An introduction to the three main red wine grapes of Austria

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Video transcript

I've often said that Austrian wines are some of Europe's best kept secrets, and as much as you might be now familiar with the white wines, the reds still remain unknown to a lot of people.

There's a small handful of red grape varieties unique to Austria, which do really, really well in the cool climate.

And I've got those three here.

So, starting with blaufränkisch. This goes by the name kékfrankos in Hungary, and is a really important grape for Central Europe. This is the Society's Blaufränkisch, and it's a late ripening variety that at the top end, often needs a bit of time to soften up and really become a lovely sort of silky but full-bodied red wine.

We’ve then got St. Laurent. This comes from Austria's oldest winery, and actually the oldest wine school in the world is linked to this winery, too. This is the Klosterneuburg, Stift Klosterneuburg. It's a monastery just outside of Vienna. St. Laurent is thought to be related to the pinot noir family, and a little bit like pinot, it's got the sort of a medium body, a lovely fresh acidity, but a little bit of a kind of a piquant kind of spice to it as well, which makes it really mouthwatering. It's delicious.

And then interestingly, we've got zweigelt, which is a crossing of the first two grape varieties here, and it was created in Austria in about 1922 I think. Zweigelt has these lovely soft tannins and again, the same as these other two varieties, a lovely fresh acidity as well. And I think when it's not over-oaked, it can make some really delicious, friendly and fun styles of red wines. Absolutely lovely.

So, hopefully that's an interesting little overview of Austria's three key red wine varieties. If you've not had the chance to try them before, this is your time.

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