Austrian wines are mostly dry white wines (often made from the Grüner Veltliner grape), though some sweeter white wines (such as dessert wines made around the Neusiedler See) are also produced. About 30% of the wines are red, made from Blaufränkisch (also known as Lemberger, or as Kékfrankos in neighbouring Hungary), Pinot Noir and locally bred varieties such as Zweigelt. The country is also home to Riedel, makers of some of the most expensive wine glasses in the world. Some of the best producers of Austria include Weingut F.X. Pichler and Weingut Franz Hirtzberger, Weingut Hutter, Weingut Eigl and Wellanschitz.
- Item #: i_311874Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS Fabulous aromas of oolong tea and vanilla bean turn to pineapple, grapefruit and savory mineral detail on the palate in this exquisite Grüner Veltliner. Viscous, yet vibrant, this shows some spice on the finish. Brilliantly harmonious, yet should show even more with some age. Best from 2021 through 2031. 140 cases imported.
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS From the lower terraces of the eastern part of the single vineyard, next tor the Kremser Pfaffenberg and from weathered gneiss soils, the 2017 Ried Steinertal Gruner Veltliner Smaragd is from a cool terroir with high temperature variation between day and night (like the Red Schutt). The bouquet is very clear, fresh, flinty and coolish, with white fruit and lemony aromas intermixing with aromas of crushed stones. On the palate, this is a full-bodied and rich yet crystalline, highly elegant, refined Veltliner with tropical fruit such as mango but great refreshing piquancy. The astringent finish is alive and kicking and reflects a serious structure. Fabulous! Tasted in Unterloiben, Wachau, September 2018.
2017 was an early vintage straight from the start, says Leo Alzinger. The water storage was good due to a wet spring and the flowering was very good. In early June it became very dry and hot and the heat wave remained until the middle of August. The vineyards on shallow soils suffered at this time. Luckily the rain came back and rescued the grapes. The weather became fine again, with warm temperatures until the middle of September. The harvest started around the 11th or 12th of September, and most of the producers were surprised by the acidity levels of the grapes. The Riesling grapes had at least eight grams of total acidity, which is quite high even for the Wachau. In 2017, it was important to protect the grapes from the sun with leaf management, says Alzinger, who thinned only the east-facing side, leaving the west-facing side completely closed.
In early October, the rains came back but only for a short period, so there were no negative effects on the Gruner Veltliner grapes, according to Alzinger. The Riesling grapes were already perfectly ripe, with just a small percentage of botrytis. Temperatures of 18 to 19 Celsius in combination with wind in October caused further concentration of the Gruner Veltliner grapes, which pushed the potential alcohol levels up to 13.5 or even 14%. The acidity levels were still okay: between 5.3 and 5.5 grams per liter for the Gruner Veltliner Smaragds, whereas the corresponding Rieslings were at 7 to 7.5 grams per liter. If you'd like to compare the 2017 vintage to some forerunner vintages, 2015 and 2012 would be similar for Gruner Veltliner, whereas 2013 and 2016 are comparable for Riesling, says Alzinger. His 2017 Rieslings are refined, fresh and show a coolish minerality, especially from the cooler sites Steinertal and Liebenberg. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate.
- Item #: i_311317Bottle Size: 1LCharm and value typify these wines. Clean, cultured-yeast wines with lots of primary fruit, yet aging superbly. There's some land on the Gedersdorf plateau that's planted to red varieties. All the wines are made dry, of course. They use cultured yeasts to get slow fermentations and to preserve the utmost CO2. Berger is all stainless steel, of course.
Wine maker notes: This smells just like Zinfandel except more seductive and inviting; indeed it smells like the kind of Zin no one’s making any more since tout le monde started chasing fortified wine levels of alcohol. This is all cloves and blueberries; wonderful length of sweet fruit and ripe soft tannins; elegant poise of power and a sort of luscious solidity.
- Item #: i_306004Bottle Size: 1LYes, folks, this wine comes in a (1.0) liter bottle, which means you get to have more fun! Representing the fresh, crisp and refreshingly tangy side of Grüner Veltliner in the perennially-popular liter format, this is the bottling that Terry Theise calls the class of the [liter] category. Dry, crisp, and impeccably clean, this wine delivers delicious flavors of white flowers, pepper, and pink grapefruit, underscoredby an attractive leesiness - quintessential value Gruner Veltliner. Bottled under a crown cap; you'll need a bottle opener, not a corkscrew.
- Item #: i_372384Bottle Size: 1LThis is a fun and delicious project from sisters Birgit and Katrin Pfneisl. In addition to making wine with their father and uncles, who run the family estate in Austria, the sisters also farm their ancestral vines in Sopron, Hungary. From the outset, their Hungarian wines contrasted sharply with those from Austria. Organic farming, old vines and wild fermentation, all contribute to the finesse of their wines. They're lighter, prettier, less structured, more aromatic, so we were happy to discover Birgit and Katrin's increasing involvement in the Austrian estate. This Austrian red is composed of 100% Zweigelt grown in the Burgenland area. The grapes were macerated and fermented in stainless steel. The wine has an almost Beaujolais-like freshness, raspberry fruit notes and just the right amount of acidity on the finish.
- Item #: i_362354Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ENTHUSIAST 93 POINTS This wine's shy nose gives way to a still tightly wound palate. Its concentrated body holds ripe, bright lemon and salty sage flavors in a tight embrace. Driven and taut, it promises lasting refreshment.
- Item #: i_311873Bottle Size: 750mlJAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS A rich style of gruner veltliner with a great combination of exotic fruits and white pepper. Rich and fleshy on the palate with a lot of power at the textural finish. Drink or hold. Stuart Pigott.
- Item #: i_307462Bottle Size: 750MLJAMESSUCKLING.COM - 98 POINTS Brundlmayer's Lamm gruner veltliner used to run at up to 15% alcohol, but I much prefer this cool and reserved interpretation of the site at just 13%. Serious concentration of wild herb character, then the very clean, incredibly long finish make this a stunning wine. Slightly funky (from reduction), this will be better from 2018. Stuart Pigott.
- Item #: i_307463Bottle Size: 750mlBründlmayer uses only organic fertilizers in their vineyards, and cover crops are planted between rows. During harvest, multiple selections through the vineyard are made, as botrytis is never accepted. Grapes are never de-stemmed or crushed, and they are handled as minimally as possible. A tiny portion of grapes are held back, de-stemmed and macerated for 12 hours; Willi uses these as ‘seasoning’ during blending to add another dimension and tonality to the final wines.
Tasting Notes - "The entry to a lofty world of greatness, this “basic” wine from a truly great Riesling vineyard. (It’s sort of like going to the best concert ever but sitting in the back…) In any case, I buy it for my own cellar and find all that I need for rejoicing. The ’16 emphasizes a mid-range, toasted nutmeg and cinnamon, trumpet mushrooms just as they start to caramelize in the pan; the top notes are a bit nebulous but the mineral is more tangible. Lovely now, this wine is very much en-route." -Terry Theise
- Item #: i_307461Bottle Size: 750MLWINE ADVOCATE - 90 POINTS The 2017 Kamptal Gruner Veltliner Terrassen is stunningly flinty and reductive on the pure, elegant nose. This is a pure, fresh and mineral Veltliner with a long and juicy finish and stimulating salinity. Wow, this is one of the most exciting Veltliners you can find at this price point. In fact it's an archetype of the Kamptal with all its herbal, floral and most of all coolish, elegant expression. Salty and lush on the highly stimulating finish. Tasted September 2018.
Well matured, green walnut, elder flowers and citrus fruit, some cereals, nuts and cornflakes, very dry and fresh with quite some body and structure, also hints of leafy and peppery spice, rye bread and malt. A light bouquet of fresh green grapes, pome and stone fruit, classic Kamptal loss type with some mineral backbone mouthwatering finish.
- Item #: i_322058Bottle Size: 1LLight-bodied, crisp, and dry. Lemon and flowers on the nose precede a palate of creamy fruit and notes of pepper, ripe pears, and gooseberry. The finish is citrusy and stony with just enough fruit balanced with bright acids. At 12.5% alcohol, Der Pollerhof organic Grüner is a session quaffer, pure and simple. Like something found at a Heuriger (Austrian wine tavern).
- Item #: i_323124Bottle Size: 1LImporter notes from Terry Theise:
"Though I show it first we actually taste it last, after the big guys that precede it, not as a palate-reset but to show how it holds up. This joins the Setzer as the two snappiest of the ’15 Liters; it’s tensile and streamlined, pointed and brisk, with flavors of caraway seed. It isn’t rich but it’s also perfectly ripe. ~Terry Theise"
- Item #: i_372015Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS A stunning, expressive Riesling, with good tension between the powerful acidity and flavors, displaying violet, peach, lime and bitter almond notes. Sleek and vibrant, combining finesse with power. Floral in character, this merges elements of magnolia and saffron on the kaleidoscopic finish. Drink now through 2026. 81 cases imported.
The Emmerich Knoll estate is perhaps the most famous and well regarded in Austria’s Wachau. Knoll has holdings in the top vineyards around Loiben as well as the Grand Cru of Pfaffenberg in Kremstal, an impressively steep cliff located just where the Danube bends toward the town of Krems.
A warmer site, great for ripening and for exuberance. This Riesling is the highly prized, terraced section of vineyard just above Kreutles as the slope becomes more intensely steep.
- Item #: i_372019Bottle Size: 750mlJAMES SUCKLING - 90 POINTS A fresh and lively grüner veltliner with a lot of charm and plenty of green and yellow apple aromas, plus a hint of white pepper. Drink now. Stuart Pigott.
This winery has produced so many cult wines over the last decades that it would not be a problem to fill an entire book with their tasting notes." So goes the Falstaff Ultimate Wine Guide's entry on Knoll, one of the finest producers of the Wachau. This Federspiel from the Kreutles site is a superb example of medium-bodied Grüner with a single-vineyard stamp.
- Item #: i_372014Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90
JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS Both juicy and elegant with delicate snow-pea and herbal character, this is prototypical Wachau grüner veltliner. Quite a long, lively finish. Drink now.
From sandy loess and weathered primary rock soils Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Kreutles opens with a clear and aromatic bouquet of ripe, yellow-skinned apples. Medium-bodied and refreshingly piquant, this is a lean and elegant, straight and piquant, dry Veltliner with grip and lovely ripe-apple flavors in the finish.
- Item #: i_322292Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR - 93 POINTS A graceful, aromatic version, with aromas of spice and rose water and flavors of nectarine, clementine and coriander. This is lithe and slim yet complex and flavorful, delivering a lot of pleasure right now, but with the ability to age gracefully over the next decade. A saffron note emerges on the finish. Drink now through 2026. 35 cases imported. –AZ
WINE ADVOCATE 91+ POINTS The 2016 Durnsteiner Riesling Smaragd is the former Loibner Oberhauser, so the single vineyard has been downgraded to a village wine with the 2016 vintage but will always be sold as Smaragd. Coming from a terraced vineyard on crystalline bedrock, the 2016 has a clear and flinty bouquet with fresh vegetal, almost peppery aromas. On the palate, this is a clear, fresh, pure and elegant Riesling. It is lean and terribly fresh, full of minerals, grip and tension. The finish is pure and salty and displays white peach fruit aromas in the aftertaste. A classic, very characterful, finessed and age-worthy Riesling from the Wachau.
JAMES SUCKLING - 94 POINTS "Rippling with apricot, but still very young and lively, this is a dry riesling that could win over a chardonnay addict thanks to its ripeness, succulence and moderate acidity. A long, relatively supple finish. Better from 2018 and will mature for at least another 15 years."
FALSTAFF - 93 POINTS Bright yellow-green. Fine white tropical fruit, hints of passion fruit and pineapple, mineral nuances. Juicy, balanced, fine fruit sweetness, well integrated acidity, it sticks well, well developed, fine apricot fruit in the reverberation. "/ Feine weiße Tropenfrucht, ein Hauch von Maracuja und Ananas, mineralische Nuancen. Saftig, ausgewogen, feine Fruchtsusse, gut integrierte Saurestruktur, bleibt gut haften, gut entwickelt, feine Marillenfrucht im Nachhall."
- Item #: i_342385Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR - 90 POINTS This is high-toned, exuding elderflower, lemon, white peach and lentil flavors. Vibrant, with the bracing acidity driving the long finish. Drink now through 2023. 45 cases imported.
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Nuances of yellow tropical fruit, a bit of pineapple and mango, hints of flowers and honey; complex texture, elegant, fine acidity, good length; versatile food companion.
- Item #: i_307464Bottle Size: 750mlLiquid Air Conditioning in a bottle! A cool white for hot nights.
Looking for a gluggable, chuggable, carefree sipper to get you through the hot August days and a long Indian summer? Did we mention it's also Certified Organic and comes in a Liter bottle?
The Hofer HUM 2017 Gruner Veltliner was an instant hit in late Spring when we first introduced this dry white to our customers. It shows well with pear, lemon, and then a spicy endnote, which, in Gruner Veltliner, is often described as white pepper. It matches well with fish, chicken, dishes with tomatoes and spicy foods. It was perfect this summer for a dinner served with fresh sauteed fava beans. This wine also drinks amazingly great on the second day after being opened.
Gruner Veltliner is Austria's signature white grape, and has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years. It has become the love of the Sommelier set, making its way onto restaurant wine lists because of its food pairing versatility. The 2017 Hofer is clean, bright, sunny, has sound complexity and is all of $15.99 and that's for a Liter (1L), which is one-third more than a standard bottle of wine (750 ml). But honestly, this is a serious white wine that we wouldn't mind paying $25 for, since it effortlessly punches above its class. It also makes for a light quaffer at 12.5% alcohol.
The Bioweingut H. & M. (short for Hermann and Maria) Hofer from Auersthal, Weinviertel, is one of the pioneers of organic agriculture. Since the 1990s, cellar master Hermann Hofer manages his vines according to organic biological guidelines, since 2001, he operates a controlled organic agriculture by the group Bio-Ernte, whose standards exceed EU guidelines for organic grape growing.
Wine reviewer, Stephan Reinhardt for The Wine Advocate is also a fan of the Hofer winery and writes - "Based in Auersthal, just 20 kilometers away from Vienna 's northern suburbs, Weingut H. und M. Hofer farms 20 hectares of vines, mostly Gruner Veltliner (53%). Seventy percent of the production is white and all of the vineyards are cultivated organic in a fairly dry microclimate and on loess soils. Hermann Hofer aims to produce "unique and distinctive wines" that reflect their soils, the climate and the vintage, as well as the people who manufacture them. The winemaking is rather conventional. The handpicked grapes are pressed after some hours on the skins, fermented in stainless steel and result in classic Weinviertler wines. The Veltliners are especially worth a try. They are very clear and fruity, fresh and well structured, and finish with a stimulating minerality. These are serious wines with food that do not cost a fortune, rather the opposite."
- Item #: i_331142Bottle Size: 1LZweigelt is an Austrian classic. This variety was created in 1922, when Dr. Fritz Zweigelt crossed two grapes - St Laurent and Blaufränkisch.
The wine offers delicate strawberry, cherry and floral aromas. On the palate it is medium-bodied, lively and refreshing, beautifully balanced. A long and pleasant finish. Enjoy as an aperitif or with any light fare with friends.
- Item #: i_365521Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ENTHUSIAST - 91 POINTS Hints of ripe Mirabelle and yellow apple show on the rather restrained nose. The palate adds bright, lemony freshness and zesty, pleasant citrus pith to the fruit, creating a texture alive with juiciness and shot through with freshness. It leaves a lasting, lemony aftertaste.
- Item #: i_303971Bottle Size: 750mlGrape: 100% Pinot Noir
Light pink color, fresh aroma of strawberries and cherries, fresh and harmonious on the palate with light finish.
- Item #: i_333311Bottle Size: 750mlA Pet-Nat in our Austrian section. This skin contact, unfiltered sparkling wine made of Pinot Grigio, and has intense apple notes, and fun to the core, with a complex nose. Serve chilled. Natural wine. Biodynamic and Demeter Certified.
- Item #: i_333309Bottle Size: 750mlA delicious orange-rose-colored wine with a bouquet and palate of lychee, hibiscus and white flowers. The grapes are Pinot Gris and Welschriesling, and receives 10 days skin contact. This is a still wine. Crown cap. Serve chilled. Natural wine. Biodynamic and Demeter Certified.