You say Austria, I say Grüner Veltliner, a white wine as bright and gleaming as the Alpine backdrop to The Sound Of Music.
But the red wines of Austria are a sumptuous symphony that also deserve to be centre stage. It’s time to embrace the star quality of Austrian reds.
For me these reds are characterised by a sense of purity reflected in their keen deployment of screw caps with the distinctive red and white stripes of the Austrian flag. While some are age-worthy, the scrumptious fruit of these wines lures me to crack them right away. The four main red grapes are Blaufränkisch, with its plump dark spice, silky and lighter Saint Laurent, elegant Pinot Noir and Zweigelt, a delicious crossing of Saint Laurent with Blaufränksich.
Online, you can find Austrian options at waitrosecellar.com, such as Feiler-Artinger Blaufränkisch Burgenland 2014 (12.5%) for £10.99, or treat yourself to Heinrich Hartl St Laurent Thermenregion 2013 (12.5%) for £19.99.
And dive into specialists such as alpinewines.co.uk for show-stopping reds such as the Blaufränkisch Reserve below. Newcomerwines.com also belongs among the cast of stars with bottles such as Jurtschitsch 2015 Jungle St Laurent (12.5%) for £20, or try the excellent range from redsquirrelwine.com – Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Zweigelt 2015 (12.5%) for £14 slices through the moment with red cherry deliciousness.
In fact, it was this shining star that confirmed Zweigelt as my go-to red grape this autumn, with its spicy red fruit flourish.
Dust off your crampons and polish your tuning fork: wines as good as this are well worth the effort to climb every mountain.
Join Olly live for his 12 Wines of Christmas Show at Crazy Coqs, London on Dec 9. faneproductions.com/ollysmith