For a few years it seemed that Austrians were just wasting their
money on exhibitions and targeted presentations in the Czech Republic.
After all, Sauvignon, Tramín, Vlašský and Rýnský Rieslings, as well
as Veltlínské zelené grapes do well in Moravia, too, and the Austrians
essentially don't have any reds that aren't grown here. But at a
tasting you can quickly recognize the main difference. It's not in
the varietals - the grapes grow under comparable climatic conditions
- it's in purity and quality. Additionally, after Czech accession
to the EU the customs barriers were removed, and Austrian wines became
The Bacchus Report: Austria's bet on
Written by: Libor Ševčík
With the support of state institutions
Austrian vintners are asserting themselves in the international
field more and more. Consumers in the Czech Republic can now see
this for themselves. The attack on the Czech market was being prepared
long before the Czech Republic's EU accession.
The Austrians' advantage is that they've been making wine for generations
and they've always had access to modern technologies. They also learned
from a scandal, when a few irresponsible individuals adding anti-freeze
to wines wrought crushing damage to the industry. The carefully cultivated
grapes and their subsequent processing result in high quality. The
qualitative ranking of Austrian wines is similar to that used in
the Czech Republic.
Czech legislators found inspiration in Austria when they were drafting
the law on wine. Wine attributes begin with cabinet (Kabinettwein),
continue with a later harvest (Spätlese), selection (Auslese), bunch
selection (Beerenauslese), and individual grape selection (Trockenbeerenauslese),
to ice wine (Eiswein). In the Wachau area they use three additional
categories: basic wines designated as Steinfeder, medium-class wines
as Federspiel, and the finest and most expensive as Smaragd.
Austrian vineyards are planted in the narrow strip of land bordered
by the Czech Republic, along the Hungarian border, to the border
with Slovenia. The viniferous land is divided into four regions,
the largest of which is Niederösterreich (30,688 hectares of vineyards),
abutting Moravia, with the areas of Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal, Traisental,
Donauland, Weinvirtel, Carnutum, and Thermenregion. The Burgenland
region (16,030 hectares) includes the areas of Neusiedlersee, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland,
Mittelburgenland, and Südburgenland. The Steiermark region (3,668
hectares) includes the areas of Südoststeiermark, Südsteiermark,
and Weststeiermark. The capital city of Vienna is a separate wine
region (620 hectares). Unlike Moravia, where there are also already
marked wine trails, you can actually taste and buy wines from individual
cellars on the Austrian trails. Customers are valued there, and compared
with the situation in Bohemia and Moravia, official control authorities
- from public health to financial - are more accomodating towards
their Austrian colleagues.
The author is the deputy
editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine.
Photo: Věroslav Sixt
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Available at: Naoko, Revoluční
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- September 9-10 - Vinoforum 2005, Loucký Monestary, Znojmo14th
international wine contest For more information call: Znovín
Znojmo, tel.: 515 221 656
- September 10 - Grand vintage, Moravská Nová Ves- organized
by the Wine society of Moravská Nová Ves For more information
call: 777 561 535
- September 16-18 - Traditional Mělník vintageFor more information
call: 606 633 591
Riesling Weelfel 2004
Weingut Wimmer-Czerny, Fels am Wagram,
Characteristics: A nicely matured Riesling with an aroma
of peaches and ripe apricots. Elegant, fresh, extractive,
Price: 190 Kč (without VAT)
||Sauvignon BlAnc Klassik 2004
Weingut Sattlerhof, area Steiermark
Characteristics: Fine, spicy aroma of nettles and elderberry
flowers. Pleasantly fresh, mineral, balanced flavor that makes
you want more.
Price: 250 Kč (without VAT)
St. Laurent (Svatovavřinecké) 2004
Tobias Fridrich, Stuhlrichtertal, Weidentsee, area Burgenland
Characteristics: This shows that very high-quality wine
can be made from the blue varietal we know in this country.
Dark red color, full body with fine tannins, and well-balanced
flavor even when young.
Importer: L. C. Nicolas, Žatecká 3, P 1, tel.: 222 323
Price: 346 Kč (VAT included)
Schloss Esterházy, Eiswenstadt,
area Neusiedlersee - Hügelland
Characteristics: A fine blend in the French style from the
Bordeaux area made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot
Noir varietals, aged in new barrique barrels. The well-balanced
aroma and flavor feature vanilla tones and sweet tannins.
Importer: ANPRO Bohemia, Štěpánská 9, P 1, tel.: 284 810 749
Price: 290 Kč (without VAT)