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Domäne Wachau Collection Federspiel Riesling 2020

White Wine from Austria
Austria's Wachau region is famous for producing some of the country's most prestigious rieslings, with price tags to match. This, however, is a delicious entry point into the region's style: a vibrant, young and fresh dry riesling with apricot, nectarine and citrus flavours.
Price: £9.25 Bottle
Price: £55.50 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: AA3201

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Dry
  • Riesling
  • 12.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2024
  • 75cl
  • Screwcap

Austria

Austria has a long history of making fine wines, but with the country’s wines undergoing a renaissance in recent years, now is arguably the best time to get to know the diverse and delicious bottles on offer.

There is evidence that vines were being cultivated in Austria for the production of wine by the Celts, even before the Romans. Austria was, rather surprisingly, the third-largest producer of wine globally in the 1920s, mainly producing and exporting simple light white wines. In more recent times the country has had to deal with the infamous ‘anti-freeze’ scandal of the 1980s when a handful of bulk producers were found to have adulterated their wines with ethylene glycol to sweeten their wines.

The problems of the 1980s hit the country’s industry hard, but also had the effect of initiating the most wide-ranging quality control measures being implemented to ensure that this sort of disaster could never happen again. The industry was further reinvigorated as larger and less...
Austria has a long history of making fine wines, but with the country’s wines undergoing a renaissance in recent years, now is arguably the best time to get to know the diverse and delicious bottles on offer.

There is evidence that vines were being cultivated in Austria for the production of wine by the Celts, even before the Romans. Austria was, rather surprisingly, the third-largest producer of wine globally in the 1920s, mainly producing and exporting simple light white wines. In more recent times the country has had to deal with the infamous ‘anti-freeze’ scandal of the 1980s when a handful of bulk producers were found to have adulterated their wines with ethylene glycol to sweeten their wines.

The problems of the 1980s hit the country’s industry hard, but also had the effect of initiating the most wide-ranging quality control measures being implemented to ensure that this sort of disaster could never happen again. The industry was further reinvigorated as larger and less quality-oriented producers went out of business, leaving old sites available for a new generation of winemakers and the original fine winefamily producers.

Austria's wine regions are confined to the east of the country where the Alps settle into the great Pannonian Plain, running north to south along the many borders from the Czech Republic in the north to Slovenia in the south. The climate here is continental, characterised by cold winters, hot dry summers, and often a large diurnal temperature flux with hot days, and cold nights. This is perfect for ripening a large range of grape varieties and retaining acidity and fresh aromas in white wines.

Broadly there are three major regions: Niederösterreich in the north, Burgenland and Steiermark to the south. Within these regions are a further 16 smaller DACs (Districtus Austriae Controllatus).

Niederösterreich (27,128ha) is known for high-quality white wine production, and most of the vineyards are focused along the banks of the Danube and its tributaries. Nearly half of all vines in this large area are grüner veltliner although world-class rieslings are also produced. Sub regions to look out for here include Kamptal, Kremstal, Wachau, Wagram and Weinviertel.

Burgenland (13,840ha) is the area of vineyards focused around Lake Neusiedl – Central Europe's second-largest lake which straddles the Austrian-Hungarian border. Full-bodied and rich red wines are produced under the influence of the hot continental climate. The complex soil structure throughout the hills surrounding the lake, the various aspects available and large diurnal temperature change allows fine mineral-driven reds to be made. The reds produced use local grape varieties which are suited to the terroir - look out for blaufränkisch, zweigelt and St Laurent. The natural humidity caused by the lake can also lead to high levels of botrytis making this an excellent source of high-quality dessert wines.

Steiermark (Styria) (4,240h) the smallest Austrian area is developing a great reputation for its steely sauvignons and fresh aromatic white wines. Although many of the best wines are made in such small quantities that they are never exported, this is a region to watch.

In terms of grapes, grüner veltliner, native to Austria and Central Europe, is the king of the whites in terms of volume. It is turned into everything from light, thirst-quenching wines to complex barrel-aged stars. It is a great food wine and is finding its way on to many more restaurant wine lists around the world.

Riesling is less widely planted, at only 5% of Austria’s production, but makes some of the country’s finest wines, particularly on the steep slopes of the Wachau Valley along the banks of the Danube. Riesling's common style in Austria is bone-dry, elegant and steely with fresh citrus flavours.

Chardonnay (sometimes locally called morillon) and sauvignon blanc are increasingly planted and are already showing themselves to be hugely promising. The highly aromatic scheurebe, a German import, has a foothold in Steiermark making peach and blackcurrant-leaf-scented wines that marry well with spicy foods.

Reds make up about a third of Austrian plantings. 13 varieties are permitted, including both the dominant indigenous varieties and those more recently introduced such as cabernet and pinot noir. Zweigelt is the most commonly planted, making up 15% of Austria’s red vines, and is a 1920s cross between blaufränkisch and St Laurent. It makes relatively light reds generally, with sour-cherry and redcurrant flavours supported by fine tannins and a spicy linear finish.

Blaufränkisch (pronounced blaou-FREN-kish) is a late-ripening indigenous variety can create wines with dense tannins, high acidity and concentration that can age well for many years. Generally the wines have notes of blackberries, ripe cherries or plums. St Laurent wines are often confused with pinot noir as they can have a similar profile: red-berry perfume, light elegant and crisp. However, St Laurent is often used to add elegance to a blend.
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Domäne Wachau

One of Austria’s very best co-operatives, Domäne Wachau constitutes 30% of the entire Wachau vineyard area, and a good deal of that on the famous dry-stone-walled terraces along the Danube that provide some of Wachau’s best sites. Under the auspices of Roman Horvath MW the co-op has become a highly respected producer, held in high esteem for their stewardship of the land they farm as well as the quality of the wines they make.

440 hectares of vines are farmed under their thoughtful regime, with a strict quality assurance program and an incentives scheme in place for the best growers and those farming the most difficult sites, overseen by experienced winemaker Heinz Frischengruber, ensuring that grapes are of the highest quality and from low yields. Grüner veltiner dominates plantings among the co-operative’s members, making up 70% of all vines, with riesling accounting for a further 20%. Neuberger (a regional speciality), rivaner (aka müller-thurgau), pinot blanc and muscat are also grown, while pinot noir and blauer zweigelt form the final 5%. Very careful handling of the fruit from vineyard to vinification is considered vital so that terroir and primary fruit expression are to the fore, with many single-vineyard wines a focus that illustrates the quality-conscious nature of this excellent cooperative.

Austria Vintage 2020

The 2020 vintage in Austria will go down as a vintage which produced wines with a particularly impressive ageing potential. It was a long and cool vintage, resulting in wines with an incredible freshness, focus and structure.
2020 vintage reviews

JancisRobinson.com

Not the most dramatic nor purest riesling – a bit of green fruit instead. But not a bad price! Solid country riesling.

15.5/20

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