A recent article posted in the Wall Street Journal written by established wine journalist, Lettie Teague, raised some interesting points, many of which have left much to be discussed.
Without the mention of certain water now under the bridge, it’s important to recognize the history of Austrian wine in the US. There’s no point in beating around the bush. Austria, though one of the great wine regions of the world for centuries, really came back onto the scene in the early 2000’s after having experience a renaissance of sorts. Winemakers had been schooled in other long-standing, prestigious parts of the world learning techniques of other areas, the younger generations came forward to experiment with new techniques, and, of course, a more savvy understanding of what the world wants in its wine.
Let’s be clear, it wasn’t through any marketing technique that Grüner exploded on to the wine scene taking a hold on key placements in wine lists and developing the nickname, “the sommelier’s darling.” That is purely due to its ability to pair with food, it’s consistent deliciousness, and its point of different in the spectrum of the world’s wine. Grüner doesn’t try to be anything but Grüner… it has enough faces on its own without having an identity crisis.
But this isn’t about Grüner much like Ms. Teague’s article wasn’t about Grüner. In fact, it is about the contrary. She argues that, perhaps, Grüner’s time in the spotlight is dwindling and it’s time to focus on what else Austria has to offer. Whilst the argument of Grüner’s position is debatable, more importantly she brings attention to our other rising stars, particularly the reds.
We’re talking Riesling, Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Sauvignon Blanc from Styria, Neuberger, Wiener Gemischter Satz, and even Roter Veltliner and Zierfandler among others.
This is important.
Austria’s other regions and varieties are making a bigger impact in the US market and beyond and that is something to be celebrated. The increased focus on native varieties by winemakers outside of GV is showcased in their delicious examples of their wines.
Lettie did an extensive tasting of the wines and found many that she liked – check out the results here.
So what do you think? Which grapes are Austria’s “rising stars”?