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Ultimate Wines Austrian Tasting.  Add/Read Comments

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Austria has to be one of the most under-represented countries on the nations shelves. Oddbins lists just one. Tescos search facility found a German Riesling(!) while the Wine Cellar and Sainsbury's list none at all. Very disappointing.

The wines of Austria are of world class quality encompassing, not only the sweet wines and Rieslings most of us are aware of, but also a collection of unique varieties and individual expressions of more well known grapes. To purchase any of these however it is to the independent sector you must turn.

With timely coincidence Ultimate Wine Company announced their latest evening tasting was to be a fascinating collection of... wait for it... Austrian wines!

We began with a quaint little Rotgipfler as an aperitif. Rotgipfler is one of those local grapes - that makes nicely weighty, dry wines that remind me of a Pinot Gris somewhat with its subtle spiciness. The Biegler Rotgipfler Brindlbach 2003 was very pleasant (very enjoyable in fact) but a touch pricey at £9.99 a bottle. As before the wines below were tasted in various groups, first by themselves and then with a delicious array of cheeses, cold meats, breads and the like; the majority were Austrian specialities just to retain that authentic flavour to the whole enterprise.

Stadt Krems Gr�ner Veltliner
Stadt Krems Gruner Veltliner bottle
Stadt Krems Gruner Veltliner, 2003, Kremstal, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £8.52.
Gruner Veltliner is the grape - and a top notch variety it is too. This was nice enough by itself - a subtle nose, lightly peppery fruit with a crisp, lemony, finish. With food however it really shone. It was described as an entry level wine - it maybe for this producer - but I was suitably impressed with how enjoyable it was with food. 11.5% Alcohol.
Scribblings Rating - 88/100

This 550 year old producer is owned, perhaps uniquely, by the city of Krems. In 1210 the Babenberger Duke Leopold VI founded a Citizen's Hospital in Krems and bequeathed it a large amount of vineyards.

Franz Hirtzberger Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Honivogal, 2003, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £29.38.
You noticed the price I take it - but blimey it is worth every penny! An intense aroma of apples lies above a crisp palate brimming with complexity - spice, pepper and, with food, a delicious smoky edge. Wonderful. Alcohol 14%.
Scribblings Rating - 90/100

`Honivogal' is Hirtzberger's most important Gruner Veltliner vineyard and is grown on at the foot of the steep sloped `Singerriedel' vineyard which grows Riesling.

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Gobelsburger, 2003, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £9.40.
Quite young on the nose - floral, lightly honeyed, fresh. Characterful palate, weighty, full of lime-zest, orange rind and pepper flavours. Very different from delicate German Rieslings. 12.5% Alcohol. Was superb with white stilton with apricots.
Scribblings Rating - 86/100

Franz Hietzberger Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel, 2003, Austria.
UItimate Wines £32.90.
You have to pay for the best. While this superb Riesling - full of peach, white flowers, lemon - was vibrant and full of flavour and displaying more than was required for all assembled to go 'aaaah' in an astounded type way - I thought it was a touch young. It can only get better with age. Really, buy a case and if you managed to not drink it all it will still be going strong in 10 years plus. If only I wasn't a penniless Circle of Wine Writers scribbler...
Scribblings Rating - 92/100

Polz Grauburgunder Grassmotzberg, 2003, Styria, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £13.51.
An Austrian Pinot Gris, for that is what Grau (grey) Burgunder is. This was my favourite wine of the evening, not just because I adore Pinot Gris but because it offered excellent food-friendly value. My notes read - peachy edge to the colour. Simple aroma, not terribly pronounced. Dry, lighter in weight than the colour/aroma would indicate. Spicy on the finish. A nice package of flavour. Nutty finish. Very moreish. 13.5% Alcohol.
Scribblings Rating - 94/100

Prieler Pinot Blanc, 2002, Neusiedlersee, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £10.28.
Biscuit and nuts someone bellowed behind a mouthful of cheese. Indeed. I also picked up an edge of spice (not as intense as in the Pinot Gris though) and a good weight and length. Very food friendly. Dry. 13% Alcohol.
Scribblings Rating - 90/100

Polz Sauvignon Blanc Therese, 2003, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £14.10.
One of the most distinctive and interesting Sauvignons I have sampled recently. A delicious spring greens of a wine with a depth and complexity to the nose that divided the participants. Cats Pee was noted but I failed to see past the sugar-snap pea skins and spring onion edge. A touch of fennel and a minerality added even more to the wine which propelled this to the forefront of the tasting - if the level of discussion was any indication! Distinctive and refined. Delicious with the Austrian cheeses.
Scribblings Rating - 92/100

Josef Umathum Zweigelt, 2003, Neusiedlersee, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £10.58.
The first red of the tasting. fresh, primary fruit, quite simple with high acidity. Fresh cherry fruit. Light to medium bodied. Zweigelt is the grape variety - a cross of Blaufrankish and St.Laurant.It is widely grown throughout Austria. I generally find then a little light for my personal taste and lacking in depth. If you have not sampled a Zweigelt before then this is a superb introduction from one producer who manages to extract more than a little class and character from the variety.
Scribblings Rating - 86/100

Pittnauer Blaufrankish Klassik, 2003, Burgenland, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £9.99.
This proved very popular from those assembled although I failed to see why. Yes it is a more complex wine than the previous one with a meaty edge to the flavour and an intense red-berry fruit dominated palate. But it is quite light and not really to my taste. 13.5% Alcohol. Blaufrankish is also known as Lemberger and Kekfrankos.
Scribblings Rating - 86/100

Jaunegg Blauer Wildbacher, 2001, Styria, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £13.51.
For interest alone this scores highly as Wildbacher the grape is normally grown for rosé but this is full-bloodied red! Johann and Hohana Jaunegg have extracted enough colour from the skins to produce a wine with an intense aroma and flavours full of blueberries and other dark berried fruit. 13% Alcohol.
Scribblings Rating - 92/100

Pittnauer St. Laurent Alte Reben, 2003, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £20.56.
Deep coffee edged cherry aromas. Lighter on the palate than the nose would indicate but with quite intense flavours. Good fruit and depth - big and bold. 13.5% Alcohol.
Scribblings Rating - 88/100

Umathum Ried Hallebuhl, 2000, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £27.03.
Smoky edged fruit, seep and intense. Blackberry. Very refined with perfect balance between fruit and acidity. Dark and almost brooding with a sour cherry edge and a layer of woody complexity. So easy to drink. "Titillates every tastebud in your mouth and rolls away gently." Very classy and another wine that will evolve well in the cellar. 13.5% alcohol.
Scribblings Rating - 92/100

Lang Samling 88 Berrenauslese, 2002, Austria.
Ultimate Wines £10.58 half bottle.
Superb value for this dessert wine. A stickie, although the acidity halts any cloying sensation, with a hugly popular array of flavours - sherbert, limes, lemon zest, meringue. This would be superb on its own, with foie gras, chocolate cake etc. Excellent honeyed lemon finish that lasts an age.
Scribblings Rating - 94/100
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