Only keep wines you love
with our Society's Promise
Free delivery on
12 bottles or orders over £75
Over 1300 wines
handpicked by our buyers
Sorry we do not have any notes for this product.
Product Code: AA3021
There are no member reviews for this product. Click the 'Leave a Review' button to be the first.
There are no press reviews for this product.
View all products by Grabenwerkstatt
Franz Hofbauer, schnitzel-cook extraordinaire according to buyer Freddy Bulmer, and his friend Michale Linke are old mates, enthusiasts with bags of experience around the world of wine that includes New Zealand’s famous Felton Road estate. They got together in 2014 to make wine in a small village at the western end, one might say the unusual end, of the Wachau in Austria, basing themselves in the small village of Trandorf, home of Michael’s wife. They happily took over the management of a handful of vines, some of them in a derelict vineyard that they needed to give some TLC, and farm just a hectare near the village. One of these plots provides the raw materials for their single-vineyard grüner Brandstatt, made from vines leased from an 80-year-old couple in the village. The resulting grüner veltliner wines come from a miniscule production, partly due to the small vineyard area and the hard to work steep slopes where everything is done by hand, but also by choice, concentrating the quality of the fruit. They farm along biodynamic principles, though they haven’t sought certification for it, and make the wine in Franz’s Dad’s garage, enjoying the help of enthusiastic villagers at harvest time. They believe in a hands-off approach, don’t overdo the sulfur and don’t fine or filter. Because their side-valley at the western end of the main Wachau valley is without doubt a cool-climate vineyard area, they harvest their grüner later than their counterparts further east and they reckon that any climate warming will be a benefit to them as and when it evolves. In search of some high-quality riesling they also farm a vineyard plot in the more conventional part of the Wachau further east, called Trenning, which gives them excellent grapes from vines growing at 550 metres above sea level. These are wines of intensity, delicious spice and wonderful tension and are well worth seeking out. As is that schnitzel, by all accounts.
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.
The 2019 vintage is shaping up to be exciting: producers across all of Lower Austria are over the moon, with the quality post-harvest looking excellent. This is the third hot vintage in a row, but the heat came early on in the season and then cooled and remained dry through to harvest. Thanks to this cooler, drier end of the season, phenolic ripeness is excellent, and the acidities are wonderfully balanced, making for what will undoubtedly be a legendary year. I was particularly impressed with the quality of our Exhibition Grüner Veltliner and it’s also a cracking vintage for Austrian reds too. The perfect vintage to provide the first ever Austrian wine that we will be offering en primeur.
Log in to view notes
Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.
By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.
You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.
4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?
4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?
Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.
The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.
The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.
4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?
We use the following three types of cookies:
184.108.40.206. Strictly Necessary CookiesThese cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
220.127.116.11. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking CookiesThese cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
18.104.22.168. Performance/analytical cookiesThese cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
22.214.171.124. Authentication CookieIn order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.
4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?
All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.
4.4.6. Learn more about cookies