The current incumbent at Huber wines in Austria, Markus Huber, is the family winery’s 10th generation head. Many of the estate’s vineyards are not a lot bigger than an average sized garden and dotted around the Traisental valley in the north-east of Austria. As a keen gardener myself, I can relate to the love and devotion given by the family to these pristine vineyard terraces.
Meteorology alert: Pannonian influences are paired with cool Alpine air and the nearby River Danube has a temperature-moderating effect. In a plain-speaking weather world this means they are blessed with warm days and cool nights, so the grapes develop good varietal flavour whilst retaining a purity and freshness. Additionally, the limestone mix soils ground the wine by providing clarity and spine.
One of Huber’s all-round best value wines is the Riesling Engelsberg (£19.50/£18.50). The Engelsberg vineyard is a high, east-facing, chalky terrace that is just right for Riesling vines. The 2017 has 4 hours of skin contact, is fermented in stainless steel and kept on the lees for 4 months. The result is a vibrant wine of perfectly ripe peachiness, yet brilliant brightness. Try it with a salmon-en-croute, lobster ceviche or a Thai green curry.
The Huber rosé (£15.00/£13.50) is made from Zweigelt grapes, which, did you know, is the most widely planted black grape variety in Austria. It is a newly created cross-bred variety and its recent, rapid growth in plantings means it is very rare to come across a Zweigelt made from such old vines; some used in this wine are up to 50 years old! It has 2 hours skin contact, is fermented in stainless steel and kept on the lees for 3 months. A fitting barbeque rosé that is dry with delicate, freshly-picked, summer red berry sapidity.
So make sure you try a bottle of these great value Austrian gems before Summer is over!