Heidi Schrock Furmint 2006
With vineyards that point towards the southeast and have sunlight from morning till evening. The oldest vineyard was planted in 1955 and the youngest was opened in the Riede Vogelsang area in 2013. (Riede is an Austrian term describing special winegrowing areas.) There is an oversee a rather broad spectrum of grapes, with Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder, Furmint, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. Many hardworking helpers harvest the grapes exclusively by hand. For the dry white wines, the grapes are de-stemmed and pressed and the wine lees settle overnight. Subsequently, they ferment at 19° to 20°C and then remain on the yeast for some time, which allows them to develop their typical character and style. The red wines are fermented at 29°C and then lie on the skins for about 14 days before being gently pressed. Subsequently, they ripen for 9 months (Zweigelt) or 14 months (Blaufränkisch) in large oak barrels in the wine cellar.
Appreciated for superior wines made from indigenous varieties, Austria should be on the radar of any curious wine drinker. A rather cool and dry wine growing region, this country produces wine that is quintessentially European in style: food-friendly with racy acidity, moderate alcohol and fresh fruit flavors.
Austria’s viticultural history is rich and vast, dating back to Celtic tribes with first written record of winemaking starting with the Romans. But the 20th century brought Austria a series of winemaking obstacles, namely the plunder of both world wars, as well as its own self-imposed quality breach. In the mid 1980s, after a handful of shameless vintners were found to have added diethylene glycol (a toxic substance) to their sweet wines to imitate the unctuous qualities imparted by botrytis, Austria’s credibility as a wine-producing country was compromised. While no one was harmed, the incident forced the country to rebound and recover stronger than ever. By the 1990s, Austria was back on the playing field with exports and today is prized globally for its quality standards and dedication to purity and excellence.
Grüner Veltliner, known for its racy acidity and herbal, peppery aromatics, is Austria's most important white variety, comprising nearly a third of Austrian plantings. Riesling in Austria is high in quality but not quantity, planted on less than 5% of the country’s vineyard land. Austrian Rieslings are almost always dry and are full of bright citrus flavors and good acidity. Red varietal wines include the tart and peppery Zweigelt, spicy and dense Blaufränkisch and juicy Saint Laurent. These red varieties are also sometimes blended.
Native to Hungary, Furmint is the white grape variety principally responsible for the highly desired, historically important and lusciously sweet, elixir called Tokaji. The wine called Tokaji is named after the Hungarian region from which it comes: Tokaj. More recently the motivations of proud, young Hungarian winemakers have brought Furmint into a new light as a delicately crisp and dry white. Somm Secret—The sweetest version, Tokaji Eszencia, contains so much sugar that it has an aging capacity of 200 years!