To be honest with you guys I have never been a huge connoisseur of Austria and Austrian wines. The first time I tasted the national hero Gruner Veltliner I wasn't so surprised. But then I dug deeper, and I found loads of gems!
As you know Austria is situated in the center of Europe and the vineyard area is mainly located on the eastern part of the country, bordering Hungary. There are in total three main wine regions (Niederösterreich, Burgenland and Steiemark) and 16 small. It is a land of white wines, around 65%, and among them the king is certainly the fresh and flavorful Grüner Veltliner, that alone covers about 1/3 of the total area.
Here viticulture dates back to Roman times. Evidence of vineyard cultivation surrounding Carnuntum and Thermenregion suggests that vines were planted here 2000 years ago. The steep terraces along the Danube River and its tributaries in Wachau and Kamptal were built by monks from monasteries in Bavaria and Salzburg. The vineyards of Vienna have a rich tradition of Heurigen (meaning both wine tavern and the wine served inside), where locals can enjoy the proprietor's homemade wines.
Very little Mediterranean influence makes it over the Alps into Austria, creating a strongly continental climate, with pronounced temperature shifts from day to night and from summer to winter.
In the past, wines of Austria were associated with sweet and mass produced products, often made of Grüner Veltliner and Müller Thurgau. Nowadays we are experiencing a shift in generation and more attentive winemakers are conquering the scene!
What is happening quite often is that sons and daughters of traditional winemakers are taking over the family business bringing a fresh and innovative style. Focusing on organic agriculture and a less interventionist approach they are able to offer a more contemporary product to the international market.
In the store you can find a small selection of the wines made by Fred Loimer, really a pioneer in the Austrian natural wine scene.