Johanneshof Reinisch Rotgipfler Reserve 2009, Thermenregion, Austria
If your car ever gets frozen stuck in mid-winter in the wine-growing districts around Vienna, you're unlikely to receive much help. The famous anti-freeze scandal in 1985 almost destroyed the Austrian wine industry, yet today it’s in rude health. With the strictest quality control system in the world, it makes excellent-quality wines across a range of styles from both local and international varieties. The dry, steely Rieslings are outstanding, as are the surprisingly ripe, concentrated reds and the Neusiedlersee dessert wines.
The quality and diversity of Austrian wine is just too good to ignore, and so we are delighted to reintroduce some of the very best examples into our list. Exciting and underrated, the country boasts wonderful indigenous varieties such as Grüner Veltliner, allied to a complex stylistic patchwork which effortlessly runs the gamut from sweet to dry. This is a country that has everything, including top class Chardonnays which often outperform the best white Burgundies in blind tastings.
A regional white wine speciality of the Thermenregion, where Rotgipfler (“red shoot-apex”) finds its true expression. Starts off with jasmine notes, then extends into exotic fruits such as banana and ripe pineapple on the nose, follows through with expressive fruit on the palate, supported by vital acid structure, and lingers with a long and vibrant finish. Elegant and powerful, with creamy, voluptuous softness, it confuses many a sommelier who'd guess it was a great Montrachet.