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Wine Review: Austrian selections worth a look

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Austria is a country famed for its wines throughout Europe, but products from the country are little known here.

That is probably because in the past, most of their wines were consumed in Europe and little was available for export to other countries.

Modern winemaking techniques accompanied by modern farming have given the Austrians enough wine to export. These wines are of excellent quality and deserve the recognition due to them.

Anton Bauer 2018 Wagram Pinot Noir ($46)
The first taste of this wine will introduce you to what can only be described as “a powerful wine.” Not trying to make a joke, but this wine exhibits what can only be described as Germanic authority. There is nothing subtle in this wine; everything that one looks for in a pinot noir is there and boldly presented. The aroma displays cherry, strawberry, raspberry, dried plum and a fascinating minerality. As a confirmed pinot noir lover, I was truly amazed at the finish, which mirrored the aroma and was exceptionally long and pleasing. The price that I quoted is the manufacturer's suggested retail price, but it can be found online for a considerably lower cost.

IBY 2017 Blaufrankisch Classic ($20)
This wine is referred to as "the pinot noir of the East." Why that comparison, I do not know. This wine has more in common with cabernet sauvignon than it does with pinot. The color is a much darker ruby, and the aroma features all of the dark fruits, including pomegranate in abundance with a hint of licorice, pepper and just a suggestion of chocolate. The finish is a festival of dark fruits of all descriptions and in abundance. For the true red wine aficionado who enjoys trying new things, this wine is an affordable treat.

Hopler Zweigelt 2017 ($24)
The color of this wine is almost purple and offers up the aroma of red berries and vanilla. The flavor is intense and matches the aroma notes. These flavors follow right along to the finish. I will not say that this wine is a substitute for the American (French) red wine varieties, but it is an excursion into another red wine realm. If you are a barbecue fan, this wine is a perfect marriage for anything coming off of the cooker.

Gustav Klimt “The Kiss” Red Blend ($25)
“The Kiss” refers to the painting by Gustav Klimt that is used as the label of the wine. The wine is a blend of 50% blaufrankisch, 30% zweigelt and 20% merlot. These totally different grapes, when blended together, produce a ruby-colored, aromatic red wine. There is tannin in the wine, but not enough to require more aging before the bottle is opened. Cherries are the order of the day with this wine. Following closely behind the cherries, there is just the right amount of mulberry, tobacco and licorice inviting the first sip. On the palate, there is the sensation of summer berries that continue on to the finish. This is a solid replacement for cabernet sauvignon if you are looking to widen your wine horizons.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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