Just over a month after our earlier report on Austria 2007 vintage so far, here’s an official (read positive) summary from the regions. Although most grapes had been harvested by the end of October, some that will be used for the top-quality Prädikat wines are still on the vine.
Steiermark / Styria
The big change in day-night temperatures strongly favoured the development of aromas and flavours in the wines for which the Steiermark is famous. As the grapes were spared from excessive rainfall, their quality was excellent right up to the end. This allowed for plenty of grapes from specific sites and for Prädikatswein to be harvested, with picking complete by the middle of October. In fact, the yields of this vintage overall were above average, although the amount for Prädikatswein was a bit lower than usual.
Wien / Vienna
Finally – a plentiful harvest! And the winemakers are pleased not only about this, but also because the wines are showing very good varietal characteristics. Fruitiness and pleasant acidity, together with alcohol levels that are not too high.
Niederösterreich / Lower Austria
In the Wachau, many grapes for Smaragd level wines were still hanging on the vines at the end of October. All across Niederösterreich, there is satisfaction with the quality of this year’s harvest, with the very positive evaluation based on markedly better acidity - especially when compared with that of the 2003 vintage. Also, there was very little drought damage.
Despite the good ripeness levels, there were no extremely high sugar levels. Therefore, wines in the Classic and Steinfeder / Federspiel quality levels could be harvested in satisfactory amounts. The fruitiness is outstanding, accentuated by good acidity structure and body that is not overly opulent. The rains at the end of October of course meant more work for the producers, who were holding out for Prädikatswein. Significantly more pickings were necessary in order to eliminate damaged grapes. It is interesting to note that, this year, some later-harvested sites have performed best.
The feedback coming from all wine-growing areas of Niederösterreich is good: producers are pleased about the good harvest yields - especially of Grüner Veltliner - and the particularly special fruitiness. Good and even mid-range sites with ample water storage capacity bore the best wines this year. The distinct varietal aromas and flavours reveal pleasant acidity backed by character as well as durability. This was a result of healthy grapes, which were – somewhat similarly to last year - harvested until the third week of October via good planning and calm picking. Only those areas that experienced hailstorms - Kremstal, Traisental und Thermenregion - were particularly affected. Some individual vineyard wines will certainly be missed.
The dry, hot summer with a sufficient water supply helped create very fruity white wines here. Early-harvest varieties as well as grapes from later-harvested sites delivered seductive varietal aromas and flavours. The red wines are very intense in colour, and Blaufränkisch in particular is revealing a very distinct fruit and spice character. Also Zweigelt and Pinot Noir are giving impressive fruit tones. Hail damage – especially from the Leithagebirge to Mittelburgenland – produced the lower yields that had been expected. The harvest was finished on October 20th, with the healthy grapes indicating that 2007 could be a very good vintage – one to be enjoyed for a long time.