Austria - The Growing Environment and Grape Growing - Grape Varieties

7 important questions on Austria - The Growing Environment and Grape Growing - Grape Varieties

What are the main (native) plantings of Austria?

2/3 is white
  1. Grüner veltliner 31%
  2. Zweigelt 14%
  3. Welschriesling
  4. Blaufrankisch
  5. Riesling
  6. Weissburgunder

Give the characteristics of Grüner Veltliner and where it can be found?

  • 32% of all plantings in Austria
  • prefers wetter soils; clay and loess to retain water
  • Late ripening, productive, hardy thick skins; canopy mngt necessary
  • skins contain chemical compound giving peppery aroma - characteristic of GV
  • m/h acidity, normally not oaked. Simple to complex.

Give the characteristics of Welschriesling in Austria.

  • Welschriesling; 2nd most planted white
  • high acidity, neutral aromas, ripens late
  • needs warm, nutrient rich soils
  • mainly found in Steiermark; fresh,neutral, unoaked dry wines
  • also in Burgenland around Neusiedlersee for sweet wines TBA and BA with noble rot; tropical aromas, dried fruit, ageing in bottle very good to outstanding.
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Explain the style of Riesling in Austria.

  • Riesling; 4% only
  • Important in Niederösterreich; Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal - here 2nd most planted white variety
  • On warmer sites, needs less water
  • Almost always dry; full bodied, m abv, ripe stone fruit and sometimes tropical fruit, high acidity, can age 10-20 years then nutty, honey and petrol.

What is Austria's most planted black variety? Where can it be found and what are the characteristics?

  • Zweigelt; most planted black variety, 14% of total
  • Blaufränkisch x St Laurent crossing
  • Bit of Blaufrankisch + weight & body from St Laurent
  • Ripens early, high yield, vigorous
  • Widely planted; ripens easy and not susceptible to frost or rot
  • m/m+ acidity m tannins, red cherry/red fruit dominant, easy unoaked but also full bodied oaked with potential for ageing
  • 2nd most planted grape overall
  • Mainly in Burgenland and Niederösterreich
  • Deep colour, soft tannins, bramble fruit

What is Austria's 2nd planted black variety? What are the characteristics?

  • Blaufränkisch/ Kekfrankos (5.5%)
  • Buds early, ripens late, needs warm climate -> only found in Burgenland (Neusiedlersee)
  • Thick skin, buds early, ripens late, high yields
  • Med tannins, hi acidity + sour cherry flavours, suited for oak ageing
  • DAC Leithaberg and DAC Mittelburgenland; pronounced black fruit, spicy oak character, high tannins

Sankt Laurent is the parent of the Zweigelt variety in Austria, what are the characteristics?

  • Sankt Laurent: Long thought to be Pinot Noir:
  • pale colour, lo tannins, cherry fruit, early ripening
  • Lo yields -> velvety, concentrated reds oak-friendly
  • Can be blended w Cab Sauv, Pinot Noir, Blaufrankisch or Zweigelt
  • Long established Austrian variety
  • Well adapted to Lower Austria & Burgenland, esp. northern shores of Neusiedlersee

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