Wine That Pairs with Everything

Woman on Wine with Amy Reiley

amy reileyI have always loved the wines of Austria. A mountainous nation known for its ski slopes and charming towns is also noted as producing some of the finest white wines in the world. What sets Austrian whites apart is, largely, that Alpine terrain. One of Austria’s four major wine growing regions, Steiermark, enjoys Mediterranean influences. But for the rest, Austria’s climate and growing conditions are perfect for clean, fresh, aromatic, cool-climate white–and to a much more limited extent red–wines. And in my opinion, clean and fresh are attributes that make wines friendly for pairing with (almost) any food.

2013 Hiedler “Loss” Gruner Veltliner
2013 was an exceptional vintage for Hiedler, as it was for most of Austria. But when a producer makes an affordable, entry-level wine in an exceptional vintage, there probably aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary. It is subtle and soft, yet it offers the weight of far more serious wine than the price would imply. Seriously, just try it.

2013 Glatzer Gruner Veltliner
Yet another great value Gruner Veltliner from the 2013 vintage, this wine offers all the attributes you would expect from the grape yet with a little funk. The Gruner grape should offer a medium bodied wine with fresh flavor and a hint of pepper. This wine has all that along with an enticing passion fruit aroma and a faintly herbaceous note at the back of the palate.

schloss gobelsburg austrian wine2011 Schloss Gobelsburg “Tradition” Gruner Veltliner
This is a wine for those who like the Gruner grape yet appreciate a big, serious white wine. I hesitate to say it, but you could almost call it Gruner Veltiner for the Chardonnay drinker. It is oily on the tongue with notes of toasted multigrain bread. It has a compelling, exotic spice and a hint of sweet, ripe stone fruit.

2013 Hirsch “Zobing” Riesling
A deliciously bright, vibrant Riesling, this wine has a compelling texture that almost dances its way through the mouth. It offers smoky and mineral notes to balance its ripe peach and nectarine flavors. It is clean on the finish, leaving your mouth watering for more.

2013 Heidi Schrock Gelber Muskateller
A grape with which most of the world is unfamiliar, Gelber Muskateller is a notoriously difficult grape to grow. When made into dry wines, it usually offers floral, spice and stone fruit notes. Schrock’s version is lean with cleansing freshness and an herbal quality that is reminiscent of cilantro.

2011 Prieler “Johanneshohe” Blaufrankisch
A great buy for an imported, red wine, this Blaufrankisch offers sensual, musky animal notes balanced with the approachability of easy tannins and bright acidity. Blaufrankish is a red grape grown in cool climates known for refreshing acidity and intensity of fruit. This wine has both along with the complexity of spice, forest floor and musk.

2011 Prieler “Leithaberg” Blaufrankisch
If Prieler’s “Johanneshohe” was a great value wine, this Blaufrankisch is a great wine, period. One of the best examples of the varietal I’ve ever tasted, it offers a compelling perfume of crushed pine needle, ripe red berries and blackberries and an underlying lustiness of sweat. Complex with big, blackberry fruit, graphite, sage and a spice note that lingers long.

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