With regards to wine, Austria, more often than not, is lumped together with Germany, and is almost always misperceived as being a hub of sweet wines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Austrian wines are dry, most often BONE dry, with racy acidity that comes across the palate like a buzzsaw, yet offers gorgeous "meal-worthy" wines that entice and entrance your senses. Ideally suited for Asian cuisines - in particular, Vietnamese and Thai - given all its minerality, acidity and lean orchard fruits and inherent spices, wine fanatics should get to know Austrian wines in a very real way.
Austrian winemaking is steeped in history. Archaeological evidence leads us to believe that winemaking was occurring in the Traisental area in Austria some 4000 years ago, and there was a great deal of viticulture during the Holy Roman Empire. In the latter part of the 8th century, reconstruction of vineyards would happen during the reign of Charlemagne. Austrian winemaking would thrive until the 16th and 17th Centuries, when war decimated the industry, all but wiping it out of existence.
The 19th century was perilous as well, with the "biological" invasions of powdery mildew and its cousins, as well as phylloxera - the root aphid that infamously destroyed most of the vineyards throughout Europe at this time (a blight that owes its eradication in part to the Vitis Labrusca rootstocks from North America).
After a scandal that rocked Austrian winemaking in the 1980s, the government cracked down and inevitably turned out the strictest wine regulations in all of the European Union. The red stripe on top of the capsule of every Austrian wine is an assurance of absolute high quality every time.
These days, Austrian wines are renowned for their acidity, balance and reflection of terroir, and importers like Terry Theise have helped increase their visibility here in the States. We at Jungle Jim's have become enamored with their style and grace, and offer up these selections for you to explore.