Last year was the year of impetus for Austrian wines in India. With three masterclasses spread over 8 months, the Austrians treated the Indian palate to a finish that is bound to linger for a long time. I was privileged to be a part of all the three masterclasses and the regulars with Guns to Gewürztraminer would recall my coverage of these. If this sounds alien, and you can spare some time, please go through the individual links given within this post. If not, then this post is just right for you.
Recently I wrote an overview of all three of these masterclasses for vino india. The aim was to give a bird’s eye view of what the Austrians achieved and what are their further plans. To ascertain the details, I got in touch with the stakeholders on the Austrian side and found that they are mighty pleased at the outcome. It should suffice to say that Indian wine lovers can expect to find lot many Austrian wines to explore in the coming times.
Here is a fast track account of all the masterclasses and an insight into the road ahead:
Masterclass # 1
Aim: Introduction of wines from different regions of Austria.
Wine statistics: 58 wines from 13 wineries. 14 wines in the masterclass, the rest were available at the walk-around tasting.
Flying in from Austria: Rudolf Trischler from Sunny Grapes, the marketing agency for the wines represented.
About the session: An emphasis on the terroir, typical grape varietals and pronunciation. Departing from the conventional ‘Whites first, Reds after’, the wines were presented region-wise. This allowed a better understanding of the Loess (calcerous clay and silt soil with fossil fragments) influenced minerally wines from Lower Austria and the ripe full bodied reds as well as the noble rot driven sweet wines from the sunny and marshy Burgenland.
Masterclass # 2
Aim: Showcasing the entire Austrian quality pyramid.
Wine statistics: 81 wines from 12 wineries. 17 wines in the masterclass, the rest were available at the walk-around tasting.
Flying in from Austria: Christian Dworan, Marketing Manager from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board
About the session: The wines presented a good mix of international as well as Austrian native varietals. The aim of showcasing the Austrian wine classification system was well served by enabling sampling in a vertical graduation of the quality pyramid starting from a Kabinett, Spätlese and finishing with a Trockenbeerenauslese.
Masterclass # 3
Aim: Summing up the three master classes and highlighting DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus).
Wine statistics: 63 wines from 8 wineries. 17 wines in the masterclass, the rest were available at the walk-around tasting.
Flying in from Austria: Michael Thurner, former Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board could not arrive from Singapore due to a cancelled flight. Represented by the Austrian Trade Commissioner, Dr Wolfram Moritz.
About the session: A diverse range of wines were included in the familiar but fine tuned format. The highlight of the session was a deep insight into the DAC – the specified quality wines producing regions of Austria, similar to the French AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Austria has eight specific districts that permit wine to be produced only from the specified varietal(s). These are:
- Eisenberg (Bläufrankisch)
- Kamptal (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling)
- Kremstal (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling)
- Leithaberg (Grüner Veltliner, Weissburgunder, Chardonnay, Neuberger, Bläufrankisch)
- Mittelburgenland (Bläufrankisch)
- Neusiedlersee (Zweigelt)
- Traisental (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling)
- Weinviertel (Grüner Veltliner)
I was able to evaluate similar wines from different regions, draw comparisons between native Austrian and international varietals and taste wine verticals from the same winery. A dégustation menu by the Lemon Tree, Delhi kept the wines in good company.
In conclusion, did the trilogy of master classes yield desirable results? Dr. Wolfram Moritz, Trade Commissioner & Commercial Counsellor at the Austrian Embassy in New Delhi, believes that they did. The response has been extremely positive and encouraging. “Through these events, a wide range of Austrian wines – white, red and sweet – were introduced to the relevant people in the wine business, who were pleasantly surprised with the quality of Austrian wines. We received a lot of commercial queries on bringing these wines to the market”, elaborated Dr. Moritz.
The same sentiment is echoed by Christian Dworan, who feels that the primary aim of the AWMB to connect with a lot of enthusiastic wine people and wine specialists in India was well served with these master classes. The elements of uniqueness (climate, land, grapes, culture, people & nature, value for money, food pairing) for Austrian Wine were highlighted. Mr. Dworan is also pleased with the ‘media echo’ of these events that have created the right atmosphere for awareness on Austrian wines in India.
Mr. Dworan shared with me that in 2015, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board would monitor the market closely to consolidate the gains already made. Dr. Moritz hopes to see more Austrian wines available in the Indian market in the near future, despite the cumbersome tax regime. The Austrian Trade Commission plans a series of smaller events to promote Austrian wines.
The Austrians are clearly in the “Exploit” phase. In the interest of getting more opportunities to explore these fascinating wines, I wish them well.
(Published in vino india)