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01 December 2006

Austria: Mittelburgenland, 2006 vintage, festive breaks

Mittelburgenland is Austria's first red wine region to adopt appellation or DAC status - bizarrely they decided to use the Latin words Districtus Austriae Controllatus, although perhaps easier to grasp than in German - for wines made from and typical of the Blaufränkisch grape variety, from the 2005 vintage. Where's that you may well ask? It's a small area in the far east bordering Hungary. Outside of Austria, you have to question whether this will help wine lovers understand Austrian wines better. The same could be said for the other DAC appellation, Weinviertel for Grüner Veltliner. However, they are trying to associate origin and actual taste by limiting it to each region's main variety. Mittelburgenland is a smaller part of Burgenland where Blaufränkisch makes up over half the vineyard area. As I've always argued, if terroir shapes unique character in wines, it has to be on a measurable scale to have any meaning. By basing the DAC on the variety that growers agree suits the area's climate etc best, it might be a good idea and send out a clearer message, with a little explanation and tasting of course. To read the full release on the their website, click here.
Some other Austrian wine tit-bits that have come my way:
The 2006 vintage is looking very promising, according to growers in all of Austria's wine regions, with good ripeness and sugar levels coupled with balanced acidity. The downside is a reduced crop of flagship variety Grüner Veltliner. More info here.
If you're thinking of going to Austria for Christmas or New Year, there are a few wineries with a restaurant and accommodation that are doing festive slap-up meal packages. Saziani Neumeister is one of them, based in Straden in southeast Styria. Talking of which, Weingut Polz is another estate worth visiting in the region; their excellent Sauvignon Blanc has been attracting a lot of attention recently in various magazines.

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