New York (Finger Lakes)
Austria has a tradition of winemaking and grape cultivation that goes back for thousands of years. The region’s geology and climate are ideal for grapes, giving the vines the best possible conditions for bearing fruit.
While Riesling production in Austria is fairly small (the country’s primary variety is Grüner Veltliner), the region has a worldwide reputation for producing excellent Rieslings. Many consider Rieslings to be the best wines that Austria produces.
The majority of Austrian Rieslings are dry. They are known for being highly structured and crisp, with somewhat softer acidity than the dry Rieslings that are produced in Germany. They display notes of minerals, citrus, flowers, and stone fruit in good balance. Noble sweet wines (those made with beneficial botrytis-infected fruit) are also produced in Austria, with a history that goes back to 1526, when the first trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) was made.
Austria is said to produce dry Rieslings because the region has a perfect climate. Hot sun on terraced vineyards and cool windy nights allow the fruit to develop to full ripeness, which allows winemakers to fully ferment the wine, creating dry Rieslings.
Austrian Riesling is produced in three primary regions: Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal, as well as Traisental. The terroir of these areas lends a distinct quality of flint.
Labeling of Austrian Rieslings is somewhat simpler than for its neighbors in Germany and Alsace. Wines from Wachau use historical terms for fruit ripeness at picking. “Smaragd” indicates a wine made from riper grapes than a wine labeled “federspiel.”