Wine Country: Austria!

Wine Country: Austria! image credits: AWMB/Blickwerk Fotografie

The 2019 vintage in Austria aroused great expectations right from the start. Now, reviews from experts throughout the world have confirmed it: the wines of this vintage are truly among the best that Austria’s winegrowers have been able to produce in recent decades.

Fully Ripened Grapes with Vivid Aromaticity
A very favourable vegetation cycle yielded fully mature and healthy grape material all over Austria in 2019. A mild winter was followed by a variable spring, with abundant rainfall in May; these reserves of water came in extremely handy during the hot, dry summer to follow. A mild autumn with cool nights brought the clusters to their full physiologic ripeness, imparting vivid aromaticity and pronounced acidic structure.
Praise From Jancis Robinson
At the beginning of this past February, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) was able to present a few 2019 white wines to some of the top specialists, in the course of a big Austrian Tasting in London. Grande dame of wine Jancis Robinson MW was impressed by the first 2019s she was able to sample: “I have tasted only a tiny fraction of the 2019s […] but their quality – intensity with freshness and personality – has really shone out”. Julia Harding MW also had a high opinion of the 19ers: “My impression of the whites – I haven’t tasted any reds – is that they combine depth of fruit with very good freshness, and the best are likely to age well”.

Wine Enthusiast: "Incredible Value for Such Artisinally Made Wines"
In August, Anne Krebiehl MW published her first, enthusiastic assessment of the Austrian 2019 vintage in Wine Enthusiast, recommending that wine lovers shop sooner rather than later: “[...] it’s clear that this vintage represents incredible value for such artisanally made wines. Be sure to stock up once these wines hit the shelves”. In particular, she emphasised the equally high level of white wine, red and rosé – as well as consistency in all price ranges – underscoring the outstanding quality of Austria’s flagship variety Grüner Veltliner “in all weight classes”.

Pgott: "One of The Best Vintages I Ever Tasted There."
Riesling expert, international wine critic (writing for James Suckling, among others) and long-acknowledged connoisseur of Austrian wine Stuart Pigott even considers the vintage to be one of the best in recent decades: “I have been tasting regularly in Austria since 1988 and 2019 is certainly one of the best vintages I ever tasted there. I would rank it alongside 2011, 2009 and 1999 as one of the three vintages of the modern period. The best wines are not only concentrated, but they are also expressive and beautifully balanced. I'm putting some in my cellar!”
Falstaff: Highest Level Score To Date
In the current Falstaff Wine Guide – Austria’s most important guidebook – the points-level for white wines has risen higher than ever before. Whites from the 2019 vintage, on which the focus of the 2020/21 guide lies, averaged 91.3 points, and a Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau even reached the 100-point mark. For comparison: the comparably fine white wines of the 2017 vintage averaged 90.9 points in the Falstaff Wine Guide for 2018/19.
Top Quality Across The Board
“With the Austrian 2019 vintage, wine lovers are fortunate in all categories – but shouldn’t wait too long to buy, since the harvest volume was slightly below average. White Gebietswein (regional wine) and the Klassik category, as well as the light and fresh red wines, are already in perfect balance, already offering great drinking pleasure. White Ortswein (villages wine) and Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine) will give great enjoyment for many years to come and realise their full potential. And as of spring 2021, Austria’s winegrowers will be able to offer fans of full-bodied reds the next great vintage, with the red Reserves of 2019”, says a happy Chris Yorke, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB).