2021: Dream Vintage in Austria

Fully ripened, healthy grapes and crystal-clear wines with excellent ageing potential: these are the hallmarks of the 2021 vintage in Austria. A glorious autumn brought superbly balanced, elegant white wines with profound fruit and crisp acidity as well as exciting, powerful reds and exquisite sweet wine specialties.

Vineyard overlooking the Danube in Wachau
Vineyard overlooking the Danube in Wachau

Niederösterreich: Brilliance in White and Red

From Wachau to Carnuntum and Weinviertel to Thermenregion, pride and joy reigns among the vintners throughout Niederösterreich (Lower Austria). The long vegetation period produced grapes with superb aroma concentration and high sugar ripeness without sacrificing refreshing acidity. The 2021 vintage was particularly advantageous for the region’s starring variety, Grüner Veltliner, which features peppery spice, deep stone fruit, and creamy smoothness. The Rieslings are also very promising and go in a bright-fruited direction with more peach than apricot. Ripe, well-structured Chardonnays and aromatic Sauvignon Blancs and Muskatellers are equally convincing. Rare autochthon varieties like Roter Veltliner in the Wagram or Rotgipfler and Zierfandler in the Thermenregion also meet high expectations.

Excellent red wines were produced in the Thermenregion and Carnuntum. Even delicate varieties like Pinot Noir and St. Laurent had no issues with premature sugar ripeness or fungal rot. Just like the white Ried (single-vineyard) and reserve wines, the reds have superb structure and good ageing potential.

Eiswein (ice wine) was achieved in Niederösterreich for the first time again in several years. Weinviertel picked frozen grapes in the days before and after Christmas while Kamptal, Kremstal, and Wagram harvested this sweet wine specialty mid-January.

Field blends called Wiener Gemischter Satz are a specialty of Wien (Vienna)
Field blends called Wiener Gemischter Satz are a specialty of Wien (Vienna)

Wien: Gemischter Satz Wines

The harvest in Wien (Vienna) yielded excellent Wiener Gemischter Satz and exceptionally appetizing Grüner Veltliner from the Nussberg, Bisamberg, and Maurerberg Rieds. The Rieslings from prime Döblinger and Maurer Rieds confirmed their place among Austria’s elite wines. It is particularly striking that even wines in the entry-level segment are of very high quality.

Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt performed well in Burgenland
Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt performed well in Burgenland

Optimal Conditions in Burgenland

After a gorgeous autumn and the latest harvest in many years, Burgenland also excels across the board. The white wines combine freshness and vitality with deep, crystal-clear fruit. The Pinot Blancs and Chardonnays from the Leithaberg are not the only wines that bring delicious pleasure.

The red wines also benefited from these optimal conditions, especially the two flagship varieties Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. The reds boast sharply defined fruit, fully ripe tannins, and excellent acid structure. Some winemakers even believe they have the most promising red wine ever maturing in their cellars, wines that will rival those from the exceptional 2011 and 2017 vintages.

After the long, dry autumn, beautiful Botrytis cinerea developed in November, yielding winegrowers in the Seewinkel area and on the western shore around Rust high-quality sweet wines.

Small quantities of very flavourful wines in Steiermark
Small quantities of very flavourful wines in Steiermark

Steiermark: Small Quantity, Great Wines

As elsewhere in Austria, budbreak and flowering occurred relatively late in Steiermark (Styria). The long-awaited rainfall that finally arrived in May could not quite compensate for the very dry winter and spring. This was the main cause for the smallest wine harvest since 2016. The unexpectedly long period of good autumnal weather provided a happy ending. It was essential not to start the harvest too early, but to take advantage of the entire splendid September.

The main harvest in Vulkanland Steiermark and in Südsteiermark was completed swiftly with perfect grape material that required no further selection. The clear fruit expression, elegance, and pedigree of the young wines are already impressive. Great things are to be expected from Morillon and the Pinot varieties, as well as of the fully ripe, multifaceted Sauvignon Blancs. Gelber Muskateller appears almost Traminer-like with seductive rose petal fragrance.

Patiently delaying the main harvest was likewise important in Weststeiermark. In most cases, picking of the Schilcher Riedenwein (single-vineyard wines) did not commence until November. This has resulted in pink elixirs full of juice, power, and uncommon elegance. Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot varieties also grew into expressive wines in which the influence of the terroir is clearly discernible.

For more information about the course of the weather and Austria’s Bergland region:





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