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Tasting notes from Austria

text and photographs © 2013 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on the Wines of Austria.

Groszer Wein, Burgenland

UK importer for Groszer Wein will be the newly established, who do not yet appear to be trading as of time of writing (November 2013).


White Wines

Groszer Wein, Gemischter Satz 2012, Austria
The name means 'field blend', from old mixed vineyards of Pinot Blanc, Welschriesling, Muskateller, Traminer and other varieties. Very pleasing, fresh nose of apple and a touch of something peachy, with gentle herbal, delicately nettly notes. Lovely palate: silky smooth texture, with a little bit of grip and tannin, very good acidity. Fresh citrus and orchard fruits give energy and a clear lemony, salty, mineral finish. Grown on slate, rich in iron too. Only 1% is matured in small barrels, the rest in steel. 88/100. This and the red wine below sell locally for around 9€ for a one-litre bottle.

Red Wines

Groszer Wein, Blaufränkisch 2011, Austria
Plenty of deep colour, with lovely big meaty, gamy nose, lots of dry, full black fruit of bramble and spice and a touch of earthiness. The palate has plenty of sweet fruit, but also that big sour, raft of acidity, that touch of salty mineral quality, the black fruit intensity is good and the tannins are really quite smooth and grippy. 50% on slate and 50% on loam clay. 1600 litre barrels for one year. Spontaneous fermentation. 88/100.

Groszer Wein, Rote Küvee 2012, Austria
A wine that came about "after a discussion of what to do with all the stuff that was planted in the 80s and 90s - the Cab and Merlot." In fact it is 30% Zweigelt, the rest made up of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The international varieties matured in barrique and 500 litre barrels, the Austrian in 1600 litre casks. Lots of cedary, elegant finesse, with some bloody notes and again the dry bloodiness of the Zweigelt marrying nicely. On the palate good energy and life about this, a liquorice and cedar edge to the black fruit and that nice tart, sour cherry acidity cutting through. Some good spice and a touch of chocolaty sweetness adds more balance. Really delicious stuff. 88-89/100. 12.90€ locally.

Groszer Wein, Blaufränkisch Saybritz 2011, Austria
Only from vineyards that are 30 years old or older. 100% Blaufränkisch, bottled one month ago. Starts in equal portions of barriques and big casks, then into 500 litre barrels with tops removed. Really deep and glossy stuff, the purity of the fruit is so deep and fine, a blue/black intensity, licked with mocha and chocolate, plummy and deep. The palate has that lovely lick of saltiness again, the energy and the edge that is deliciously fresh, but married to the deep fruit and spice, concentrated and layered. Long and finishing on fruit extract and spice, that twist of cherry and plum skin to give a bittersweet quality. 92/100. 29€ locally. Released December 1st.

Groszer Wein, Blaufränkisch Szapary 2011, Austria
Another expression of Blaufränkisch from a vineyard 500 meters away, planted only on slate and from a slightly cooler site. Made only in the big 1600 litre barrels. Very fine mineral and graphite nose, a little more ashy and mineral, lovely pepper and spice, but refined and has less fat than the Saybritz. Very linear and dry on the palate too, driven by the cool core of blue/black fruit, something more steely about it, something that reveals itself more slowly. Terrific steel at the core of this, graphite and long and deliciously refined. 93/100. 29€ locally.

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