The wines of Austria (2nd edition)
by Stephen Brook
The landlocked country of Austria, at the centre of Europe, produces a great variety of quality wines. While the wine scandal of the mid-eighties caused a temporary setback, and put many blameless producers out of business, it also allowed serious winemakers a chance to focus and innovate. Stephen Brook has been fascinated by the country and its wines for more than 40 years, seeing it through its worst times to the multi-faceted wine producer it has become today.
In this second edition of The wines of Austria Brook takes readers on a vinous journey to explore the best Austria has to offer. Today, in a growing area less than half the size of Bordeaux, Austria is producing not only fabulous white and sweet wines but also reds, rosés, amber wines, Sekts and pétillants naturels. Nearly all the wine growing takes place in the east of the country, in four broad regions. In the largest, Niederösterreich, most of the vineyards lie along the Danube valley, where white wines that include Burgundy-beating Grüner Veltliners are produced, while the south-eastern part of the region specialises in reds from Austrian varieties. The eastern region of Burgenland is warm and humid, allowing the production of botrytised sweet wines. Green and bucolic Steiermark yields invigorating, refreshing whites as well as a unique rosé, Schilcher. The capital, Vienna, contains more than 600 hectares of vineyard, with much of the wine produced sold in the city’s many Heurigen, and is also the capital of Gemischter Satz.
Brook provides a detailed account of the climate, terroir and winemaking in each of the 16 major wine regions. The producers selected in each have been thoroughly updated for this edition, with many wines tasted up to the 2018 vintage. Also included is a chapter on the major varieties and a summary of vintages from 1963 to 2018.
‘There’s an elegant simplicity and intelligence about this book that I found almost restful to read. It’s rich with facts and detail for the keen MW student without being tediously dry and academic and it would be a very useful book even for someone planning a wine-tasting holiday to Austria.’ – Tamlyn Currin, jancisrobinson.com
‘An excellent reference book’ – Steve Slatcher, winenous.co.uk