Among wine drinkers, Austria is normally associated with gruner veltliner, if it’s associated with anything. But a variety of red wines hail from this country as well, including a few varietals you might have heard of. Here’s a look at a pair of Austrian reds, both from the 2017 vintatge.
2017 Esterhazy Blaufrankisch Austria – The flagship red varietal of Austria, this bottling finds a deft balance between the beefy notes of Austrian reds and a more engaging fruit component, showing surprisingly bright notes of black cherries, plums, and currants — tempered by forest floor and wet wood notes. There’s balance here, but as the finish arrives, the wine does ultimately showcase the bright red fruit more than its more savory elements. Blaufrankisch is hardly a wine known for its subtlety, but Esterhazy does a far better job than most with the challenge. B+ / $13 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]
2017 Weingut Brundlmayer Pinot Noir – Pinot noir is also known as blauburgunder in Austria, and both terms appear on the label of this bottling. The wine has a rather international feel to it, offering some of the trademark earthiness of German and Austrian reds, but also plenty of fruit in the form of cherries and blackberries, with a smattering of spices on top. There’s tannin here, but it’s well integrated into the whole, with a finish hinting at chocolate and more Christmas spice notes. A- / $41