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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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WINE connoisseur PAUL QUINN, from Barrow, is a member of the Association of Wine Educators and a judge at two of the most prominent wine competitions in the UK. This week he raises a glass to Austria’s premium grape

AUSTRIA is rapidly becoming very popular with English restaurants seeing how appealing the wines can match with most foods that are being served.

If you get chance to try them, you might not realise that Austria makes world class white and red grapes.

Gruner Veltliner and Riesling are the best two whites but a lot of the good stuff is drunk on their domestic market.

This keeps most of the export market high priced and unavailable to most supermarkets.

Grüner Veltliner Austria’s own variety, grown in the fine wine areas for white wine of Wachau-Kremstal, Kamptal, with a range of different climates and vineyard regions producing a diversity of wine styles in lower Austria.

It is capable of making complex, full flavoured, spicy whites, often with a distinctive white flower and cracked pepper edge to them.

While Austrian Riesling has tended to steal the limelight, Grüner Veltliner has plantings 10 times the amount of Riesling, it has just as much to offer, and the good news is that there’s a lot more of it.

It’s a wine that drinks well young, yet can age, and it’s marvellously food-friendly. A grape to look out for.

Riesling

In Austria Riesling performs very well, making usually dry wines that have more precision than their Alsace counterparts and not as sweet as those from Germany’s Mosel.

Justifiably highly regarded, but with plantings amounting to only three per cent of

Austria’s vineyard area, there isn’t that much of it. But there are some niche sweet wines to die for.

For people who love reds there are plenty of different grapes to try. Zwiegelt, the most abundantly planted red grape, can make good wines ranging from simple cherry fruit gluggers to more substantial reds.

Blaufränkisch makes spicy, sturdy, berry fruited reds which can have some tannic structure. Blauer Portugieser, this grape makes soft, approachable, juicy wines mainly for early consumption.

Two wines to try: Rabl, Grüner Veltliner 2010 (£7.99, Marks & Spencer). Kamptal, Austria

A classic Gruner, a lovely peppery freshness stone fruit and lemongrass-scented, dry white. There’s some bright minerality and fresh acidity on the palate, keeping this from being fat, and combined with the smooth, rich peppery freshness. It is absolutely captivating. Ideal with roasted pork or calf.

Gruner Veltliner (Majestic Kendal £14.99)

Kamptaler Terrassen 2010

Weingut Brundlmayer

Clean, crisp and grassy with a sense of purity. Intriguing pure and complex flavours of hay flowers, stone fruit and citrus, fresh apples quinces and herbs also, with a hint of peppery spice and yeast prominent mineral notes and subtle wood influence.Try with seafood, trout or cold starters.

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