On our trip to Austria last autumn we had the opportunity to try a number of delicious, fruit-forward sparkling wines. Reviews of them can be found in Report # 25 The Wines of Austria. Among the producers we visited were Anton Bauer in the Wagram, Karl Steininger in Kamptal, and Leo Hillinger in Burgenland.
We recently had the opportunity to taste new releases from these producers. As our notes below show, these wines are fruity, effervescent, and perfect for festive occasions. The sparkling wines of Bauer and Hillinger are light and lively like the Italian prosecco, but the Steininger wines are serious, complex sparkling wines (called sekt in Austria) made in the methode champenoise manner.
Weingut Steininger produces sekt from several different varieties. We tasted the Burgunder (a blend of three Pinot grapes), the Grüner Veltliner, and the Riesling. When visiting the winery, Karl Steininger also poured us a sekt made of Pinot Noir as well as a sparkling red Zweigelt.
In addition to producing wines, the Steininger winery in Langenlois is home to the striking Loisium wine museum and hotel. We wrote about the museum in an earlier article.
Tasting Notes and Ratings
Anton Bauer NV Grüner Veltliner Frizzante Wagram ($17) 87
This Frizzante is crisp and lively with fresh fruit and effervescence. It shows fresh apple cider, baked bread, and yeast on the nose and palate. Sweet enough to have with an apple dessert.
Hillinger NV Secco Sparkling Rose ($18) 89
Light salmon in color, the Secco is aromatic and floral with a rose petal edge. It has a creamy mousse and a nicely balanced, very fruity palate showing red fruit notes. Perfect for wedding cake.
Steininger 2008 Burgunder Sekt Kamptal ($29) 89
Sweet, ripe apples and pears and a hint of citrus show on the nose and palate of this refreshing, delicate and delicious Austrian sparkler. Dry on the palate and the finish, this wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc), and Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir). Delicious.
Steininger 2009 Grüner Veltliner Sekt Kamptal ($29) 90+
This is our favorite of the Steininger sparklers. It has a highly aromatic nose redolent of tea leaves and ripe stone fruit. Attractive, light peach and apricot flavors also show on the full bodied yet dry palate along with lees notes. Well balanced and unusually refined for the price.
Steininger 2009 Riesling Sekt Kamptal ($29) 89+
The Riesling has a light and fruity nose with rose petal notes and a lively, clean, refreshing palate. It’s subtly flavored with a creamy mouth feel. A very easy-drinking, delicious sekt.
These wines are imported by Klaus Wittauer/Select Wines.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler, December 2011