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Austria & Eastern Europe - Top Producers of Austria

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
Photo: Weingut Familie Nigl wines © Provided by DKBooks Weingut Familie Nigl wines

Cellar at Weingut Wieninger on the outskirts of Vienna

Photo: Cellar at Weingut Wieninger on the outskirts of Vienna © Provided by DKBooks Cellar at Weingut Wieninger on the outskirts of Vienna

Weingut Erich & Walter Polz wine

Weingut Familie Nigl wines

Top Producers of Austria

F X Pichler - Niederösterreich

location: Oberloiben 27, Loiben
telephone number: 02732 85 3 75
wine styles: white, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Kellerberg Riesling, Loibner Berg Grüner Veltliner

Like Franz Hirtzberger, F X has celebrity status in Austria. He only has a 7.5-ha vineyard but supplements his production with bought-in Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. His top Smaragde are modern legends, particularly those marked “M” for monumental. Look for the powerful Grüner Veltliner from the Kellerberg and the Loibner Berg. Like all his wines, the Rieslings can be austere when young, but they develop magnificently—the Loibner Berg and Kellerberg are leaders here, too. There is also a rare sweet wine, made only in exceptional years.


Nikolaihof - Niederösterreich

location: Mautern
telephone number: 02732 82 9 01
website: www.nikolaihof.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Cuvée Elizabeth, Steiner Hund Riesling

It may be tucked away on the south side of the Danube, but Nikolaihof is not to be ignored. The wines are organic, grown in 16 ha of the Wachau and Stein. Austere, quite angular Rieslings are harvested from Vom Stein, Im Weingebirge, and the Steiner Hund. There are some interesting blends, such as Cuvée Elizabeth—named after one of the Saahs’ daughters—from Chardonnay and Neuburger. In season, the Saahs family runs a serious restaurant in their beautiful house, whose foundations date from Roman times.


Weingut Bründlmayer - Niederösterreich

location: Zwettler Str 23, Langenlois
telephone number: 02734 21 720
website: www.bruendlmayer.at
wine styles: red, white, sparkling, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1990
recommended wines: Alte Reben: Riesling, Grüner Veltliner; Sekt

Austria’s best all-arounder, Willi Bründlmayer makes over a dozen wines on his 50-ha estate. His top bottlings are the powerful Alte Reben (old-vine) Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings, but it would be hard to fault his creamy Chardonnay or the oak-aged Grauburgunder. Delicious dessert wines occasionally feature, and there are also some good reds—particularly Pinot Noir. The Sekt is one of the most measured in Austria—the best home-grown alternative to champagne.


Weingut Familie Nigl - Niederösterreich

location: Priel 7, Senftenberg
telephone number: 02719 26 09
website: www.weingutnigl.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Senftenberger Piri Riesling, Senftenberger Hochäcker Riesling

The Familie Nigl is a top producer of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling from primary rock soils above Senftenberg. Look for the Kremsleiten, Senftenberger Piri, and Hochäcker sites—their wines compare with Wachau’s best. There are also some occasional dessert wines made from Chardonnay.


Weingut Familie Pitnauer - Niederösterreich

location: Weinbergstr 6, Göttlesbrunn
telephone number: 02162 82 49
website: www.pitnauer.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Bienenfresser, Franz Josef

The senior member of the local Göttlesbrunn pack, Hans Pitnauer excels at full-bodied red wines like Bienenfresser, a pure Zweigelt, and Franz Josef (named after Pitnauer’s father and grandfather), a blend of Zweigelt, Cabernet Sauvignon, and St-Laurent or Syrah. He also produces experimental wines such as Grüner Veltliner vermouth.


Weingut Franz Hirtzberger - Niederösterreich

location: Kremserstr 8, Spitz an der Donau
telephone number: 02713 22 09
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Honivogl Grüner Veltliner Smaragd

Hirtzberger is a key producer of the Wachau and the second generation of dry wine producers on the family estate. His powerful, and sometimes very alcoholic, Honivogl Grüner Veltliner is a model for all other Smaragde. Superbly long, complex Rieslings come from Hochrain and the Singerriedl.


Weingut Högl - Niederösterreich

location: Viessling 31, Spitz an der Donau
telephone number: 02713 84 58
website: www.weingut-hoegl.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Rieds Schön Grüner Veltliner, Bruck Riesling

Ten years ago it was inconceivable that any other Wachau grower should break in on the big four (Pichler-Hirtzberger-Prager-Knoll), but Högl has succeeded with the magnificent wines he makes in Spitz and Loiben. Look out for Rieds Schön (Grüner Veltliner) and Bruck (Riesling), both model Wachau wines.


Perfect case: Austria

Weingut K Alphart - Niederösterreich

location: Wiener Str 46, Traiskirchen
telephone number: 02252 25 3 28
website: www.alphart.com
wine styles: white, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Neuburger

The best grower in the Thermenregion, Karl Alphart has found a middle way between tradition and modernity. Most of his wines made from Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, or Neuburger are bone-dry, but in a good year he makes the best spicy BAs and TBAs around .


Weingut Knoll - Niederösterreich

location: Unterloiben 10, Loiben
telephone number: 02732 79 3 55
website: www.knoll.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Schütt Grüner Veltliner

The quiet voice of distinction in the Wachau, year in, year out, Knoll makes some of the best Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings in this area. Look for the Schütt Veltliner in particular, which in a good year can have a wonderful scent of pineapples. The Loibenberg wine is also magnificently structured. Knoll’s best results with Riesling come from the Loibenberg and the Kellerberg sites. Occasional dessert wines are also produced.


Weingut Malat - Niederösterreich

location: Lindengasse 27, Furth bei Göttweig
telephone number: 02732 82 9 34
website: www.malat.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, sparkling, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Blauburgunder

Former skier and race-car driver Gerald Malat produces a dazzling array of wines from his 30-ha vineyard. His reds—an internationally inclined Bordeaux blend and a Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir)—are very exciting, and his whites are not far behind. There is a new-wave, oaky Chardonnay, and a Weissburgunder inspired by Italy, as well as Riesling and Grüner Veltliner wrought in a more local idiom.


Weingut Prager - Niederösterreich

location: Weissenkirchen 48
telephone number: 02715 22 48
website: www.weingutprager.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Riesling Achleiten, Riesling Klaus, Riesling Steinriegl

Franz Prager was one of the pioneers of dry wines in the Wachau. Now made by his son-in-law, Toni Bodenstein, complex, opulent Riesling dominates here, with the best wines coming from Achleiten, Klaus, and Steinriegl. Prager likes to claim its land in Ried Ritzling as the origin of the grape variety.


Weingut Wieninger - Vienna (Wien)

location: Stammersdorfer Str 80, Stammersdorf
telephone number: 01290 10 12
website: www.wieninger.at
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Nussdorf Gemischter Satz, Select Chardonnay

Fritz Wieninger transcends the image of the more traditional Vienna grower by making modern, sophisticated wines that sell in high-class restaurants and distinguished wine shops in the city. His business now spans both sides of the Donau (Danube). He makes an old-fashioned Gemischter Satz in Nussdorf—a blend of all the grapes in the vineyard, some of which are unidentified. His most famous wines, however, are his creamy, international-style Chardonnays (Select and Grand Select). It is hard to imagine that wines like his Pinot Noir and Cabernet-Merlot blend come from a Viennese Heurige, or inn.


Josef Pöckl - Burgenland

location: Baumschulgasse 12, Mönchhof
telephone number: 02173 80 2 58
website: www.poeckl.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Admiral, Rosso e Nero

Pöckl is a comparative newcomer on the scene, but is now acknowledged to be one of the best, if not the best, red winemaker in Austria. He makes Zweigelt, Syrah, Nebbiolo, and Zinfandel, but his top wines are the multi-faceted Admiral (Zweigelt plus Cabernet and Merlot) and Rosso e Nero (Zweigelt plus Cabernet, Blaufränkisch, Syrah, Merlot, and St-Laurent). Rosso e Nero is one of the most sought-after wines in the country today.


Umathum - Burgenland

location: St Andräer Str 7, Frauenkirchen
telephone number: 02172 24 4 00
website: www.umathum.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Haideboden, Hallebühl, Jois Pinot Noir

Peppi Umathum was one of the movers and shakers in the 1980s, when he created some of the first red blends in Burgenland, and they are still some of his best wines: Haideboden (Zweigelt-Merlot) and Hallebühl (Zweigelt-Blaufränkisch-Cabernet Sauvignon). His straight raspberry-scented St-Laurent and his latest release, a chunky Pinot Noir from the Jois site, are also superb.


Weingut Familie Gesellmann - Burgenland

location: Langegasse 65, Deutschkreutz
telephone number: 02613 80 360
website: www.gesellmann.at
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Bela Rex, Blaufränkisch Creitzer, Ried Sigloss Pinot Noir

The wines here are now made by Albert Gesellman, who cut his teeth in South Africa and California and so brings an international perspective to this family estate. There are whites, but the delights here are the reds, particularly the rich Blaufränkisch Creitzer, the deep-colored Pinot Noir from Ried Siglos, and the Bordeaux blend, Bela Rex—possibly the most admired of its type in Austria.


Weingut Gernot & Heike Heinrich - Burgenland

location: Baugarten 60, Gols
telephone number: 02173 31 7 60
website: www.heinrich.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Pannobile Weiss, Salzberg Cuvée

Gernot Heinrich is young and impatient and has already made wine in a variety of styles. Every year a wine is lost, but it is always replaced by something new. The consolation is that whatever he hatches turns out to be good, from his well-balanced Chardonnay to his more complex Pannobile Weiss blend; from his Zweigelt to his Salzberg Cuvée (Zweigelt-Blaufränkisch-Merlot-Syrah), currently one of the most trendy wines in Austria. This is made in garage wine quantities and sells at an outrageous price.


Weingut Juris - Burgenland

location: Marktgasse 12-18, Gols
telephone number: 02173 22 03
website: www.juris.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Strohwein

Axel Stiegelmar has taken over from his father Georg at Juris, which was one of the first estates in Austria to gain a reputation for red wines. Those wines are still there: exemplary rich St-Laurent and weighty Pinot Noir, Inamera (Cabernet-Merlot) and St Georg (Pinot Noir, St-Laurent, and Zweigelt). As for the whites, he makes classy Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and some very good, luscious Strohwein and other sweet wines.


Weingut Prieler - Burgenland

location: Hauptstr 181, Schützen im Gebirge
telephone number: 02684 22 29
website: www.prieler.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Prieler Blaufränkisch Goldberg, Weissburgunder

Often overlooked at home, Engelbert Prieler is a consistently good winemaker and a deft hand with the difficult Blaufränkisch grape, managing to preserve the delicate fruit flavors despite his use of new oak. The white wines are Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Chardonnay, which he vinifies in an international way while retaining a fine acidity. He also excels at Cabernet Sauvignon, which is sometimes combined with Zweigelt.


Weinlaubenhof Kracher - Burgenland

location: Apetloner Str 37, Illmitz
telephone number: 02175 33 77
website: www.kracher.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Zwischen den Seen, Nouvelle Vague

Alois “Luis” Kracher may be the best-known face of Austrian wine abroad, since he started making wine in California in 1998. At home in Illmitz he presides over a tiny patch of land, but buys in botrytis-affected grapes from all over Austria to make his sumptuous sweet wines: Zwischen den Seen—the traditional range vinified in acacia casks—and Nouvelle Vague, made in new French barriques. Varietal Welschriesling, Scheurebe, and Traminer all give him wonderful results, too, but these days a Kracher BA or TBA is often a blend.


Tement - Steiermark

location: Berghausen, Zieregg 13, Ehrenhausen
telephone number: 03453 41 0 10
website: www.tement.at
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Zieregg Morillon, Zieregg Sauvignon Blanc, L u T Welschriesling

Manfred Tement is one of the most popular producers in Austria. He makes wonderful wines, but also manages to keep abreast of trends. The Tement series starts with the L u T (light and dry) Welschriesling, and works up in price and quality to the Zieregg Morillon (Chardonnay) with use of malolactic and lashings of oak. In the middle of the range is an aromatic Zieregg Sauvignon Blanc, which is vinified in steel to preserve its freshness.


Weingut Erich & Walter Polz - Steiermark

location: Grassnitzberg 54a, Spielfeld
telephone number: 03453 23 010
website: www.polz.co.at
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Grassnitzberg Weissburgunder, Hochgrassnitzberg: Morillon, Sauvignon Blanc

Brothers Erich and Walter Polz produce good quantities of superlative Steiermark wines at this family winery. Among them are a steely Welschriesling, finely structured Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) from the Grassnitzberg, and their workhorse—a multi-layered Chardonnay (Morillon) from the Hochgrassnitzberg. The same vineyard also yields a wonderfully perfumed Sauvignon Blanc, and an oaky Chardonnay is produced from Ried Obegg. They are all superb.

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