Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:48 pm

Heidi Schröck Furmint 2007 -Rust, Austria 13,5%

We may find similarities between ripe, aged Grüner Veltliner and white Burgundy, but for me dry Furmint comes even closer to the mark. This is especially the case for some of Tokaji’s better examples (Szepsy, Disznoko) and the more creamy versions of ripe years from Heidi Schröck (wie ‘06.) Heidi’s 2007 is different. Though every bit as classy as a leaner vintage Puligny, Chassagne, or a more mineral cru of Meursault such as Tillets, (but not as gritty or chewy perhaps) It leans more towards the orange citrus side of the fruit spectrum with hints of stone fruit and an underlying nuttiness. It has a wonderful firmness of texture and is no slouch in the acid department. An enlightened Furmint, indeed. -BH
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:23 pm

Some great TNs this month and I too hope to have some gems to report on later as time allows.
Here is a Riesling I found at the Medicine Hat Costco last Xmas......>

WTN: `07 Zimmermann Rosshimmel Riesling, Kremstal.

12.5% alc, $18 Cdn, dry cork, little known producer. Opened for an hour, tasted better on day 2.

Color. Medium to deep straw, no green.

Nose. No petrol, pear for sure, minerally, apple, citrus.

Palate. Initial thought was dry, nothing special going on here? Citrus/grapefruit, very good acidity, "zippy" from across the table and "this is riesling?"
Dry-ish, brief hints of some tropical fruits, stone-fruits, no creamyness. So-so effort in my book.

**next day with pork scallopini and cactus berry spread showed more character with some peach and hints of RS.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Jon R » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:53 pm

I am glad You brought up Austria as the mounths issue. I myself was down there together with some winefriends and explored part of this country. And we liked to try out more of the "unknown" areas, such as Burgenland. I was not so very pleased with Austien reds, but I found out why. We have just tried out the North-Eastern wines. Down here, around Neusiedler See we found much more rich wines, many of The Blaufrankich, but the best we ment was from the Zweigelt, alone ore in blend with Merlot or other local grapes. Some of the best reds came from Mörbisch, on the border of Hungary. And in the Freistadt of Rust.
The best wine we ever tasted down here was the sweet "Ruster Ausbruch" from Heidi Schröck. This unbeliveable complexity. mature style, but with the frechness of a young dry red.
Also try out the Furmint, from this area. - See You all i Austria.
(They also got this Oper-play every summer.) And their friendlyness down here, are fantastich.)
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:32 pm

Welcome Jon! Looks like a great month here, do you have any tasting notes for us?
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Jenise » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:06 pm

We opened two GruVees over the past week. Didn't take any notes at the time, and in fact was able to pay less attention to the Gobelsburg because I was serving food/guests whereas the Hiedelberg was just Bob and I lounging about at home, but here are my impressions:

2005 Gobelsburg 'Renner': Bright yellow gold. Quite ripe, almost seemed a bit extracted. Acidity and therefore complexity a bit lower than expected (mind, I fell in love with GV when I went to an Age of Riesling tasting featuring the resplendant 99 vintage and I compare all since to those). Still good, but it lacked the cut I look for in Austrian wine. Shouldn't have held this, it was better/at its best Thanksgiving 2008.

2004 Hiedler 'Thal': This is more like it. Bright yellow gold. Sweet quince-fruit nose is noticeable a foot away from the glass. Slate-like minerality also there. On the palate, good acidity supports quince, green apple, lemon curd and that wonderful white pepper thing these wines so often have, very stoney on the finish. Excellent, and wonderful with an appetizer of raw wild Alaskan scallops tossed with lemon juice and finely diced white onion.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:12 pm

Hiedelberg? Hiedler perhaps?

I would honestly think that 2005 Gobelsburg Renner would be totally shut down. It's an age worthy wine.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Jenise » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:19 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Hiedelberg? Hiedler perhaps?

I would honestly think that 2005 Gobelsburg Renner would be totally shut down. It's an age worthy wine.


Oh what a stupid mistake. Yes, Hiedler.

And re the Gobelsburg, wish I'd been able to pay more attention to it.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Wick White » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:13 pm

My first post on this board and I can start with Austria as well :) I know quite a bit about Austrian wine since I'm working a lot with the product in the hospitality business. Since most people already know about Riesling and Grüner Veltliner I rather start with information about Steiermark (Styria).
There's 3 wine regions in the province. Ost-Steiermark (Eastern Styria), Süd-Steiermark (Southern Styria) and West-Steiermark (Western Styria).

If you want to travel the region this website is a good guide for restaurants and wine
http://www.weinblattl.at/
Disadvantage is that Austrians seem to have a problem with creating English websites and the page is only in german. Still makes it a good guide though!

Ost-Steiermark:
Untill the 1980's the Traminer from Klöch was the most well known wine from this region. Back then the trend use to be sweet wines and almost all the wines used to be sweet. The wine-scandal 1985 in Austria (Vineyards sugared up their wines, and put Diethylenglykol in them ;) ) changed all of this. After the big scandal there was no demand for sweet wines anymore, and its still hard to sell wines like Klöcher Traminer under Austrians. The outcome of the wine scandal was heaps of innovations because the wine was unsellable.
The best appellations (Called Lagen in Austria) are the ones on volcanic soil, Riegersburg, Kapfenstein, Straden, Bad Gleichenberg and Klöch. The region lies exactly between the hot and dry pannonia continental climate and the cool influence of the Alps. Excellent conditions for growing wine. The wines are less fruity and less acidic as in the Südsteiermark, but are fuller and storable for more years. The best wines in this region are mostly white. Morillon (Chardonnay), Sauvignon Blanc, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) are the wines you want to go for in the region if you like the more powerful wines. The lighter wines are Welschriesling (not to mistake with riesling) and Gelber Muskateller (Muskat Blancs a Petit Grains) which are really nice on a hot summer day. Of course Traminer is not to forget about. With a lack of acidic taste or too much of a sweet taste in the foregroud mostly makes this wine wide, flat and empty. If vinivicated correctly it has potencial for great wines from really dry to sweet wines like Beeren and Trockenbeerenauslese.
Good vineyards are: Albert Neumeister, Walter Frauwallner, Alois Eibel, Winkler-Hermaden, Frühwirt, Krispel, Platzer, Matthias Trummer, Scheucher and Ploder-Rosenberg.

My favorite vineyards in this region are:
Ploder-Rosenberg: (http://www.ploder-rosenberg.at)
Mattias Trummer: (http://www.weinbau-trummer.at)
Scheucher: (http://www.weingut-scheucher.at/)

My favorite restaurants are:
Thaller in the town St Veit: (http://www.gasthaus-thaller.at)
Excellent address for food close to the Südsteiermark. All products in the restaurant are home made and an excellent wine list.

Berggasthaus König at Pöllauberg (http://www.berggasthof-koenig.at)
Next to the excellent food and great knowledge of wine in the family this guesthouse also has pleasant rooms to stay at. Great views outside and good to combine with your Burgenland trip because its up north in the Oststeiermark.




Riegersburg
Image

I hope this is helpfull and next time a small report about the Südsteiermark.
Last edited by Wick White on Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:50 pm

Welcome to the board Wick, and thanks for the insights. While I am very fond of Austrian wine, the vast majority of my experience is Kremstal, Kamptal & Wachau.

One thing I would appreciate though is that we not perpetuate the "antifreeze" myth even in jest. It was not antifreeze.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:21 pm

Words of wisdom!
Myths can be dangerous, and are always misleading
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What Was Added?

Postby Dan Smothergill » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:56 am

David reminds us that it is a myth that the additive in the Austrian wine scandal was antifreeze (ethylene glycol). But what was it? Most say the wine was doctored with diethylene glycol, apparently not as toxic as antifreeze but used as a component in some antifreezes. Our own Mark Lipton, on the other hand, has said the real culprit was triethylene glycol. Can someone please clarify?
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:12 am

I have never seen a source that said triethylene glycol (other than Mark). He'll have to clarify his source.

I will say what I have said many times in the past - the quality of today's Austrian wine is incredibly high, and the 1985 scandal is truly a thing of the past. While the problems should not be forgotten (those who forget history and all that...) they are irrelevant when considering a bottle of today's Austrian wine. Unfortunately antifreeze and Austrian wine are still synonomous for some less informed people. It was not even two years ago that a merchant in MD tried to dissaude me from purchasing an Austrian wine with a reference to "antifreeze."
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Wick White » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:38 am

Source: ORF (Österreichische Rund Funk)

Am 23. April 1985 wurde mit dem Weinskandal einer der größten Lebensmittelskandale in der Geschichte der Zweiten Republik aufgedeckt. Das Landwirtschaftsministerium verkündete an diesem Tag, dass in großen Mengen verbotene Zugaben in Wein aus dem Burgenland und aus Niederösterreich gefunden wurden. Das geheimnisvolle Mittel, das aus gewöhnlichen Tafelweinen süße und ölige Prädikatsweine machte, hieß Diethylenglykol. Bis dahin wurde das Mittel hauptsächlich als Komponente für Frostschutzmittel eingesetzt.

Its true that it was not Antifreeze, but it was the component Diethylenglykol, which is used in antifreeze.
The inspector that covered the whole thing up wrote a book about it which is interesting: Walter Brüders, "Der Weinskandal", Verlag Denkmayr, ISBN 3901838457

Nowadays Austria has one of the strictest wine-making laws in the world and of course there's nothing to fear anymore. Austrian wines are of excellent quality. In my opinion the wine sandal of 1985 is important to talk about to make clear that there is nothing to fear about the product anymore. And it has also been the start of a new era in wine-making in Austria. Without the scandal Austrian wine would never ever have reached the quality level it has now.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:53 am

I quite agree with the last remark. The way the Austrians have turned things around is quite remarkable. Another point that should be made about what made things change so rapidly is their creation of a national wine school, co-funded by producers and governement, and to which all young wine-makers went to learn, amongst other things, about the wines from other countries in order to benchmark their targets. This highly intelligent approach should serve as an example for other countries (are you listening in France?).
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:12 am

David - why do you think they need to do the same thing in France (national wine school with international benchmarks)? There are enology schools in France. Are their teachings insufficient? To be honest, the last thing I would want as a fan of French wine is winemakers looking to make their wines more like the wines of ohter countries. It hapens too much already. Given the distinctiveness of Austrian wine, and the prominence of the nearly unique to Austria Gruner Veltliner, I would actually question the value of the "benchmarking" as oposed to learning solid fundamentals of winemaking that can be applied to their specific locations.

That said, I do agree that the quality of winemaking is extremely high in Austria.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:00 am

David, to me it is simply a matter of being aware of what is done elsewhere and the approach, standards and flavours involved. "Benchmarking " is perhaps the wrong term. Let me explain what I mean here.
The best thing that has happened to French wine in the past 20 years has been the tendency for more and more apprentice winemakers to travel to other countries. This has opened their eyes and minds and has enormously improved the quality of the wines that have been made more recently by these producers as they return to their home ground. It is not about "copying" flavours. In any event, I don't think that you can do that, as flavours depend as much on the environment as on winemaking or even viticultural procedures. It is about enhancing knowledge and keeping an open mind. It is also about thinking about other peoples' tastes, and hence about markets.
The best thing the French governement could do is to oblige every budding wine producer in the country to spend at least 12 months in other countries, of which at least 3 should be in markets. Will it happen? No.
But I firmly believe that the result would NOT be a levelling of styles, but a better use of the true potential of each region, thanks to more lateral thinking and enhanced awareness. Good winemaking is not about keeping ones eyes locked to the rearview mirror, which is what happens with the vast mass of indifferent wines we have in this country (France) alongside a strong minority of very good to excellent ones.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:18 am

Thanks for the explanation David. I will have to ponder it for a bit before fully responding. My gut reaction is that there are many, many French winemakers who are much more open to the wider world of wine than 30 years ago, so your proposition may be a little late, but of course there's no objective data to back that up pro or con.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David Cobbold » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:42 am

Of course, and I said this if you read me carefully.
But there is still room for improvement.
And one can probably apply a similar wish to a number of other countries.
Exchange is usually highly beneficial to quality (in wine as in other things). And I do not find that this in any way unifies wine styles, even if it does tends to narrow the gap between the dreadful and the sublime. As long as it works upwards in this sense, who is complaining ?
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:54 am

Apologies - I was essentially agreeing with your comments regarding apprentice winemakers and travel, but more detail will have to wait.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Kelly Young » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:58 am

Weingut R & A Pfaffl Austrian Cherry Zweigelt 2008
Given to me as a gift last week. The seems to sell in the $13-14 range. 12.5%Abv

Image
Ich empfehle diesen Wein vollständig, sogar über vom Grab hinaus!
(I recommend this wine completely, even from beyond the grave!)

Like some of the motifs from the above piano pounder, this wine offers more than might be apparent at first glance...er..taste. Playful and serious at the same time. Eine kleine glass of weine. I have to say this seems to be the perfect marriage that the cross of Blaufrankish and St. Laurent would suggest (substantial but no, light, not really but yes but no, oh hell have another). Sure there is bright cherry fruit there, some tannin in the background and it tapers off into what I can only describe as a bit of sweet tea with lemon. It's moreish to boot.

This is back the truck up stuff indeed.

At this point if I see the Red White Red on the top of the bottle I'm thinking of buying it.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:49 am

1993 Nikolaihof Grüner Veltliner “VINOTHEK” -Wachau, Österreich 12,5%

There is a fan or two of this wine here, but in case you don’t know: Nikolaihof has released only a couple of wines in the last few years that they designate vinothek. These are wines that have been held back in barrel for years after fermentation (and sans sulfur) until deemed ready for bottling (14 years in the case of the ’93 Grüner Veltliner.)
Writing a tasting note for a wine like this strikes me as more than a little vulgar (like pornography for wine geeks.) I feel compelled to just enjoy it and let myself be swept away -to hell with pen and paper. I’m going to write one anyway…and take a shower afterwards.

Everything about this wine is so beautifully integrated. First of all, there is not the slightest hint of oxidation. None. It even looks young. There is no separation or yellowing of color (though even 30 year old bottle-aged Grüner holds its color well.) All of this, despite the fact that it’s been relaxing in Faß for a decade and a half without the addition of sulfur. Some wines are tasted (by me) in stream-of-consciousness fashion where one aroma or flavor suggests another and flows accordingly. The greatest wines march at me all at once from every side; surrounding me and deftly interjecting subtle nuance and then morphing without notice into another even more subtle flavor and back again. The Vinothek is certainly of that ilk.

Baked apple, straw, Chenin Blanc aloe and mineral, (actually, sort of Savennières meets Corton-Charlemagne) savory great northern and sweet fava bean, Weißer Spargel, sweet corn and only a pinch of white pepper (maybe brined peppercorn.) It is more Federspiel in the mouth than modern Smaragd (though you can hardly call anything from Nikolaihof modern) in that it is delicately creamy and caressing but with sparse acidity, yet incredibly, it still has length.
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:52 am

Bill Hooper wrote:The greatest wines march at me all at once from every side; surrounding me and deftly interjecting subtle nuance and then morphing without notice into another even more subtle flavor and back again. The Vinothek is certainly of that ilk.

Baked apple, straw, Chenin Blanc aloe and mineral, (actually, sort of Savennières meets Corton-Charlemagne) savory great northern and sweet fava bean, Weißer Spargel, sweet corn and only a pinch of white pepper (maybe brined peppercorn.) It is more Federspiel in the mouth than modern Smaragd (though you can hardly call anything from Nikolaihof modern) in that it is delicately creamy and caressing but with sparse acidity, yet incredibly, it still has length.


Sounds great. Save me a pour!
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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Bill Hooper » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:58 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Bill Hooper wrote:The greatest wines march at me all at once from every side; surrounding me and deftly interjecting subtle nuance and then morphing without notice into another even more subtle flavor and back again. The Vinothek is certainly of that ilk.

Baked apple, straw, Chenin Blanc aloe and mineral, (actually, sort of Savennières meets Corton-Charlemagne) savory great northern and sweet fava bean, Weißer Spargel, sweet corn and only a pinch of white pepper (maybe brined peppercorn.) It is more Federspiel in the mouth than modern Smaragd (though you can hardly call anything from Nikolaihof modern) in that it is delicately creamy and caressing but with sparse acidity, yet incredibly, it still has length.


Sounds great. Save me a pour!


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Re: Wine Focus: April 2010 - Austria

Postby Wick White » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:15 am

A new day and a new post. Today Süd-Steiermark.

This is region is next to Wachau one of the most famous wine regions in Austria. This hasnt always been this way. After WW I Steiermark lost 30.000 hectare of wine producing land to Yugoslavia. The so called Untersteiermark. What was left is 10% and is nowadays called Süd-Steiermark. The governor of Steiermark made one of the first wine roads in 1955 which created the first opportunity to reach a lot of vineyards. In 1982 there was still no track of prosperity and wealth in the region. This was also the case because you could earn more money with trade of grapes from Burgenland and Niederösterreich than with work in the vineyard. Most vineyards had a mixed farm of cattle, fruit and wine. In the 90's things started to change and Polz, Tement and Gross and Sattler had made name with wines from their own vineyards and they mostly didnt have enough wine in their still small wine cellars. Vineyards started to grow and because of EU-support a lot of winegrowers got more money to invest in cellar technique.
In the 80's typical Styrian wine was sweet, broad and to strong on alcohol. Nowadays a typical Southern Styrian wine is fresh, fruity, light in alcohol and an acidic taste. In the 80's the first trial and error took place with wooden barrels and it didnt take long until the winemakers found out how much wood was needed. They also started to make wines from one typical Lagen (Appellation). These Lagen-weinen soon became a synonym for excellent wines.

Image
Photo: Manfred Zweimueller
There's plenty of different grapes grown in the area. Red wines are Zweigelt, Blauer Wildbacher and Pinot Noir which arent top class, but there are some good producers. Be aware that these wines aren't of concurrence with the Burgenland, Carnuntum and other region red wines. They are easy drinking wines in a price range up to a maximum of Euro 15,- With white wines it's a whole different story. Welschriesling, Scheurebe, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon, Traminer. Plenty of choice. The first 3 is what we call bread and butter wine (20% of all vineyards in Styria are Welschriesling), the other ones are probably more interesting to buy and try when you don't visit the region and you're looking for more interesting wines.
Theres heaps of good smaller vineyards in the Südsteiermark. Some of them are Sattlerhof, Erich und Walter Polz, Manfred Tement, Brolli-Arkadenhof, Elsnegg, Hannes Harkamp, Jaunegg, Lackner-Tinnacher, Maitz, Repolusk, Erwin Sabathi. Tschermonegg, Riegelnegg-Olwitschhof

Image
Photo: Manfred Zweimueller

My favorite vineyards in this region are:
Franz Strablegg: (no homepage, Location: 8454 Eichberg-Trautenburg 54)
The only thing this winemaker cares for is making wine. No marketing at all and the product needs to speak for itself. You can't find him online or in guides like Fallstaff (Austrian Wine and Food Guide). Even though there's no marketing, his wines are sold out way to early. Especially try his Sauvignon Blanc and Grauburgunder.

Gross: (http://www.gross.at)
Gross is one of the bigger vineyards in the Südsteiermark with about 36 hectares of vineyards. If you like oak whites try his wines from the Lagen: Ratscher Nussberg, Perz, Sulz and Kittenberg. His Klassik wines (Klassik wines in Styria always come from steel-tanks) are also excellent of taste.

Potzinger: (http://www.potzinger.at)
Potzinger makes exellent Klassik wines. One of my favorite vineyards for Klassik wines in the Südsteiermark. Definately try his Klassik Weissburgunder, Sauvignon Blanc and Gelber Muskateller.

Riegelnegg-Olwitschhof: (http://www.riegelnegg.at)
Another favorite vineyard for Klassik wines. In my opinion this vineyard makes the best Klassik Gelber Muskateller (Muskateller Aperitif) in the Südsteiermark. He also creates one of the best Styrian reds: Roter Sernauberg, which is a cuvee of Zweigelt - Merlot - Blauer Wildbacher

My favorite restaurants in the Südsteiermark are:

Schloss Gamlitz: (http://www.melcher.at) Excellent vineyard as well.
The small château offers cold cuts and their own wine (called a Buschenschank in Styria). Very nice inner courtyard to relax and enjoy the local qualities.

Image
Photo: Melcher Schloss Gamlitz: (http://www.melcher.at)

Restaurant Zur Hube: (http://www.zurhube.at)
Top of the notch restaurant. Used to be an insider restaurant for friends and relatives, but grew out to a proper restaurant. There's only 20 seats in the whole restaurant, so be sure to make a reservation in advance. It's a 300 year old Styrian house in the middle of the hills in Sausal. (Combine this restaurant visit with a trip to vineyard Strablegg-Leitner).

Image
Photo: Zur Hube: (http://www.zurhube.at)

Weingut Maitz: (http://www.maitz.co.at)
Also an excellent vineyard in the Südsteiermark. This vineyard is close to Gross, Melcher - Schloss Gamlitz, Potzinger and Riegelnegg-Olwitschhof. One of the most beautiful spots in the Südsteiermark to go for lunch. Astonishing view over the vineyards.

Image
Photo: Manfred Zweimueller
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