Friday, June 4, 2010
Day Two VieVinum - The 7 Elements of Uniqueness
Day two of VieVinum was filled with interesting seminars that covered a wide variety of Austrian wine topics from the 7 Elements of Uniqueness to the Future of Austrian Wines to an in-depth look as Austrian dessert wines. Here are some notes on the first:
The 7 Elements of Uniqueness are:
1. The climate: Austrian wines are grown in a unique geographical position which create hot days and cool nights which create crisp, aromatic wines with full body and refined character. Ask any lover of Grüner Veltliner and you will find a passionate explanation of the different characteristics that Grüner Veltliner can take on dependent upon the region - even if the regions are right next to each other.
2. The land: The diversity of Austria's wines is enhanced by the soils such as the rocky Danube terraces, massive layers of loess in Lower Austria and calcareous soils in Burgenland and southern Styria. In a word, although the same grapes are grown largely throughout Austria, their characteristics greatly vary regionally.
3. The grapes: Obviously! Austria is home to many indigenous varietals that are only just now finding their way into other regions. Although Grüner Veltiner and some red wines such as Blaufränkisch and Zwigelt have recently been attracting much attention, there are still lesser known gems of the Austrian wine family including Zierfandler, Rotgipfler and Welshriesling.
4. The culture: I can attest to this one! Although I have had a hearty appreciation for Austrian wine for a while now, there really is nothing like experiencing the culture. From travel to food to drinking wine on the streets of Vienna, the culture of Austrian wine is truly a unique experience that I can not speak highly enough about.
5. The people: Another one I have no problem standing up and shouting about! The people in the Austrian wine industry are some of the best I've ever met. They are incredibly well natured, fun loving individuals with a real passion for their trade. Why else would I find it so hard to return to the states last week?! With more than 9000 wineries in Austria and NO large commercial wineries as one might find in other parts of the world it's no wonder that instead of competing, these winemakers are collaborating. This is just another way the Austrian wine industry can ensure they are standing up to their own high expectations of quality.
6. The respect for nature: Although many of the wineries in Austria are not certified organic they are in fact, organic. Austria is the world record holder for organic vineyards at 10% certified. GMO use is completely forbidden throughout Austria as well and more than one third of Austrian vineyards participate in a minimum-intervention program.
7. The food pairing: Austrian wines are by far some of the most food friendly wines in the world. As was showcased throughout VieVinum these wines, focusing on Grüner Veltliner, are no stranger to hearty cuisine and/or light fare. Spicy dishes? No problem. Hard to pair veggies such as asparagus? Talk about a match made in heaven. Currently there is a large focus on pairing Grüner Veltliner with traditional Chinese Cuisine that may otherwise be without a partner. Definitely try it out.
So there you have it. Austrian wines are unique in a variety of ways that really allow them to stand out against other generic international varietals one may be used to - as if you needed more convincing.
For more information, check it out here.