Pinot Noir, with a delicate, complex perfume and a sumptuously soft, lighter-bodied palate. Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt produce fuller wines and often receive more oak maturation, which adds spicy, toasted notes.

The most famous white wine regions are found to the west of Vienna, on terraced vineyards along the banks of the Danube and its tributaries the Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal. Red wines flourish further south in the warmer Burgenland and Thermenregion. We have put together one of the finest ranges of Austrian wines in the UK, with world-famous producers such as Domäne Wachau, Bründlmayr, Felsner, Feiler-Artinger, Hartl and Rabl.

The range showcases the diversity of Austrian wines and provides plenty of interest for wine lovers keen to explore what the country has to offer.

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Text: Ken Mackay - Waitrose - Wine, Beer and Spirits List - Winter 2011/Spring 2012

For more information on Austrian wine, please contact Caroline LLoyd - london@advantageaustria.org

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