The 2016 Roller Coaster

Austria’s 2016 vintage: bad weather, excellent wine

Imagine the vegetation cycle as a roller coaster ride: this is precisely the memory that Austrian winegrowers will retain of 2016. But all said and done, there is good to magnificent quality in white, red & sweet wines – in some cases with severely limited quantities.

Following a warm and dry winter, vines in many winegrowing regions went into budding rather early. A massive cold snap in the last week of April led to severe frost damage, and because of the unusual large-scale weather pattern, even higher-elevation vineyards were affected. Particularly hard-hit were the entire Steiermark, Neusiedlersee and Eisenberg in Burgenland as well as Carnuntum, the Thermenregion and the westernmost section of the Wachau near Spitz in Niederösterreich.

After a relatively moist spring, summer 2016 also featured a great deal of precipitation, but no protracted heat waves. Many rainy days brought considerable danger from malign infestations, as well as peronospora and oidium. In the last week of August things changed for the better, and a period of sunny and stable weather set in, which essentially held up all through the primary harvest.

BALANCED, VARIETALLY TYPICAL WHITE WINES WITH GOOD DEPTH OF FRUIT

Based on initial tastings of the new wines, one can look forward to well- balanced, fruit-forward, varietally typical whites. Alcohol levels are significantly lower than the previous year with good extract content, while acidity values generally lie higher than 2015 without being too intense. The lighter class of Grüner Veltliner is turning out better than it has for a long time. Beyond having good body, the premium Veltliners combine radiance with a sense of delicacy. The other principal varieties Riesling, Weissburgunder, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc should as a rule also yield fruit-driven and purely flavoured white wines – with respect to which, one should be sure to make timely reservations for bottlings from the frost-damaged regions because of the limited volume.

Hall 1, Stand AB282