Austria's 2015 vintage is one for the books
Jul 23, 2016 7:23 AM -
Visiting the Austrian wine regions of Kamptal, Krems and Wachau and meeting with winemakers in late May, I sensed both optimism and despair. When I toured the vineyards, the reason for the despair was obvious: Two nights of devastating frost in late April -- a record cold snap that also struck Burgundy and Champagne in France and much of Germany's wine regions -- had destroyed 30 percent to 40 percent of the 2016 crop before it even had a chance. Rows of withered vines alternated with healthy ones, lost potential for a vintage that could still be terrific, if small. The optimism was in my glass every time I tasted a wine from 2015. Last year's vintage had also been thinned by about a third, by hail, but otherwise the weather had been perfect. The wines are exceptional, and if you've never explored the grüner veltliner and riesling of Austria, now is the time to do it. These are among the best white wines in the world in terms of value and quality, and they're enjoying the best vintage in recent memory.