Weekly Local Wine’d Up # 6 – The Germany and Austria Wine Regions
September means its back to school time, but when it comes to learning about wine, class is always in session for the folks at iYellow!
This Fall iYellow Wine Club is launching a new blog called “Local Wine’d Up!” The blog follows what Kate More, of iYellow Wine Group, learns about international wine regions at the International Sommelier Guild (ISG), where Kate studying to become an ISG Sommelier.
And since wine tasting is her homework (and because iYellow loves Ontario), the blog will supplement her study with reviews of great local varietals!
The goal of “Local Wine’d Up” is to demonstrate the quality and versatility of Ontario wine. An exploration of our local region can actually feel like an exploration of international wine, you just have to know which varietals to taste, and iYellow is here to help!
Don’t forget to take notes!
Week # 1: The Germany and Austria Wine Region
Austria – a small, predominantly mountainous country in Central Europe, approx. between Germany, Italy and Hungary
Germany – Cold and continental.
Austria – Mainly continental
Germany – Slate, sandstone and loess.
Austria – Granite, crystalline slate and loam
Germany – Tafelwein, Deutscher Tafelwein, Landwein, QbA (must be sourced from one of 13 designated wine regions) and QmP.
- Qmp wine is sourced from one Anbaugebiet (designated wine region) and classifed according to must weight at harvest:Eiswein, Spatlese, Auslese Beerenauslese, Kabinett, and Trockenbeerenauslese.
- Regional Terminology is also used: Bereich (large area inside a Anbaugebiet), Gemeinde (commune), Grosselage (collection of varying vineyards), Einzellage (single vineyard).
Austria – Very similar to Germany, and is carefully regulated.
Germany – Riesling, Sylvaner, Muller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir)
Austria – Gruner Veltliner , Riesling, Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt.
Germany – Pendelbogen is a common vine training system in Germany, and involves a circular wire on a stake with a tall vertical wine in the center. Most vines are staked on steep slopes.
Germany – Primarily white wine, cold fermentation temperatures. Residual sugar to balance alcohol, arrested fermentation and Sussreserve.
Austria – Mostly white wines.
- Mosel – light, floral Rieslings
- Rheingau – tropical, full-bodied Rielsings
- Rheinhessen – Liebfraumilch “Milk of Our Lady” wine
- Pfalz – Alsace-influenced, Riesling, Pinot Noir, full-bodied
Austria – Wachau (best for concentrated, dry and long-lived whites), Kremstal, and Kamptal
* A note about the Hungary Wine Region – The wine region is located in Northern Hungary, and is famous for Tokaji Aszu – a wine specific to Hungary, made from Furmint and Harslevelu Botrytis affected grapes, that are then pounded into a paste and added to a dry wine. The more paste added the sweeter the wine gets.
Like a bottle off the rack in a Rheingau wine shop, this off-dry Riesling showcases a nose of sweet peaches and petrol with honey-drizzled ripe stone fruit, pineapple and citrus notes on the palate.
Riesling wines from the Mosel are commonly delicate, high in acid, fruit with a light body, and even possessing the occasional spritz. This low, 10 per cent alcohol Riesling is pretty sweet but is balanced with fine-tuned, high acidity. Poached pears and lemon drops are evident on both the nose and palate. Ends short and quite sweet!
Attention ladies and gents, may we present to you a Rheingau Riesling! Wait, not Rheingau…a Niagara? You got me fooled Cave Springs, and after sipping this wine, you’ve got my attention! With a lovely nose, this wine is off-dry and brings to mind rose petals floating in a glass of ice-cold sweet lemonade. There is also clear minerality and closes with noticeable citrus character.
The nose on this wine is as sweet as pie, and as the winery’s website states – key lime pie was an intended note! A sip of this Reisling delivers bartlett pear and wet stone to the senses. Like a German Riesling, Mike Weir has produced an off-dry darling, whose sweet demeanor is balanced by stop-you-in-your-track acidity. She’s a catch!
Here we have another German twin, with a light golden colour this Riesling has a noticeable acidity with bouncy citrus, nectarine and limeade flavours. Its off-dry sweetness level is balanced by both the look-at-me acidity and a stoic minerality.
Niagara may the world’s top Icewine-producing wine region today, but the Germany was the first to produce “Eiswein” and every few year, it still does. The Mosel wine region make natural Icewine and is known for its sweet Eiswein with complex tropical fruits, honeysuckle, and racy acidity. Cave Springs always does a top-notch job with Icewine, and their talent is especially evident with this wine. This dessert wine has delightful floral aromas, laced with juicy clementines. It is not overly sweet but pitched perfectly with honeysuckle and honeyed citrus notes all around.