My short but lovely trip to Austria is almost over. For the last few days I have, along with a fine group of international media and trade, been taking a deep dive into the wines of Carnuntum, and then the Danube areas (Kremstal, Kamptal, Wagram and Traisental).
This has been through focused tastings. The first day’s was a thorough look at Carnuntum, a small but emerging region to the very east, on the border with Slovakia. Then for the last two days we have had immersive tastings of the 2016 Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners from the ÖTW group of top Danube area producers.
These were held in the lovely Grafenegg castle, which was a perfect setting for this tasting. I talked about the ÖTW and Erste Lagen concept in my last blog post, and the tasting was modelled on the VDP tastings which are held each year in Wiesbaden, Germany. They are highly organised. You sit at your table with five Zalto glasses, and request the five wines you want to taste in each flight by filling in a piece of paper. These are then brought to you. You taste. And repeat.
So now I have notes on the 132 wines, but it will take a while to format them. It’s a great chance to not only get an overview of the vintage, but also the producer style and the characteristics of the vineyard (although this is a bit harder to tease out).
I’m a big fan of Riesling and Grüner, and I tasted lots of really good wines. I also love how they are taking soils and vineyards seriously. I’m going to get the Carnuntum notes up very soon, followed by all those from the Erste Lagen tasting. It’s geeky, I know, but that’s the joy of the internet.
We finished the trip with a concert at Grafenegg. It was Antonin Dvořák, played by the Czech Philharmonic orchestra. They did Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in b minor op. 104 (with cellist Truls Mørk), and then Symphony No. 8 in G major op. 88. Outdoors, in a beautiful amphitheatre, on a warm August evening, it was quite magical.