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Austrian red wines shine quietly

on 21/02/11 at 10:02 am


Some wines charm with rustic roots in an obscure and hilly corner of the world, farmed by humble folk. Some succeed by blank uniformity – bland grapes polished through technology to be acceptable, their provenance irrelevant.

Austria‘s reds fit into neither category, and hallelujah for that. Their origins are hardly backwaters – they’re proximate to Vienna‘s urban bustle – and while tradition might reveal a rustic cellar or two, Austrian winemakers embrace every modern trapping.

These aren’t offbeat bottles for the nerdy. The country’s key red grapes – Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent – can evoke the more familiar Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and the like. And they are accessible; 1-liter bottles of gulpable Zweigelt are easy to locate, priced barely above the equivalent of $10 per bottle. For $15 or $20, you can uncover a wine that might cost 50 percent more if grown elsewhere in the world.

So what’s not to like?

If Austrian whites, notably the bulletproof Gruner Veltliner, have gained a certain fashion, the country’s red wines are its great untold success story.

{Full story via SF Chronicle}

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