This past weekend marked the annual Mohegan Sun Casino Winefest in Uncaseville, CT featuring some of America’s top brands and CT super stars…you can bet Austrian wines were there!

On the Frederick Wildman Imports table, we had the Grooner Gruner Veltliner 2010 ($11.99)- crisp, delicious, and super fun. You can bet this was a big hit at the event. Only downfall…our friendly Grooner Girl was not there to represent the wine!

Here’s a little more about it: Grooner comes from the vineyards or Meinhard Forstreiter, another wine in the portfolio of Monika Caha – but is a brand specially made for the US by Monika Caha, herself. The wine was created to help ease the North American marketing into Gruner Veltliner so that customer’s could pronounce the grape and feel less intimidated. It’s a great entry-level Gruner Veltliner that can be enjoyed with or without food and is amiable to its setting.

Moving onward, we visited Slocum and Sons and discovered the Eder Gruner Veltliner from the Wachau. On the table they had both the 2009 Gruner Veltliner and a single vineyard Gruner Veltliner, Raubern 2006, for patrons to taste.

The 2009 was bright, fruity, high-acid and quite pleasant, but it was the 2006 that blew us away. There was great complexity to the wine and after tasting it we were surprised to learn it was a 2006 considering the vibrancy of the fruit, citrus and wine in general.

Eder is a member of the Vinea Wachau, but neither of these wines were classified as Steinfeder, Federspiel, or Smaragad (though there is a Federspiel and a Smaragd available in the US.) The estate is located in the Mautern region of the Wachau and has an annual production of only 20,000 bottles!

Around the corner from this wine at the same table we spotted the Johanneshof Reinisch Pinot Noir 2008. This was the only red wine from Austria we spotted at the event and it was a big hit! This Pinot Noir is deeper style of Pinot Noir, but it still elegant bursting with red fruit flavors and a touch of minerality from the limestone soils on which it is grown.

A little bit about the winery:

We are the fourth generation of our family to make wine in Tattendorf. At the beginning, in the year 1923, the area we used to cultivate our grapevines consisted of a plot just barely half a hectare in size in the Ried Mitterfeld vineyard. Today, we grow grapes on ca. 40 ha of vineyards, mostly in the area around Tattendorf as well as in Gumpoldskirchen and Guntramsdorf. 1995 saw the construction of the new winemaking facility of Johanneshof Reinisch, at the address “Im Weingarten 1” near Tattendorf. This provided ideal conditions for the production of fine wines. We now have the most modern cellar technology for all aspects of winemaking, including sorting equipment, electronically regulated presses, facilities for monitored fermentation, and a large barrel cellar which was constructed according to the traditional method using old bricks. For a detailed depiction of the history of Johanneshof Reinisch, please click here.

Overall, it was a good day for Austrian wine and it wasn’t surprising to see so many enthused wine consumers flocking to the tables for a taste. The wines were showing well and paired well with the raw bar provided by Jasper’s Summer Shack… we’re not afraid to admit we indulged in an oyster (or three) beside our Gruner Veltliner.