As the days grow warmer, one is understandably drawn toward seasonal fare like barbecue and grilled dishes that are best accompanied by a fresh and fruit-forward wine. Ideal cool-climate wines come from a small country in the heart of Europe: Austria. There is no place on Earth where refreshing wines are so concentrated and substantial, or where the opulent wines exhibit such grace. There are 17 specified winegrowing regions in Austria, where wines that are particularly typical of their origin are produced and labelled with the name of the region and the abbreviation DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus).
Light Grüner Veltliner: Grüner Veltliner is the flagship of Austria’s wine fleet, planted on nearly a third of the nation’s total area under vines. Grüner Veltliner is a versatile variety, both in terms of style and its adaptability at the table. In the lighter variants, it is often very impressive for its spice, frequently peppery notes and stone fruit aromas. Typical examples of the variety come from Weinviertel DAC, Wachau DAC, Kremstal DAC, Kamptal DAC and Traisental DAC.
Pairs well with: Sushi and sashimi, Summer rolls, Fresh salads, Pizza
Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC: Gemischter Satz (field blend) used to have great presence all throughout Austria. Today, above all, Vienna is still known and loved for it—the traditional example hails from the Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC. In this regionally typical wine, at least three white grape varieties are co-planted in a vineyard and then harvested and vinified together. Viennese winegrowers today understand very well how to produce harmonious wines with their own distinctive character in this traditional fashion.
Pairs well with: Avocado toast with egg, Caprese, Dim Sum, Peking Duck
Aromatic Varieties: Aromatic varieties is a term commonly used for grape varieties that yield fragrant and spicy wines. In Austria, examples that first come to mind are Sauvignon Blanc and Gelber Muskateller from the Steiermark. The regionally typical wines of Vulkanland Steiermark DAC, Südsteiermark DAC and Weststeiermark DAC are vinified from these varieties, among others, and are marvellously attractive for their wonderful aromas, not to mention their typical Styrian freshness.
Pair well with: Antipasti, Pasta with seafood, Strawberry shortcake
Rosé, Sparkling and Pet Nat: These wines are the perfect summer companion, especially for those moments spent in the sun. Colorful wines for colorful moments, all of Austria’s winegrowing regions (Niederösterreich, Burgenland, Steiermark and Wien) produce excellent rosés, sekt and pét-nat wines. Moreover, these wines not only make a wonderful aperitif, but with a variety of blends and flavors, they also make an excellent accompaniment to meals.
Pairs well with: Fresh salads, Pasta with seafood, Blueberry pie
Light reds: Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch are the most common red wine varieties in Austria. Their fruit flavors coupled with spice and softly-rounded tannins, make them, in its lighter variations, the perfect summertime red. Look for traditional, regional selections from Burgenland as Neusiedlersee DAC or from Niederösterreich as Carnuntum DAC. Summer tip: enjoy these wines lightly chilled.
Pairs well with: Classic BBQ, Burgers, Spicy chicken wings, Pizza, Pastrami sandwiches, Tacos
Spritzer: Lounging in the hammock out in the garden, relaxing on a deck chair on the balcony or perched on a bench in the outdoor seating area of the local tavern, in Austria, no summer goes by without pleasant warm evenings accompanied by a spritzer. The simply refreshing but ingenious mixture of half light Austrian white wine and half sparkling water is an Austrian invention that suits every occasion and practically every summer dish. So enjoy your summer the uniquely Austrian way, refreshed with a spritzer!
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For more information on Austrian wine please visit austrianwine.com