Try Austria for a Change

Try Austria for a Change

The number one best thing about being in the drinks business is the great and wonderful variety of flavors and experiences we get to enjoy. I focus primarily on the wines here at Surdyk’s, but I am equally impressed with the offerings that we get to present to our customers from all of our other departments. The flavors and experiences are almost without number. The people who work here love to share their experiences with customers for a lot of reasons, but almost always the underlying themes is the discovery of something new, fun, and different.

If you are in the market to try something different, I encourage you to look no further than our Austrian section this winter. You can throw darts over there, and everything you would hit would be wonderful.

There is a catch though. There is only one varietal over there (Riesling) that makes the list of commonly seen grape varietals. Everything else is made from grape varietals that are simply not household names: whites from Grüner Veltliner, Muskateller, Furmint, and reds from Blaüfrankisch, Zweigelt, and St. Laurent. Ha! These are a mouthful just to pronounce let alone take a flyer on with your guests or hosts for an upcoming party. But I am here to tell you: take the chance here! The whites are dry, clean, refreshing, and show wonderful flavors that are both recognizable and delicious. The reds are similarly fresh, fruit-driven, and rarely show any tannic profile that might be off-putting to larger groups. They are wonderful wines; not expensive, slightly different, and yet never odd.

The most important grape grown in Austria is white Grüner Veltliner. It can be a tough wine to describe, but think its closest analog in the American wine scene would have to be Sauvignon Blanc. The wines are deliciously fresh and vibrant, and they are some of the most versatile wines I’ve encountered for food-pairing purposes. (In fact, TWO staff members have chosen Grüner bottlings as their staff selections for the upcoming Spring Wine Sale. It’s just that good.) Do not fall into the cage of only drinking red wines as we trudge through the last of February, a cool glass of Grüner will make you feel alive! The most important red appears to be Blaufrankisch, which makes wine that is fruity like Beaujolais, but richer. Only rarely do these wines attain seriousness, or gravitas, but they are uncannily good at attaining drinkability and deliciousness.

I encourage you to peruse this part of our store. We have arguably the finest selection of Austrian wines in the upper Midwest. The wines are not one penny more expensive than the Chardonnays, Cabernets and Pinots that you might normally look at, and these Austrian wines deliver way more personality, character, and variety that those selections. And after all, experiencing the variety of flavors that the world has to offer is one of the great joys of being a wine drinker.

Peruse our Austrian Section Here:

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