The Wine Wanderers hit Vienna – where they’ve named a day for us!

4 Mar

The Wine Wanderers don’t miss any chance to get to Vienna, where as well as fine food, great architecture and fabulous turn of the century art, we know spectacular wines await.   In fact the city has become such a centre for fine vintages it will host an international wine fair this spring, and vineyard tours will start later this year.

It’s a little-known fact that wine is made on the doorstep of Vienna itself, a city ringed by charming heuriger – taverns where locals flock from early spring to enjoy a casual drop. The heuriger also serve the kind of rustic food – like liverwurst and spicy liptauer cheese from the mountains – you don’t often find in the city’s fine restaurants.   This is, in fact, the only large city in the world with a significant wine industry, surrounded by 700 hectares of vineyards.

What we were startled to discover, however, is that we were not the only Wine Wanderers Vienna has ever seen.   Thousands have so far signed up for the annual Weinwandertag – literally a wine wanderers’ day,   Tipplers take one of two wine trails, the first leading to the famous little tavern town of Grinzing, the second a slightly more taxing 10k trail which leads to another famous heurige location, Stammersdorf.   This year the wine wanderers will stroll from tavern to tavern around the Vienna Woods on September 22 and 23.

This is a brilliant year to visit Vienna because on the 150th anniversary of their most famous native artist Gustav Klimt all the museums have pulled out their stops to put on world-class shows.   It was in a great little restaurant which is actually part of the Museumsquartier cultural complex, Glacis Beisl, that I drank my two best wines of this year’s trip.

Gruner Veltliner, by far the most predominant grape, long ago made it out of Austria and on to British and American wine lists, but growers have decided to do something different more recently to minimise the effects of a poor harvest.   Gemischter is all the rage now with the Viennese, a crisp, charming white which always has some gruner in it, and riesling too, but with the addition of anything from a further three to 18 different grapes.   I particularly enjoyed the Gemischter Satz made by Mayer am Pffarrplatz, and was delighted to find it in Wein & Co., an excellent wine shop with many city branches; I recommend the large store on the Naschmarkt, which has a wine bar attached where you can sample some tasty drops.

At Glacis, we followed the gemischter with a delicious pinot noir – a surprise in a country known much more for its zweigelt and blaufrankisch when it comes to reds.   Wein & Co. didn’t have the particular bottle by Wienenger I tasted, but they did have the highly-recommended Triolgie from the same maker.  It’s a blend of mostly zweigelt with equal proportions of cab sauv and merlot, and we can’t wait to try it with a nice leg of lamb.

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