Tag: austria

Discover the Austrian wine region of Wachau

Wine and wine tourism lovers have a beautiful region in Austria that is less known than other areas of the same characteristics. It is Wachau, which one hour away from Vienna, the Austrian capital, allows you to discover beautiful landscapes and vineyards, and it is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Let’s go?

The valley has 33 km that separate the cities of Krems and Melk, and it is well known for its cultural heritage, such as castles and monasteries. In this prestigious wine region, although we have heard little of it, it is said that wine was made since Roman times, but its best time was during the Carolingian Empire, in the ninth century. The vineyards of Wachau extend for 1,350 hectares and they are located in the Benedictine abbeys, since it was the monks who in the Middle Ages elaborated the wine of the area.

As places to visit, we have already named Melk, which has a remarkable abbey, the Town Hall Square, the Municipal Museum, as well as restaurants and bars where you can taste the wine of the region directly. On the other hand, Spitz is a small town that has establishments run by grape growers in which we can taste the wine of the harvest of the year.

Wineries in the area

To visit this valley, you must first know its wines and the wineries that are part of the landscape. There are a total of 232 wineries that are included in an association of producers, Vinea Wachau. It should be noted that the small producers are who make this place one of the most important in terms of wines from Austria.

Wachau wine is classified into three different categories, according to their alcohol content: Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd. The wine, generally, is usually a dry white made with no addition of sugar. Vinea Wachau association rules demand that the producers harvest the grapes by hand and, so the wines are obtained throughout an artisanal process.

The grapes used for these wines are Grüner Veltliner and Regia Riesling, which is quite common in such European areas. But other varieties of grapes are also used, such as Neuburger, Gelbe Muskateller, Weißburgunder or Traminer.

 TAGS:Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Terrassen 2017

Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Terrassen 2017

A white wine with the best grüner veltliner grapes from the 2017 vintage and comes with an alcohol content of 13%.

Consumers stay home and drink wine

Good news for the wine industry: a recent survey shows wine has become consumers’ first choice in the US, UK, and Australia when they stay at home, which itself remains a strong trend as people seem reluctant to return to their pre-Crisis levels of spending on eating and drinking out.

The bad news for upper tier wineries is that the wines chosen remain on the lower end of the price scale in the US, Australia, and other countries like Italy and Austria. Only the UK is feeling optimistic- 30% are willing to pay more then $10 per bottle versus the $7 bottles selling in the other countries.

Red wine

What does this mean? In the short term wineries selling wines over $10 are going to continue to struggle for a while and wine flash sales and deals will continue- more of the same we’ve been seeing in the past year. But long term it means drinking habits are shifting from beer and spirits towards wine, which is considered better for your health, adds an additional level of pleasure to food, and has strong associations with sharing good times with family and friends. Even the Crisis has had one major upside, as in their search for values consumers have become more open to experimenting with new regions and varietals. This means once confidence is restored the industry may have its best moment yet- a wide wine drinking population, now open minded and with increased power to move up the price scale and searching for great finds at all levels. And with internet shopping for wine now more widely available, consumers will be able to take advantage of more choices than ever.

Icewine comes to Spain

Penedes in Catalonia, SpainUnlike in the New World, where appellations are still being defined (for example segmentation crazy Napa Valley, who seems to be in constant turmoil, most recently over a new proposed Mayacama Mountain range AVA), the Old World wine producing countries usually look at their wine regulations as being set in stone. For the most part, you are allowed to only grow the same grapes that were approved for your great grandfather if you want your wine to bear the appellation label. This can make understanding what type of wine you will get from a particular region easier for the consumer, but it can also be a source of frustration for producers looking to experiment. 

https://www.uvinum.co.uk/blog/assets/uploads/sites/3/2010/07/804381-274685.jpgHowever, Spain, who is becoming one of the biggest exporters to the US and UK markets, is one of the more liberal in this regard, particularly in it’s lesser known regions. I would be surprised to see any changes in the regulations that guide Rioja wine anytime soon, but now Penedes, the region where Cava is produced, has now been approved for icewine. What’s more is producers are allowed to artificially freeze the grapes, which is not permitted anywhere else in Europe.  Icewine is normally created when the grapes freeze on the vine, and this is the only method available in Germany, Austria, and Canada, the best known locations for this type of dessert wine. 

Although the 3 countries mentioned above each have their own version of icewine’s history, Spain will definitely add a new chapter. The new DO (Domination of Origin) is called Vino Dulce de Hielo or Vi Dolç del Fred, and will apply from 2009. A general rule is not to drink your icewine with a food that is sweeter than the wine, and goat cheese is one example of a classic pairing, for example Garrotxa if you wanted to stay local to the Spanish version. Salud!