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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.

Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Weinviertel

Zuschmann-Schöffmann does not have a UK importer at present, but they do sell internationally from their own online shop.

White Wines

bottles Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Grüner Veltliner Weinviertel DAC 2012, Austria
The higher volume blend, made from grapes from various vineyards in the region, but all organically grown. Lovely peppery Grüner nose, dry fruit skins and good apple aromas. A little yeasty, biscuit richness. Lovely mouth-filling stuff, lots of texture and juiciness, good tart acidity and nicely rich. No sulphur after fermentation. 12.5%. 6.20 Euro locally. 87/100.

Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Grüner Veltliner Muschelkalk 2012, Austria
Named after the mussel shells found in the soils of the vineyard. This is a poor, dry soil hated by farmers but loved by quality wine growers. Quite a deep emerald green colour. Beautiful nose adding a touch of fig but also of something racy and mineral and citrusy, with a lovely freshness. The palate is more tight, refined and long, not quite so abundantly fruity but has that lovely bite of bittersweetness. Something a little flinty too. Else Zuschmann thinks this will cellar five years plus. 13% 9.5 Euro locally. 89/100.

Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Grüner Veltliner Löss 2011, Austria
The loam soils gives a fuller wine, and this is also made from the latest harvested grapes. This one in a Burgundy bottle with cork (others in screwcap and Bordeaux bottles). Lots of ripeness and depth here, a touch of quince a touch of fig. Battonage and full malolactic. The palate has lots of richness, ripeness, but it is the yeasty, battonage weight and dry richness. This has loads of grapefruit and lime and savoury spices, the pepper and the texture are intriguing. 13%. 12.5 Euros locally. 90/100.

Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Sauvignon Blanc Schricker Bergen 2012, Austria
The Schricker Bergen sub-region is cool and very good for Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurz. Sauvignon Blanc vineyards are planted on east facing slopes so the sugar does not develop too much. Very nice aromatics, more towards the tropical side, with touches of gooseberry, and lemon. The palate is bone dry, with a big thrust of cirrus and just hints of lychee and mango in the background, the finish precise and mineral with a salty lick. 7.9 Euros locally. Peter Schöffmann says "We make around 5,000-6,000 bottles, which for us is enough - it is a hard sell internationally and locally, but I planted it because I like it - it's 5,000 bottles, which I can drink myself!" 87-88/100.

Red Wines

Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Zweigelt Hölle 2011, Austria
The "hell" vineyard, planted facing south, gets very hot in summer, planted on gravel and clay. This is from as very old clone of Zweigelt. This is aged in small barrels, but very old. Lovely dry nose, dry kirsch and cherry skins, a deep, dry inky prune quality. There are tiny floral nuances. This is bone dry on the palate, that searing core of tight tannins and acidity, but lovely definition, the pure, dry black fruit persisiti8ng. 13%. 8.5 Euros. 87-88/100.

Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Zerberus 2011, Austria
70% Zweigelt, 15% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, with around 15% new oak and the rest in older oak barrels. Really lovely nose, it has some earthiness and some smokiness, with lots of peppery spice and a little lift of game and mint. The palate has lovely fruit - floods nicely across with tight, black fruit and the lean, dry, gamy and racy finish has an inky dryness but lip-smacking freshness too. 13.5 Euros. 89/100.

Zuschmann-Schöffmann, Pinot Noir 2011, Austria
Single vineyard south facing, the soil is loam and gravel, and vinified in open fermenters and then into used barrels. They have just planted with seven different Pinot clones, six form Burgundy and one from Italy, but this is from one Burgundy clone. Lovely delicate ruby colour, the nose is soft, gently coffeeish stuff, delicate earthiness and a dry red fruit quality. Lovely soft and inviting stuff. The palate has delicious medium bodied finesse, with a real juiciness, a very refined tannins structure and just a rounding hint of chocolate. Lovely balance with the fresh acidity. This has fine brackeny briary notes. 15 Euros. 91/100.

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