We don’t just call it “liquid gold” for fun – there’s a reason the sweet wines of Burgenland, particularly those bordering Lake Neusiedl , have earned this title.
After our departure from our friends in Vienna, we headed down to Illmitz, home of Weingut Kracher, one of the best-known wineries for this style of wine. The evening brought us from the hotel bar to Johannes Zeche, a local heurigen in the region, and one of the Kracher family’s favorite joints.
We were joined by Gerhard Kracher and his wonderful companion, Yvonne, and were served a plethora of wine including:
2011 Cuvee Auslese
2010 Muskat Ottonel Auslese
2008 Illmitz Reserve
2010 Cuvee Beerenauslese
2010 Trockenbeerenauslese N° 3 (Zwischen den Seen)
2010 Trockenbeerenauslese N° 6 cuvee (Nouvelle Vague)
2010 Trockenbeerenauslese N° 7 (Zwischen den Seen)
1998 Trockenbeerenauslese N° 7 (Nouvelle vague)
2009 Trockenbeerenauslese N° 7 (Nouvelle vague)
2010 Trockenbeerenauslese N° 11 (Zwischen den Seen)
We were also given the pleasure of tasting the Kracher and Sohm Weinviertel Gruener Veltliner and a Blaufraenkisch not available in the US.
Without giving too much away about each wine – why don’t you taste them for yourself? – there is something one must know about Austrian wine. Although these wines are sweet, the rarity for the country, they are balanced with high acidity which makes them enjoyable and drinkable even whilst their honey-like texture shows off their sweeter side. We call it “liquid gold,” not only for the exceptional character the wines offer, but also for their ability to express their sense of place with such ease.
The night was full of fanfare and excitement, including a special performance of a local violin and piano act as well as a dessert of Kracher-wine infused cheeses.
A little about Illmitz:
Illmitz is a region in Burgenland, Austria, specifically the Neusiedlersee, which is earns its name from the lake of same name. The region is best-known for its production of sweet wines which thrive here due to the proximity of the lake which causes the production of Noble Rot (botrytis.) A combination of fog and humidity allow for consistent production, year after year. Diverse soils allow for the production of different varieties particularly Welschriesling and Zweigelt, but also Chardonnay, Schurebe, St. Laurent, Blaufraenkisch, and more.
An interesting fact: here the natural water table is quite shallow and, as a result, all of the “cellars” you will find here are above ground. Another fun fact is the large storks greatly enjoy the area and it’s common to see them perched in giant nests upon many buildings.
We would like to extend a big THANK YOU to Gerhard Kracher for his incredible hospitality and, as always, his delicious wines.