Austrian Sweet Wines
from the Neusiedlersee and the Danube
The vineyards on either side of Lake Neusiedl produce Austria’s most famous dessert wines. Superb ones are also made in Kamptal on the lower Danube, as we discovered during our trip there a few months ago. The Neusiedlersee wines are made from a number of different varietals, including Traminer, Chardonnay, Welschriesling, and Furmint. The lake creates a heavy fog that feeds the botrytis that makes the wines of this region so special. On the eastern shore is where Alois Kracher Jr played a huge role in creating Neusiedlersee’s reputation for producing some of the world’s best sweet wines. His 1991 vintage was the first to earn worldwide praise. Unfortunately, he died prematurely in 2007, but his son Gerhard now maintains the family tradition. On the western shore near Rust one finds the historically famous Ruster Ausbruch, which was resuscitated by winemaker Gustav Feiler in 1953; his son Kurt now makes the benchmark Ruster Ausbruch. Other producers to the west and south of Lake Neusiedl also make sweet wines under the Burgenland appellation. Sweet wines—Beerenauslese (BA) and Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA)—are also made in the lower Danube. These wines are made mostly from Grüner Veltliner [pictured above] and Riesling. The ones we tasted from Bründlmayer and Gobelsburg easily match the quality of BA and TBA produced elsewhere in Austria and Germany. Below we provide tasting notes on the sweet wines of the Neusiedlersee and the Danube.
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