Germany may get the lion's share of praise, but Austria is hot on its heels when it comes to producing world-class Riesling...
Riesling’s second most important habitat after the Rhine is the Danube, and in particular the Lower Austrian regions of Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal.
The terraced vineyards of the Wachau are pre-eminent, with 16% of Austria’s vineyard surface planted to Riesling. In its steep, thin, rocky soils and with cool temperatures, they are aromatic, distinguished, lean, dry and mineral.
Scroll down to see our top Austrian Riesling picks
The more loamy soils of neighbouring Kremstal are home to slightly gentler and plumper Rieslings, while the grands crus of Gaisberg and Heiligenstein in the Kamptal can produce elegant, complex dry wines.
‘Riesling expresses greater differences in microclimates and in soils than other grapes,’ says Willi Bründlmayer, one of Austria’s top exponents of the variety. ‘The average Austrian drinker prefers Riesling dry.’
Top growers of Austrian Riesling:
Freie Weingärtner Wachau
Austrian Riesling to try: