Two of Austria’s master winemakers have died within a few days of each other. Alois Kracher, the genius of sweet wines, died aged 48, while Erich Salomon, creator of great Rieslings in the Kremstal, died aged 64. Both died of cancer.
Alois Kracher working from his winery in Illmitz on the shores of Lake Neusiedl, almost single-handedly created the gigantic reputation of Austrian sweet wines. His annual releases of a range of numbered cuvees, going from (relatively) dry to superbly sweet made him synonymous with this rare form of wine. Educated as a chemical engineer, he made his name after the 1980s, following his father in the family winery and propelling it onto the international scene.
In addition to his own wines, Kracher also made dessert wines, under the name Mr K, in California with Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non, and worked with Jorge Ordoñez in Malaga, Spain to produce an old vines Moscatel. Alois Kracher’s father, also Alois, survives him, as well as his wife and son Gerhard, who will now run the winery.
Erich Saloman. Photo courtesy www.weimax.com
Erich Salomon ran his family winery of Salomon-Undhof in Stein, next to Krems, producing a superb range of Rieslings and Grüner Veltliner from vineyards such as the Pfaffenberg and Kögl. He was less of a presence on the international scene, but his achievement is a range of wines that sit well in the world market. He had been ill for several years, and in 2002 his younger brother Berthold returned to the family winery to take over.
Published on December 7, 2007