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Consistently Excellent: Austrian Wines

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October 15, 2009

Austrian reds and whites hold their own in blind tasting against well-established labels 

In a blind tasting tour of Austrian wines recently held in New York, Chicago and Toronto, the media and key wine buyers consistently ranked wines from Austria more positively than top-ranking European wines with established US reputations. The three-day blitz, hosted by Mr. Michael Thurner of Austria´s Fine Brands , underscored how Austria´s cool Alpine climate creates an enormous variety of microclimates well-suited for high quality world-class wines.

Among the rising stars are the white wines Grüner Vetliner(comparable to a White Burgundy) and dry Riesling and the red wines St. Laurent (comparable to a Burgundy, northern Rhone or Granache), Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. A pleasant surprise occurred when two Austrian reds outranked the world-famous French Château Mouton Rothschild wine estate. Participating Austrian wineries were: Weingut Huber (Traisental) , Weingut Jurtschitsch (Kamptal), Weingut Markowitsch (Carnuntum), Weingut Johanneshof Reinisch (Thermenregion), Weingut Angerhof Tschida (Neusiedlersee), Weingut Weninger (Mittelburgenland), Weingut TFXT Arachon (Mittelburgenland), and Weingut Tement (Steiermark).

So what´s keeping these premium Austrian wines such a well-kept secret? According to Mr. Thurner, “We are at an exciting time in the Austrian wine market as a new generation has taken over many excellent wineries and is expanding production and markets for world-wide distribution. 75% of Austrian wines are still savored by Austrians in Austria, but that is changing as wineries are beginning to send their best wines to the US and other key growth markets.”