2015 Pittnauer Pittnauski, Burgenland( £17, 13% )
It’s amazing how much Austrian red wines have improved in the last decade, thanks to warmer vintages and much better work in the vineyards and winery. This appealingly mature cuvée of Merlot with three local grapes, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St Laurent, is a case in point. It’s smooth, complex and well balanced, with subtle wood, black cherry, plum and fresh earth notes, bright, chalky acidity and a funky undertone.
2018 Felsner Moosburgerin Single Vineyard Grüner Veltliner, Kremstal, Niederösterreich( £12.49, 12.5%, Waitrose )
The really top Grüners can be expensive, but it’s amazing how much flavour and personality Austria’s most widely planted and distinctive grape can deliver at just £12.49. This single vineyard example from Manfred Felsner hails from one of the best sites in Gedersdorf and is fresh, peppery and intense, with pear and citrus peel notes, refreshingly low alcohol and a long, stony, persistent finish. A really good introduction to an under-valued variety.
White wine risingby Christy Canterbury MW
2017 Feiler-Artinger Neuburger Trocken, Rust Am See, Burgenland( £22.50, 13%, Tanners )
Neuburger is an extremely rare grape, even in its native Austria, with only 550 of the country’s 44,000 hectares, but Feiler-Artinger have made something of a specialty of the variety. This is wonderfully perfumed, with very understated oak, peachy, savoury, spicy flavours, plenty of weight and texture. It gives the impression of slight sweetness, but finishes dry, refreshing and well balanced. A wonderful curiosity.
2014 Weingut Markus Huber Grüner Veltliner Morrison Signature, Niederösterreich( £8, 12%, Morrisons )
It’s great to see an Austrian Grüner of this quality in a major supermarket. It’s not a power packed wine, but what it lacks in weight, it makes up for in freshness. Floral and medium weight, with some pepper spice, pear and citrus fruit flavours and a zesty, tangy finish. A really good food wine – and I don’t say that very often.
Newcomers on the sceneby Matt Walls
Rawfair steals the showby Simon Woolf
Bucking the trend: Natural wines at Gut Oggauby Simon Woolf
2011 Gut Oggau Theodore, Burgenland( POA, 12%, Dynamic Wines )
Terrific freshness in this blend of Grüner Veltliner and Weissburgunder (AKA Pinot Blanc) – a beguiling hint of onion skin on the nose gives way to a creamy and slightly vegetal palate, and a mineral finish. This wine spent a few days on the skins, giving it just a bit more structure and body than you might expect.
2011 Gut Oggau Winifred, Burgenland( POA, 12%, Dynamic Wines )
Made from a field blend of Bläufrankisch and Zweigelt, and with a wonderful burnished rose hue. There’s an exotic aroma of wild strawberries, and attractive herbaceous character to the lightweight fruit. Just when you think this might be another simplistic summer rosé, it builds to a more complex savoury finish.
2010 Gut Oggau Atanasius, Burgenland( POA, 12%, Dynamic Wines )
Although this is effectively Gut Oggau’s entry level red, there’s quite a serious intent to the dark leathery fruit aromas. The fruit is lively, with blackberries dominating the flavour. Elegant tannins lend gravitas to what is a fairly light style. Sandy/gravel soil.