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Austria 2012 vintage: ‘small, but high-quality’

Austria's frost-affected 2012 vintage promises good quality wines across the board - but supplies of the country's flagship Gruner Veltliner are much reduced.

Frozen out: Kamptal was one of the areas afflicted by the late May frost

According to the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB), the harvest produced 2.15m hectolitres of wine, well below the long-term average, thanks to a freak late frost in May.

This caused heavy damage in the Pulkautal (Weinviertel) area, as well as parts of Kamptal and Kremstal, inflicting ‘significant harvest losses’ on Grüner Veltliner in particular.

However, the AWMB said ‘beautiful dry weather’ at the end of the growing season and throughout the main harvest period ensured the overall quality for red and white wines was ‘very high’.

‘For the third time in four years – specifically 2012, 2011 and 2009 – the yields in all red wine areas and of all red varieties were of outstanding quality,’ the board said.

Red wines were ‘more compact and vigorous’ than in 2011, but there was ‘no question’ about their ageability.

Among the whites, Grüner Veltliner was already showing ‘very good to excellent’ results, but some Rieslings were still a little reserved as the winter drew to a close.

‘The total volume for Austria’s 2012 wine harvest is significantly lower than the long-term average, but it is much better than had been anticipated,’ said AWMB managing director Willi Klinger.

‘However, the decline has particularly affected our flagship Grüner Veltliner, whose quantities in the Veltliner strongholds of Niederösterreich are rather scarce.

‘But we are very happy the harvest provided fully ripened grapes that resulted in strong but very well-balanced wines and an outstanding red wine vintage.’

Written by Richard Woodard

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