In honor of the heat wave the entire East Coast of the US is experiencing we decided it was appropriate to feature the wine region of Austria named after a lake, Lake Neusiedl, that is (aka the Neusiedlersee.) Hopefully it will help cool us all down. (NOTE: pair this post with a glass of Grüner Veltliner for optimum enjoyment.)

The Neusiedlersee hugs the borders of Hungary and Carnuntum and is one of Burgenland’s  northernmost regions. Despite our pairing suggestion, the Neusiedlersee region is most famous for their sweet wines made from Welshriesling and wines made from the red, Zweigelt. The area is home to 7,649 hectares of vines that experience long hours of sunshine and an even longer growing season due to the hot, dry summers and cold winters the region experiences.

Here Botrytis is prominent not only because of the lake’s proximity to the vineyards, but additionally by the many salt lakes present throughout the vineyard plots. These bodies of water create high humidity and regular autumn fog which lead to Austria’s famous high-quality dessert wines categorized as Beeranauslese and Trokenbeeranauslese. The long ripening season also accounts for the residual sugar found even in the regions dryer whites which are fruit-intensive and generally classified as Auslese or Späteles. Here, full-bodied, supple red wines are a favorite of the young, innovative winemakers of the area most notably in the villages ofGols, Heideboden and Seewinkel.

In addition to Welshriesling and Zweigelt, the Neusiedlersee is also home to Chardonnay, Blaufränkisch, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir which are vinified in a variety of styles.