My guess is that most people not only have not had an Austrian wine, but aren’t aware there are Austrian wines. (And no, grüner veltliner, the Austrian white wine that is the darling of sommeliers and chic wine retailers doesn’t count, since most of us aren’t sommeliers or chic retailers.)
So I was quite excited about the Red (about $10), made with two quite obscure grapes – zweigelt and blaufrankisch – in an even more obscure wine region – the Neusiedlersee Hügelland in eastern Austria south of Vienna. What more could the Wine Curmudgeon ask for?
And this is a wonderful wine, in all sorts of ways. It’s simple yet quite fascinating, with an earthy, almost roast meat flavor, soft tannins, balanced acidity, and lots of cherry fruit. In other words, it tastes nothing like most of the red wines we’re taught to drink. In this, it’s another example of what can be done by winemakers who stick to what the grapes give them and not what the magazines tell them to make. In keeping with this theme, the Web site is quite eccentric. You’ll need to point and click on what look to be blank pages to make it work, but it will.
This is a wine for summer barbecue, sausages, potato salad, baked beans, and cole slaw. Or, as the weather cools, use it for stews and peasant style soups. Highly recommended, with the caveat that it may be difficult to find.