Austria and red wine may not shack up together in your imagination, unless you’re a wine geek like me. I do not blush to say you gotta get up close and personal with that crisp Gruner Veltiner. It’s like a spring break pole dance! An Austrian jaw-dropper. But let that slinky dance just introduce you to the seduction of Austrian wines. Right now—put Red Austrian Varietals on your shopping list. Everyone drinks Pinots and Syrahs with springtime BBQ’s. Knock your crazy friends through a loop with this instant conversation starter!
Great news for wine buyers: Austrian reds are like the middle child of red wine varietals, desperately longing to be out in front, and so hungry for attention they have to work twice as hard to grab notice. Take Blaufränkisch—AKA Lemberger—grown in Austria, Germany and Hungary, with some new labels sprout- ing up in Washington, New York and even Jefferson’s Virginia. Silky, smooth black fruit, cherry, pepper and smoky, earthy spice notes—take one sip and you’ll be springtime grilling on the patio. In honor of light spring breezes, I love serving this wine slightly chilled. Check out Zweigelt, Austria’s most planted red varietal, a combo of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. Re- minds me of a Northern Rhone Syrah with its earthy black fruit, with silkiness you’re looking for from a great Burgundian Pinot Noir!
Chargrilled burgers, lamb, roasted duck, and please don’t forget the dark chocolate to go perfectly with that Zweigelt. These Austrian reds will match up to your grilling masterpieces and make your friends beg, salivating, for more middle-kid Austrian panache.
The Unforgettable Kiss
An hour from Vienna, storks nest along the banks of Lake Neusiedl in Rust. We are talking gargantuan nests! Which match the flavors of the town’s wondrous Blaufränkish red. This juicy wine—with delicate cherry, blackberry, black pepper and earthy spice aromas and flavors—beat its strong wings right into my heart. No matter where I am, with every sip I take, I’m back in Austria with the Leitgeb family vintners watching storks prepare for the long flight to South Africa. Damn, what a beautiful world.