Focus on Austria - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Focus on Austria


96             Schloss Gobelsburg     $74     2019 Kamptal 1 OTW Ried Lamm Grüner Veltliner
Michael Moosbrugger pulls this wine from a parcel on the southeast slope of Heiligenstein, where the loess is mixed with moisture-retaining clay. The vines seem to have appreciated the soil in the hot, dry 2019 vintage, if the joyousness of this wine is any reflection. Raised in large casks of oak from local forests, this feels rich and expansive, with an almost meaty density. It's more ripe than sweet, a seamless blend of flowers, fruit, earth and spice that lasts for minutes after each sip. Skurnik Wines, NY

94             Ott     $60     2019 Kamptal 1 OTW Ried Stein Grüner Veltliner
From a vineyard of loess over a lot of stone (stein in German), this biodynamically-farmed grüner stands out for the muscled, mineral complexities that give shape and clarity to its plump, peachy fruit. Raised in stainless steel tanks, it feels clean and precise, with herbal notes and firm acidity drawing the wine out along a long, clean line. Skurnik Wines, NY

93             Bründlmayer     $37     2020 Kamptal 1 OTW Ried Langenloiser Loiserberg Grüner Veltliner
Bright acidity cuts through this wine's smoky reduction, giving it a fresh, energetic feel. It's chalky and mineral, with a distinctly saline streak intensifying its savor. The wine lasting on succulent notes of lemon, quince and green pear. Skurnik Wines, NY

93             Hirsch     $30     2020 Kamptal Kammern Grüner Veltliner
Grown under biodynamics, this is creamy and compact, a kaleidoscope of flavors, from white peach to yellow plum to red-blushed peach. It feels all of a piece; the flavors driven by a firm but gentle pink-grapefruit acidity, with mineral notes and a hint of resinous herbs adding complexity. Skurnik Wines, NY

93             Hirsch     $45     2019 Kamptal 1 OTW Ried Renner Grüner Veltliner
This biodynamically grown white is ripe and juicy, with a red cast to the peach and pear fruit. It balances its sweetness with strident acidity and peppery spice, the wine feeling forward, confident, even loud. Skurnik Wines, NY

92             Loimer     $19     2020 Kamptal Lois Grüner Veltliner
Here's an affordable wine with real personality. It's savory and sweet at once, with wildflower scents and grapefruit flavor as well as a smoked-meat note that gives it breadth and depth. The acidity keeps it lively, the wine ending on a clean, fresh note. Winebow, NY

92             Steininger     $25     2020 Kamptal Reserve Ried Loisium Grüner Veltliner
A substantial grüner veltliner, this is plush and inviting in its fruity abundance. The notes of lemon, pear and peach edge toward superripeness without going over the edge, restrained by a pillowy earthiness. It holds this balance for days after opening, indicating its structural integrity. Artisanal Cellars, White River Junction, VT

90             Hirsch     $21     2020 Kamptal Hirschvergnugen Grüner Veltliner
Johannes Hirsch's basic offering, this is classic grüner veltliner, savory and a little smoky, with a green-bean note alongside the limey fruit. It feels steadfast and true to type, ready to go up against anything from salad to gravy-covered poutine. Skurnik Wines, NY

87             Steininger     $18     2020 Kamptal Grüner Veltliner
Almost a caricature of grüner veltliner, this is a jumble of pineapple, pear and white-pepper flavors with a bit of yellow-lentil earthiness providing body. It's plump and fun; for party drinking. Artisanal Cellars, White River Junction, VT


93             Salomon-Undhof     $39     2020 Kremstal Erste Lage Ried Wachtberg Grüner Veltliner
Grown not far from the border with the Wachau, this marries Kremstal (loess) plumpness with Wachau (gneiss) austerity. It's bursting with sweet fruit, as firm and juicy as a lemon, then ends fresh and clean, with a sense of minerality lending it clarity and precision. The acidity lasts, keeping the wine bright and vibrant, delicious now but also capable of aging. Coeur Wine Co., NY

87             Stadt Krems     $17     2020 Kremstal Grüner Veltliner Grüner Veltliner
Light and slightly fizzy at first, this is clean and bright, with sweet yellow fruit and white pepper spice. Give it a chill for summer sipping. Winebow, NY


96             Grabenwerkstatt     $110     2019 Wachau Smaragd Ried Brandstatt
This was the prettiest of all the grüner veltliners we tasted, the fruit, spice and herbal tones ringing out with bell-like clarity. It comes from a steep, terraced parcel of gneiss covered with brown earth at the top of the slope, inaccessible by tractor. Winemakers Franz Hofbauer and Michael Linke take only the best fruit for this wine, pressing it in whole clusters before letting it ferment with ambient yeasts in stainless-steel tanks. Left on its fine lees, then bottled at eight months, it offers a sense of fresh, sunny abundance in notes of crisp apple, juicy orange and a hint of tropical fruit—yet everything feels orderly, lean and firm, shaped by mineral notes right under the surface. The acidity never stops pumping flavor into the finish, keeping the wine brisk and mouthwatering. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA

93             Grabenwerkstatt     $47     2019 Wachau Federspiel Grabenwerk Grüner Veltliner
This cloudy wine packs a lot into its federspiel weight, the fruit golden-ripe and suffused with earthy spice. It's creamy yet fresh, with sparkly acidity; it's sweet and savory, with a chicken-fat richness and some red-berry notes. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA

93             Rudi Pichler     $38     2020 Wachau Smaragd Terrassen Grüner Veltliner
There's lots of baby fat here in layers of juicy peach, mango and papaya flavors, while underneath there's a chicken-fat richness and savor that makes it drink almost like a meal. It's a big-bodied Smaragd, deserving of cellar time, or a roast chicken dinner with some herbed butter slipped under the skin. Winebow, NY

92             Rudi Pichler     $28     2020 Wachau Federspiel Grüner Veltliner
This is lactic and reduced when it's first poured, but with air it develops such a clear sense of stone and clean, crisp yellow fruit that it's like watching the sun emerge from behind a storm cloud. This deserves a few more months in the bottle or a quick decant before enjoying with anything from beet salad to grilled trout. Winebow, NY

90             Frischengruber     $23     2020 Wachau Federspiel Steiger Grüner Veltliner
A bright, spritzy, screw-capped grüner veltliner, this is easy to love. It feels fresh and spring-like, with mineral-water clarity to the green fruit flavors and an invitingly smooth texture. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY

88             Gritsch     $18     2020 Wachau Federspiel Kalmuck
This emphasizes the savory side of grüner veltliner, with notes of cumin and earth to accentuate the lentil richness. The round, smooth texture puts it at the ripe end of Federspiel, though there's enough acidity to balance. New France Wine Co., St. Paul, MN


95             Rosi Schuster     $48     2019 Leithaberg Ried Ungerberg Grüner Veltliner
Harvested from 45-year-old organically farmed grüner veltliner vines growing on a sandy limestone hill at 250 feet in elevation, this is so concentrated it needs a day to sort itself out. Then the acidity wends its way through the almond-paste richness, bringing out the yellow-plum and apple fruit as well as spice and mineral acidities. It's entirely different in shape and structure than more northern examples, as if it's translated the warm, forested Burgenland hills into a sense of breadth and cashmere texture. This was the sleeper hit of the tasting, the wine that felt entirely unpretentious, clean and healthy, and yet outlasted bottles at twice the price. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA


92             Glatzer     $18     2020 Carnuntum Grüner Veltliner
While this region east of Vienna is more known for red wines, Walter Glatzer pulled off an impressive grüner veltliner from the loess-rich soils of his organically farmed vineyards. It's silky, full and fresh, a hint of slatey minerality under the pineapple fruit. And the acidity remains vivacious for days after opening. Skurnik Wines, NY


90             Wieninger     $22     2020 Wien Vienna Hills Grüner Veltliner
This is attractive from the first whiff, a complex mix of wildflower florals, smoky earth and lemon-pepper spice. It's charming and full-flavored, with a tart red-currant richness that suggests pairing with schnitzel and lingonberry sauce. Winebow, NY


90             Sohm & Kracher     $17     2020 Austria Lion Grüner Veltliner
From NYC-based sommelier Aldo Sohm and Neusiedlersee-based winemaker Gerhard Kracher, this is an impressively substantial veltliner at the price. It's floral and spicy, with a rich texture and refreshing acidity. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY

88             Forstreiter     $14     2020 Niederösterreich Grooner Grüner Veltliner
With pink grapefruit scents, peppery citrus flavors and bright, quenching acidity, this is a no-brainer for warm-weather refreshment. Frederick Wildman/Monika Caha Selections, NY

88             Waldschutz     $14     2020 Niederösterreich Handwerk Weingartenselektion Grüner Veltliner
Satiny in texture, with notes of pineapple balanced by savory earth and bright acidity, this is a terrific liter buy. Certified Sustainable Austria. Frederick Wildman/Monika Caha Selections, NY


88             Fritsch     $18     2020 Wagram Ried Steinberg Grüner Veltliner
Organically grown, this is ripe and a little gruff, with lots of peppery spice to its meaty, earthy savor. Frederick Wildman/Monika Caha Selections, NY


95             Schloss Gobelsburg     $53     2019 Kamptal 1 OTW Ried Gaisberg Riesling
This wine feels alive, dancing with fresh, vibrant acidity. The warmth of the vintage is there in the juicy ripeness of the golden fruit, but it feels just-squeezed, sweet, bitter and acidic all at once, and then lasts for minutes. There's a hint of spritz that adds to the energizing feel, and an invigorating saline minerality. Firm and crystal clean, this is delicious now and feels like it will live for years in the cellar. Skurnik Wines, NY

94             Bründlmayer     $50     2020 Kamptal 1 OTW Ried Zobinger Heiligenstein Riesling
A distinctly salty edge piques this wine's flavors, playing up both the sweet yellow-fruit notes and the sharpness of the acidity. The silky texture provides a charming counterpoint, the flavors lasting in harmony. Skurnik Wines, NY

93             Hiedler     $45     2020 Kamptal 1 OTW Ried Gaisberg Riesling
A savory riesling, this has a warm, welcoming earthiness to it, clean and enveloping. It's not so much fruity as it is ripe, the texture rich and smooth, the acidity quietly keeping the wine steady. It feels youthful and unrealized, wanting time in the cellar for more detail to develop, although it would be delicious now with a saffron risotto. Skurnik Wines, NY

92             Schloss Gobelsburg     $21     2020 Kamptal Riesling
From a variety of parcels of different elevations and soil types throughout Kamptal, this is a gentle mouthful of juicy peach and pear flavor, with enough structure and freshness to keep it lively and bring it to a clean finish. It's the sort of white that would be good at any time, whether by the glass at a wine bar or with a vegetable curry at home. Skurnik Wines, NY


96             Salomon-Undhof     $85     2020 Kremstal Ried Steiner Kögl Riesling
From the old vines on the terraces directly behind the Salomon family's winery, this is a substantial riesling. While the flavors reference taut, tangy citrus, the wine has a rich, broad texture that's weightless but mouth-filling, like whipped green tea. It's almost as if it's filled with atomized stone, the wine deeply savory and firm. Coeur Wine Co., NY

96             Stadt Krems     $45     2020 Kremstal Ried Grillenpartz
Grown on a south-facing hillside of gneiss, mica-schist and calcareous stone close to the border with Wachau, this is delicate and substantial at once. The fruit feels ripe yet buoyant, notes of sweet pear bolstered by herbal spice; there's a sparkle to the sense of minerality, and a salinity that makes it mouthwatering. It all comes together in a melodious whole, welcoming now but well worth aging in the cellar for a few years to see what else is to come. Winebow, NY

95             Salomon-Undhof     $39     2020 Kremstal Erste Lage Ried Kögl Riesling
This feels as stony and firm as you might expect from the terraces it grows on, dug into a bedrock rich in crystalline schist and covered with only a thin layer of chalky topsoil. What fruit it offers is juicy and sweet, an intense shot of yellow-plum flavor, with plum-skin savor holding it tight. A flinty smokiness billows through the wine, adding an extra dimension of savor without weight. This needs time in the cellar to come into its own. Coeur Wine Co., NY

90             Stagård     $25     2019 Kremstal Handwerk Riesling
This is herbal and smoky, almost more grüner veltliner-like than riesling in the ripe roundness of its yellow fruit and those herbal edges. It's after the primary scents fade away that the riesling character emerges, with lemony acidity and mineral clarity drawing the flavors into a long, lean line. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY


96             Rudi Pichler     $96     2020 Wachau Smaragd Ried Achleithen Riesling
From the steep gneiss slope of Achleiten, this is a muscular wine, so bound up in itself that it's hard to see the detail right now. It tastes like rocks translated into fruit, with some hints of green grass and resinous herbs around the edges; it feels essential, stripped to the basics, presented without fanfare but with a sense of vibrancy and strength that makes it compelling. This needs time in the cellar to come into its own. Winebow, NY

94             Rudi Pichler     $65     2020 Wachau Smaragd Ried Kirchweg Riesling
This is all about earth, the flavors as clear, savory and bracing as mountain water rushing over stones. There are hints of florals, a touch of herbs, but it feels mostly like everything is held in youthful suspension, needing time to resolve. It has the clarity and force to handle the variety of dishes at dim sum. Winebow, NY


93             Ott     $35     2019 Wagram Riesling
This has the plump, cushy texture common to wines from Wagram's deep loess soils. It's full-flavored, generous riesling, with honeysuckle notes and clementine flavors balanced by savory earthiness. The combination of firm acidity and generous flavors will stand up to rich, flavorful dishes, like schnitzel with creamy dilled potato salad. Skurnik Wines, NY

91             Ecker Eckhof     $24     2020 Wagram Riesling
This contrasts its sweet, concentrated lemon flavor with arrestingly vibrant acidity. It almost feels like a sparkling wine in its invigorating energy and in its precision. Skurnik Wines, NY

90             Leth     $22     2020 Wagram Felser Klassik Riesling
Fresh, floral, spicy and lemony, this is a hearty, concise riesling, firm and generous and ready for anything. The Sorting Table, Napa, CA


92             Wieninger     $21     2019 Wien Vienna Hills Riesling
This feels like a sunny summer day in Vienna, where it's grown—its hale fruit lifted with a clean, zesty vein of lemony acidity and grounded by earthy mineral notes. This has the heft and precise cut to pair with something like crepes filled with smoked ham and bergkäseWinebow, NY
96             Hannes Sabathi     $123     2017 Steiermark Reserve Ried Kranachberg Sauvignon Blanc
This is a reserve selection from the Kranachberg vineyard, a steep parcel of gravel and calcareous soils that sits at nearly 1,650 feet in elevation in southern Styria. The wine feels like it's absorbed the region's abundant sun in its warm, round, mouthfilling golden-apple fruit while balancing it with breezy acidity. It's toasty and leesy, too, but what makes the biggest impression is the way the fruit flavors reverberate off the chalky mineral base, clear and fresh, made more savory and substantial by the hints of caramel maturity flirting around the edges. Bliss Wine Imports, Napa, CA

95             Hannes Sabathi     $73     2019 Sudsteiermark Ried Kranachberg Sauvignon Blanc
This feels like fresh spring air, crisp and cool, with gentle wildflower scents. The bracing acidity enlivens the grassy, herbal fruit, and draws out a pleasantly peppery edge. Underneath it all, a firm, rooty earthiness gives the wine a sense of breadth and staying power. It's firm and elegant, a sauvignon blanc with personality. Bliss Wine Imports, Napa, CA

94             Tement     $38     2018 Sudsteiermark Ried Grassnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc
Under the reductive flinty scents this is a zesty sauvignon with a cracker-like snap to its green, grassy flavors and a juicy vivacity to its lemon-lime fruit. Youthful right now, this has the structure to take on more complexity with age, building on the subtle mineral hints that underline the fruit. David Bowler Wines, NY

93             Schauer     $30     2020 Sudsteiermark Kitzeck-Sausal Sauvignon Blanc
Brothers Stefan and Bernhard Schauer consider this their signature sauvignon blanc, sourced from a vineyard of red slate that rises to 1,903 feet in elevation. Fermented with ambient yeasts in large used wooden barrels, the wine feels plush and round, with a lemon-curd richness. And yet it's firm, with umami notes of earth and mineral and a phenolic grip. The wine holds strong for days after opening, as it is sure to last in the cellar as well. The Sorting Table, Napa, CA

92             Hannes Sabathi     $43     2020 Sudsteiermark Gamlitz Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon's herbal side comes through here in notes of green tea and lime, the wine umami-rich and savory. It feels quiet, restrained, with hints of lemon blossoms and salty spice that add grace and suggest a pairing with fluke crudo. Bliss Wine Imports, Napa, CA

92             Tement     $78     2018 Sudsteiermark Ried Zieregg Sauvignon Blanc
This is a big, full-bodied sauvignon blanc, toasty lees filling out its lemon-pink grapefruit flavors while candied ginger notes add spice. It's firm and lasting, with a mineral savor at its base. David Bowler Wines, NY

91             Schauer     $25     2020 Sudsteiermark Sauvignon Blanc
Textbook sauvignon blanc in a cool Styrian mode, this is silky and firm, its passion fruit richness held up by pithy lime acidity, mineral notes keeping it firm. The Sorting Table, Napa, CA
90             Szigeti     $22     Burgenland Sekt Methode Traditionelle Grüner Veltliner Brut
This is round and ripe, with a silky texture behind the fine bubbles. It has a vegetal sweetness, like roasted red peppers, that suggests a match with cheese biscuits or pimiento cheese and crackers. Winebow, NY
95             Wieninger     $55     2018 Wiener Gemischter Satz Rosengartl
This is next-level Gemischter Satz, an organically farmed field blend of grüner veltliner, weissburgunder, neuburger, traminer and riesling with a sweep of flavors as great as the view from the vineyard, a parcel of Nussburg high above Vienna. It's floral, fruity, zesty and rich, all the components illuminated by electric acidity. The wine lasts, fragrant and feeling whole, tightly knit, symphonic. Winebow, NY

90             Hugl-Wimmer     $16     2020 Weinviertel Gemischter Satz
Light as air, this is floral and saline, fruity and spicy, with a mouthwatering tanginess—everything you want in a $16 Gemischter Satz. Kysela Pere et Fils, Winchester, VA

90             Zahel     $20     2020 Wiener Gemischter Satz Ortswein Mauer
Grown in the hills above Vienna, this is a biodynamically farmed, cofermented blend of six white varieties. They come together in a buoyant mouthful of flavor, zesty lime and floral notes lifting the darker, earthier components. Pour it with some charcuterie, and it'll transport you to an upscale HeurigeWinemonger, San Anselmo, CA
93             Leth     $34     2020 Wagram Ried Fumberg Roter Veltliner
Unrelated to the more common grüner veltliner, roter veltliner thrives in the Wagram's deep loess soils. Franz Leth Jr. pulls this one from the higher elevations of the region, around 1,000 feet in altitude. It seems to gather the coolness of the air at that height in tangy, vibrant acidity that balances its broad, earthy density. The flavors are savory and spicy, almost grüner-like in their peppery spice, but more satiny in texture, with notes of white tea, preserved lemon and raspberry that create fascinating complexities. The Sorting Table, Napa, CA

93             Lichtenberger-Gonzalez     $25     2018 Leithaberg Muschelkalk Weiss
This is a smoky, mineral-driven low-input blend of grüner veltliner, pinot blanc and weissburgunder. The plump fruit gives it a sense of size while the herbal-stony-nutty notes add savor and firmness; wildflower scents add lift and delicacy. It's complex and balanced, able to carry from aperitif through to the cheese course. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA

91             Nigl     $23     2019 Niederösterreich Gelber Muskateller
Light, clean floral notes lead this wine, keeping muskateller's green fruit lifted and zesty. The cool mineral tones clinch it: It's a fresh, sophisticated aperitif wine or salad-course pour. Skurnik Wines, NY

91             Tement     $23     2020 Sudsteiermark Sand & Schiefer Gelber Muskateller
Fragrant with green lime and floral lemon notes, this feels like spring. It's clean, mineral and savory, head-filling yet weightless on the tongue, making it a satisfying aperitif. David Bowler Wines, NY

90             Moric     $30     2020 Mittelburgenland Super Natural Hausmarke
This is a blend of chardonnay and grüner veltliner, but that doesn't really help describe it. It's super savory, more akin to chicken stock than fruit juice, with a similarly inviting warmth. Full-bodied and balanced, this has a little grape-skin spice and limey acidity, ready to play background to any number of dishes. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA
92             Kolfok     $40     2019 Mittelburgenland Querschnitt Pinot Noir Rosé
The Wellanschitzes have the only patch of pinot noir in their region, possibly accidental when it went in the ground 40 years ago. Stefan Wellanschitz farms it under organics and ferments the juice in barrels, then lets it sit on the full lees without moving it for months. The result is a grand wine, firm and savory, its gauzy cherry flavors suffused with a flinty smokiness. It feels almost meaty, and yet the flavors are detailed and delicate, transparent enough to pair with sushi. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA
96             Moric     $145     2017 Burgenland Alte Reben Lutzmannsburg Blaufränkisch
Blaufränkisch in a Burgundy mode, this draws attention with its floral spice, flinty smokiness, and velvety cherry fruit. Its gauzy texture keeps up that impression, but the flavors head deep into the mountains of Burgenland, reflecting the warm granite slopes in its mix of ripeness and firm, earthy savor. It's a fascinating trip, and entirely satisfying, especially as it drifts into the long finish, meandering through forested hills, berry thickets and wildflower plains. Roland Velich makes it from the fruit of old, low-yielding vines on a high, stony plateau in the Leitha mountains, fermented on the skins in open vats with ambient yeasts, then aged in large, old casks for a year. Delicious now, this will age well for a decade or more. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA

95             Moric     $55     2017 Burgenland Reserve Blaufränkisch
There's a sapphire-like clarity to this wine's blue fruit, a cool brightness and precision that makes it shine. Standoffish the first day opened, it blossoms with air, turning floral and spicy and finding more depth to its black-currant flavors. Decant it if you serve it now; it has the cut and the combination of depth and freshness to stand up to a dried-aged steak. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA

95             Rosi Schuster     $23     2019 Leithaberg Blaufränkisch
Hannes Schuster is keeping up the reputation his mother developed for blaufränkisch in Burgenland with this wine, a complex, elegant take on the variety from the family's certified-organic vineyards. Fermented with ambient yeasts in open-top vats and aged in used 500-liter Stockinger barrels, it's deep, dark, black and blau in flavor, saturated but not sweet. A sense of wet stone adds a deep mineral savor and keeps the fruit firm and fresh for days after opening. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA

93             Moric     $34     2019 Burgenland Blaufränkisch
This is Roland Velich's basic cuvée, from his younger vines (up to 50 years old). The wine is as bright as its color, its ripe raspberry fruit delivered on a velvety texture. For all its sweetness, it's balanced, with sheer, firm tannins and a dancing acidity lifting it into weightlessness. A hint of alcohol adds a white-pepper spice, but otherwise it delivers its power with grace and a sense of fun—it's a seriously good wine that doesn't feel like it takes itself too seriously. Winemonger, San Anselmo, CA

93             Claus Preisinger     $45     2014 Neusiedlersee Pannobile
A classic Pannobile cuvée of zweigelt and blaufränkisch made from biodynamically farmed fruit, this is fermented with ambient yeasts and then aged in big, neutral oak barrels. The wine is spicy and tangy, with bright cranberry notes and rich purple fruit. The real draw, however, is how bottle age has given it a feeling of worn-in comfort, its plushness underlined by a sense of solidity—this isn't just all velvet and stuffing but has real power and frame to hold it all up. It's ready to drink now, at the intersection of young and old. Volker Wine Co., Houston, TX

92             Markus Altenburger     $20     2019 Burgenland vom Kalk Blaufränkisch
This is immediately appealing in its lush, meaty scents of red and purple fruit and violets. It's made from organically farmed fruit off calcareous soils in Leithaberg and fermented with ambient yeasts in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak. The wine's tangy spice keeps the substantial fruit lifted, the wine finishing clean, fresh and savory, with a sense of cool stone. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY

92             Heinrich     $35     2017 Leithaberg Blaufränkisch
An oak-driven style, this has plenty of fresh, healthy raspberry fruit to match its oak spice, and well-rounded tannins to hold it all up. It's smooth and sleek, with a chocolate-cherry richness that will stand up to a thick-cut steak. Winebow, NY
97             Kracher     $76     2018 Burgenland Nouvelle Vague Grande Cuvée Nummer 5 Trockenbeerenauslese
A blend of chardonnay and welschriesling picked extremely ripe and aged in new barriques for 28 months, this is an extraordinary dessert wine. It's bursting with exotic scents, from rosewater and orange blossom to cinnamon sticks and walnuts; the flavors span the fruit world from pink grapefruit to red apple and even blueberry. For all its honeyed density (there's 223.5 g/l residual sugar) the wine isn't sticky in the least, the sweetness balanced by a smoky savor and a hint of bitterness that will allow it to pair with cheese or pâté as easily as it might an apricot tart. Terlato Wines Int'l, Lake Bluff, IL

96             Weinrieder     $60     2019 Niederösterreich Sweet March Marzlese Grüner Veltliner
Fritz Rieder waited until March 2020 to pick the grapes for this wine, at which point they were so raisined there was barely any juice to extract. The concentration is immediately evident in the texture of the wine, almost slippery in its satin density. Somehow, in what feels like a magic trick, it slips right off the tongue, weightless despite the 215 g/l residual sugar it holds, leaving in its wake a fascinatingly savory array of flavors, from green tea to wildflowers, toasted barley and hay. Mariko Kobayashi from Chambers Street Wines suggested taking it to a Japanese restaurant, as that umami sweetness could play off anything from fish dishes to a matcha sponge cake. Vidalco Int'l, Charleston, WV

95             Weinrieder     $33     2013 Niederösterreich Sweet Selection Beerenauslese Chardonnay
Rich and creamy, this presents chardonnay in a luxuriously sweet mode. The texture has the soft, airy loft of a cashmere sweater; the fruit is fascinating, moving from typical golden apple into notes of tart cherry and raspberry, with some floral notes adding grace. And, with its gentle but persistent acidity, this could pair well with a cheese course. Vidalco Int'l, Charleston, WV

94             Kracher     $83     2018 Burgenland Zwischen den Seen Scheurebe Nummer 7 Trockenbeerenauslese
This takes scheurebe's tropical tones and turns them into a wine as luscious and hedonistic as bananas Foster. Notes of candied orange and pink grapefruit lift the caramel sweetness, though with its creamy texture and 234.5 grams of residual sugar per liter, this could easily stand in for dessert all on its own. Terlato Wines Int'l, Lake Bluff, IL

90             Kracher     $70     2018 Burgenland Zwischen den Seen Scheurebe Nummer 3 Trockenbeerenauslese
Lighter than Kracher's #7 (188 g/l residual sugar vs. 234.5 g/l), this is bright, fresh and floral, with a banana-cream-pie plushness. It's sweet and soft, wanting a stinky washed-rind cheese to match. Terlato Wines Int'l, Lake Bluff, IL

is W&S’s editor at large and covers the wines of the Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe for the magazine.

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