Learn more about the grandiose Austrian white wines of the Falstaff White Wine Gala 2019.
Falstaff White Wine Gala 2019
Falstaff White Wine Gala 2019 in Vienna
Every 2 years, the gourmet magazine Falstaff invites to the Vienna Hofburg to the great white wine gala. With more than 200 winemakers, it was the largest event to date in 2019. Once again this year, the country's best winemakers presented all the potential hidden in Austria's vineyards. Especially the diversity of varieties among the white grape varieties in Austria amazes you every time anew. At the white wine gala, not only will fine wines be offered for tasting, but the winners in the categories "Falstaff Winemaker of the Year" and "Grüner Veltliner Grand Prix 2019" will also be announced and honored.
Winemaker of the year 2019
The much-coveted title of Winemaker of the Year was secured by Christoph Neumeister from the Styrian Vulkanland. The winemaker, who has been working organically since 2008, was able to convince the jury with his wines and take the trophy back to the south of Austria.
At the award ceremony of the "Grüner Veltliner Grand Prix 2019", the places on the podium all went to Lower Austria:
But even away from the award ceremony, there was a lot to discover in terms of interesting white wines from Austria. For all those who are looking for exciting wines from the Alpine Republic, we have summarized our highlights in a small wine guide.
A Nobis, a grandiose start
After passing through the imposing gates of the Hofburg, one was thus immediately welcomed by a bright red Piaggio to be able to start with the tasting. More precisely, from the family business A Nobis, which can now already look back on 35 years of tradition in sparkling wine production. What is exciting here is that they are fully committed to the traditional method. The fact that the sparkling wine producer from Gols in Burgenland sees wine as an Austrian cultural asset is reflected in the uniqueness of its sparkling wines. We came to enjoy two different sparkling wines.
To begin with, this was the A Nobis Brut Welschriesling 2015, which was rated 92 points by Falstaff and captivates with a beautiful balance of fruity aromas and a pleasant acidity. With 1g residual sugar very dry and a perfect start to the event. But also the second sparkling wine, which we were allowed to taste, was in no way inferior to the first. A Bobis Brut Pinot Blanc 2017, may call BGLD Landessieger 2019 and was awarded a proud 90 points by Falstaff magazine. Yellow fruits dominate here and with 6g of residual sugar, the fruit sweetness comes through perfectly. The pleasant perlage adds elegance to the whole.
The northeastern Weinviertel shows itself from its best side
After the perfect start to the event, our way leads us to the northeastern Weinviertel to the Czech and Slovakian border in Dobermannsdorf. Here Georg Weinwurm runs his family business in the 3rd generation. In the Pannonian climate 28 hectares are cultivated and as the Weinwurm family itself says, diversity of varieties prevails here. In the vineyards grows from Welschriesling to Grüner Veltliner to blue Zweigelt and Syrah so many interesting. That the love of detail is not lost in the diversity of varieties, however, is proven by the Weinwurms, among other things, with their FUNdamental Grüner Veltliner 2018, with which they have deservedly become SALON National Winner 2019 in the category "Grüner Veltliner classic". We congratulate very much. But the other wines do not have to hide either. Since we already knew the FUNdamental, we were pleased to taste the Chardonnay Ried Schilling 2017.
A beautiful lemon yellow shines here with hints of green apples paired with exotic fruits. The whole is rounded off with a skillful play of acidity.
As a small tip: If you are in the area, it is definitely worth a visit to the farm to get an idea of the variety of varieties. Because also with red wines the Weinwurms may enjoy some prices. The "Abendrot Syrah Ried Schilling" (Berlin Wine Trophy (DE) Gold & Falstaff 90 points vintage / Vintage 2016) and the flagship, the "Hommage Zweigelt Reserve" (Falstaff 91 points and several international gold medals) are to be highlighted.
A hummelish delight from the western Weinviertel region
We stay in the Weinviertel, but head west. More precisely, to Niederschleinz to the winery of Kurt and Beatrix Hummel. Here, too, family tradition is writ large and since 1998 the two have been taking care of their own winery. As is typical for the Weinviertel, the green Veltliner dominates. They dedicate a total of 70% of their cultivated area to the Austrian national variety and show its complete diversity. From light, spicy and peppery, to rich, powerful and full-bodied. And their success proves them right. since this year they have been included among the SALON wineries. But we were also allowed to see for ourselves what can be made with care from a Grüner Veltliner.
We started with the classic Grüner Veltliner Weinviertel DAC Ried Altenberg 2018. Spice and pleasantly prominent minerality accompanied by green apples and a pleasant acidity characterize this wine. Then there was the complete contrast program: the DAC Reserve 2017, with the beautiful name "Big Flight". Here, the GV shows a completely different side. Full-bodied and with a creamy texture. Already the nose convinces with the full flavor of pear. The wine was aged in large wooden barrels and has definitely been one of our favorites at the White Wine Gala 2019.With the wine it shows again that it is a family business, so the youngest daughter is responsible for the modern bottle design.
Bisamberg Mixed Grape Variety Vienna
But there are also exciting wineries outside the Weinviertel that can look back on a long family tradition. So is the Christ winery, with about 400 years. With their nature-oriented winegrowing philosophy, they do credit to the name of Vienna as a wine city. In addition to their winery, they also have their own wine tavern and vinotheque to offer. But let's stay with the winery that grows its vines on the most diverse sites and soils on the Bisamberg. We were immediately allowed to see for ourselves and enjoy the 2017 Weissburgunder and learned exciting details, such as that the limestone and mineral subsoil with shell limestone is very similar to the soils from Pomerol. Who would have thought that?
A touch of Bordeaux on the outskirts of Vienna. Since we come from Vienna, the Gemischter Satz DAC could not be missing at the tasting, of course. And this one also convinced us all along the line. Nice creamy texture and peach on the finish, this came into very little contact with wood to let the natural flavors dominate. So if you are looking for a good Heuriger in Vienna and want to drink really good Gemischter Satz, the Christ Winery on the Bisamberg is exactly the right address. And that goes for tourists and locals alike.
Beautiful Grüner Veltliner from Wagram
The fact that the Wagram wine region produces top-class Grüner Veltliner is no longer a secret. We were able to convince ourselves of this once again at the white wine gala and enjoyed two completely different Grüner Veltliners from the Waltner winery in Engelmannsbrunn. The starting signal was given by the Grüner Veltliner Dorner 2018. A beautifully complex wine with a pleasant acid structure and classic spice, as well as slight hints of exotic fruit.
This was contrasted with the Grüner Veltliner Dorner Reserve 2017: 13.5%, aged for 1 year on the lees and in stainless steel tanks. Here already slightly dominated notes of blossom honey and a taste of ripe apples. Once again a very good example of how diverse the types of maturation can be in Grüner Veltliner.
A red Veltliner that does not have to hide
Even though the two grape varieties are not related, unfortunately the Red Veltliner is often overshadowed by its namesake, the Green Veltliner. Especially when it goes beyond the borders of Austria, Roter Veltliner is actually only known to experts and true connoisseurs of Austrian wines. At the White Wine Gala 2019, the Polsterer Winery showed with bravura that the Red Veltliner should quietly step out of the shadow of the Green more often.
We were allowed to taste two wines of the winemaker from Feuersbrunn, Wagram. The late harvest date of the 2018 vintage was particularly exciting here. Where many winemakers had long since finished harvesting and started work in the cellar due to the very hot summer, Andreas Polsterer's vines were still hanging out in the sun.
The vines were harvested with great care only in September. We were able to see for ourselves at the Hofburg that this was not a mistake, however. The Grüner Veltliner Upupa 2018 could already inspire us with its full flavor. However, this was topped once again by the Roter Veltliner Roter Graben 2018 with a whopping 13% alcohol content. Already on the nose unfolded the aroma of ripe pears with hints of blossom honey and was rounded off with a nice acidity structure and creamy texture. As I said, Roter Veltliner does not deserve its shadowy existence and definitely belongs on the wine map of Austria.
Riesling from the wine region of Styria
Until now, we have presented almost only wineries that have a long family tradition in viticulture. But there is another way. Simon Engel is the best example of this. As a career changer, the winemaker took over his father's farm in the Styrian Vulkanland in 2006. Before that, wine was also grown, but only in small quantities and intended for self-consumption.
Although Styria is better known for world-class Sauvignon Blancs, the Engel winery shows that it can also produce top Rieslings. However, the winery does not specialize in Rieslings and has a wide range of white wines to offer.
From Gelber Muskateller to Chardonnay, to typical Styrian Sauvignon Blanc, diverse grape varieties are represented in their vineyards. As fans of Riesling, however, we were naturally curious about these and were allowed to taste two different ones.
First, the Riesling 2018 Vulkanland Steiermark DAC. A very charming Riesling with nice balanced acidity/sweetness mirror and with varietal flavor of peaches. Secondly, we could convince ourselves of the Riesling Ried Klöchberg 2017. Here, the crisp acidity shines with subtle fruit and light hints of honey on the nose. Very nice!
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