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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.


Notes from a tasting of wines from the top producers of the Carnuntum region, east of Vienna. Very few of these producers have UK distribution currently.

Vineyards in Carnuntum. Click photo for larger version.

White Wines

Weingut Taferner, Muskateller 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Lovely herby, floral nose, big, bold and punchy. Delicious flavours, sappy and fresh with a long citric tang. 87/100.

Weingut Oppelmayer, Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Gently tropical aromas, a touch floral and touch leafy. Soft green herbs and good freshness on the palate, feels just off-dry. 86/100.

Weingut Franz & Christine Netzl, Sauvignon Blanc Schüttenberg 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Much more aromatic, green and vibrant aromas that are crunchy and pungent, with a more grassy, lemony palate that is dry, mineral and serious. 88/100.

Weingut Trapl, Karpatenschiefer Grüner Veltliner 2012, Stixneusiedl, Austria
Winemaker Johannes Trapl joined me for the tasting and commented that this wine comes from schist and granite soils and is made with "a little bit of foot stomping," in old oak vats. A touch reduced, a touch flinty too, nice complex sulphide character. The peppery quality comes through, quite full and rich with lots of grapefruity bite. 90/100.

Weingut Böheim, Grüner Veltliner 2012, Arbesthal, Austria
Leafy, green, floral and fresh, this is also open and inviting with apple fruit punch and lots of fruit, if not a great deal of complexity. 85/100.

Weingut Nadler, Grüner Veltliner 2012, Arbesthal, Austria
Robert Nadler also joined me to taste and confirmed that next year he would make this as a reserve wine, with longer ageing before release. There's a nice yeast-derived richness to this, with spice and pepper before a really racy, dry palate and good finish. 87-88/100.

Weingut Stefan Ott, Grüner Veltliner 2012, Arbesthal, Austria
Fresh and fruity, lots of apple and lime zest, hinting at riper peach. Straightforward stuff, but very good. 86/100.

Weingut Artner, Grüner Veltliner Steinäcker Reserve 2012, Höflein, Austria
Lovely rich nose of herbs and lime peel, lots of apparent grip and tang. Big orange and lime blast on the palate with a long, nutty finish 88/100.

Weingut Lukas Markowitsch, Chardonnay Rosenberg 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
A 50/50 ferment in barrels and cask, followed by four months in barrel. Nutty, appley, with a big punchy core of citrus before a racy and really quite fine finish. 87/100.

Weingut Hans und Martin Netzl, Traminer 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Flowers and herbs are strewn across the nose, a touch of mint leaf lift too. On the palate a big sour hit of citrus, lots of fruit and a crisp finish. 87/100.

Rosé Wine

Weingut Böheim, Rosé 2012, Arbesthal, Austria
A rosé from Zweigelt and Merlot, with a soft peachy colour and spicy and nutty aromas. Dry on the palate, there's a nip of tannin here in a firm, racy style of rosé. 86-87/100.

Rubin Carnuntum Wines

All 'Rubin' wines are made from Zweigelt and all sell for approximately 10 Euros per bottle in local wine shops.

Weingut Artner, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Höflein, Austria
A lively and leafy red, with lots of spice and just a touch of reduction. Nicely fresh and racy on the palate, good fruit. 86-87/100.

Weingut Böheim, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Arbesthal, Austria
Nice black fruit core and a subtle gamy character. Lots of black fruit juiciness on the palate, the freshness and racy, crisp dryness is appealing. 88/100.

Weingut Glatzer, Rubin Carnuntum 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
A touch reduced. A touch of bonfire smoke. Nice, ripe, solid black fruit beneath, rounded with a sense of plum and cherry acidity. 12 months in used barriques. 87/100.

Weingut Grassl, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Seems nice and ripe, with lots of creamy black berries. Has good concentration and spice, it is dry, but there is a pleasing softness to the finish. 87-88.

Weingut Gerhard Markowitsch, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Pepper and spice, quite noticeable gaminess but not off-putting. Real juiciness on the palate, good fruit and drinks well. 87/100.

Weingut Lukas Markowitsch, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
A 50/50 blend of new and used barrels. Beautifully fresh and quite lifted aromas, cherry brightness. Racy and fresh on the palate too, again cherry drives this with subtle oak. 88/100.

Weingut Hans und Martin Netzl, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
A little chocolate and spice here, ripe and perhaps a little more oak. Lovely cherry and black berry fruit, long with soft but persistent tannins. 88-89/100.

Weingut Franz & Christine Netzl, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Just a little bit of rubbery reduction, but then thick black cherry ripeness comes through, a kirsch-like lift here and solid black fruited palate. 88/100.

Weingut Oppelmayer, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Interesting nose - less of the Zweigelt cherry and more mint and vanilla, before a palate of soft, commercially pleasing fruit. 86/100

Weingut Payr, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Höflein, Austria
Racy, fresh, not so openly fruity as some, more linear, more sinewy. Quite a serious edge to this though arguably lacks the easy charm of some. 87/100.

Weingut Taferner, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Again a little note of reduction - not sure if this is a particular aspect of Zweigelt - with a nice cherry fruit coming through, quite sweet and opening into black fruit. Spicy, poised and tasty on the palate. 87-88/100.

Weingut Trapl, Rubin Carnuntum 2012, Stixneusiedl, Austria
Complex, juicy and earthy nose, good fruit too and a juicy edge to the palate, ripe with blackcurrant and plum, freshness and zing too and a nice touch of tannin. 88/100.

Weingut Nadler, Rubin Carnuntum 2011, Arbesthal, Austria
From a single vineyard, aged in new and used French oak. A very bold colour here and a lovely soft cherry aroma, a touch of spice and chocolate. The palate beginning to open, but a liquorice edge allied to fuller plum fruit. 88-89/100.

Red Wines

Weingut Gerhard Markowitsch, Pinot Noir Reserve 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Nice pale colour, though the nose seems quite big and ripe, with an appealing gamy quality. Meaty and spicy Pinot on the palate, which is filled with fruit and finishes with a sense of freshness. 90/100.

Weingut Glatzer, St. Laurent Altenberg 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Made from the early ripening St Laurent, this has a dry, fresh, herb and cherry nose and spicy, savoury palate, crisp, fresh and nicely pitched. 87/100.

Weingut Grassl, St. Laurent Reserve 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Intriguing nose, green and leafy with a graphite quality, a real herbal lift. Very nice balance, black fruit and spice and a good sense of energy. 89/100.

Weingut Payr, Zweigelt Steinacker Reserve 2009, Höflein, Austria
Creamy oak, black fruit and a little meatiness. Juicy and spicy palate, this is rich and full. 88/100.

Weingut Oppelmayer, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Showing a touch of age in the colour, the nose showing some green mintiness suggesting it is just a touch underripe, but it suits the wine which stays focused into quite a long finish. 88/100

Weingut Lukas Markowitsch, Blaufränkisch Altenberg 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Grown on gravel soils, 25% was aged in new barrels. Really ripe stuff, with a touch of tobacco to the thick black fruit, plenty of spice. Mouth-filling, with tight tannins and good structure. 89-90/100.

Weingut Artner, Kirchweingarten Reserve 2010, Höflein, Austria
This is Blaufränkisch again, that is immediately juicy and sophisticated, lots of ripeness but a sense of finesse too. Sweet fruit on the palate, smooth and creamy, plush but precise. 89-90/100.

Weingut Muhr-van der Niepoort, Spitzerberg 2011, Rohrau, Austria
From old vineyards of Blaufränkisch, this is very fine, solid and ripe, with meaty black fruit and a herbal touch. Lots of concentration here, touches of menthol, but it becomes so elegant, so tight and racy. 90-91/100.

Weingut Trapl, Spitzerberg 2011, Stixneusiedl, Austria
62-year-old Blaufränkisch vines, the wine is naturally fermented and aged 18 months in barrique. More ripe blackcurrant here, vanilla and smokiness, but there is something crunchily fresh about the fruit. Deliciously ripe, mouth-filling but tight, real thrust into the finish. 92/100.

Weingut Glatzer, Blaufränkisch Bärnreiser 2009, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Rich, full and bloody on the nose, it is also plummy with a touch of leather or tobacco. On the palate it is plump and open, plenty of fruit but dry, stylish tannins. 89-90/100.

Weingut Martin und Hans Netzl, Oida Schwoaza 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
A blend of Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and Merlot there's creamy richness on the nose, with black chocolate and deep fruit. On the palate dark, juicy stuff, touched by liquorice and has a peppery character, long and fresh in the finish. 90-91/100.

Weingut Grassl, Bärnreiser 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
50% Zweigelt with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Minty and chocolaty, this seems very ripe. Lots of juicy quality, but savoury, long and serious with a bit of structure. 91/100.

Weingut Franz & Christine Netzl, Anna Christina 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Zweigelt, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. More spicy, but with a real green olive character, the palate shows real sweetness of fruit, plush tannins adding depth, but finishing with racy freshness. 90/100.

Weingut Muhr-van der Niepoort, Rote Erde 2011, Rohrau, Austria
A blend of Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Lifted, spicy, green-tinged and also nutty, this is immediately complex with plenty of fruit and freshness. Fabulous sweet fruit on the palate, but has such lovely agility and drive into a long finish. I guess it could be marked down on having no indigenous varieties, but it is terrific. 93/100.

Weingut Gerhard Markowitsch, Rosenberg 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
Zweigelt, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon again, there's an animal note of game and meat here, a hint of green, then a dry, juicy and even mineral finish. 88-89/100.

Weingut Nadler, Episode 2009, Arbesthal, Austria
Zweigelt, Merlot, Blaufränkisch and Cabernet Sauvignon. Big, deep, sinewy stuff, with plenty of ripeness and full creamy weight on the palate. The palate tightens up nicely thanks to precise tannins, in a big and more modern style, but I like it. 91-92/100.

Weingut Payr, Bühl Reserve 2009, Höflein, Austria
Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Merlot. A touch of game, good juicy fruit tinged with green, a little coffee and chocolate from oak. Rich, deep and full on the palate and drinking well. 90/100.

Weingut Taferner, Tribun 2011, Göttlesbrunn, Austria
This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Gamy, animal richness and earthiness along with plenty of ripe black fruit. Juicy and super-sweet fruit on the palate, this is solid and not hugely complex, but spicy and full stuff. 89-90/100.

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