RUSTER AUSLESE, 1976 – MORANDEL
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | May 1982
If you are ever in Austria at the right season, don’t miss the famous “Heurigen” wine tradition. It is reminiscent of the Beaujolais Nouveau events in the Paris cafes. The Viennese and countless number of tourists go to enjoy a few moments of laughter and merry making, accompanied by the fresh young local wines of the last crush. Since these wines are rarely bottled, you can only enjoy them in Austria. Another side of the Austrian wine spectrum is its excellent premium white wines. They are unique, yet related to the German wines in some ways. There are four wine growing regions in Austria. Our wine comes from the town of Rust in the Burgenland wine growing region. Rust is situated on the west bank of Lake Neusidel where the lakeshore vineyards rise to the slopes of the Leitha and Rosalein mountains. The vines in this terrain and climate benefit from one of the warmest and driest micro-climates in Europe. The Morandel family who own three wineries in various parts of this land of “wine, men and women, and song”, are one of the leading vintners and exporters. The limited amount of wine exports is responsible for the scarcity of Austrian wines. A real shame. They are bargains for what they are.
Our selection this month is made from the Weissburgunder grape, (Pinot Blanc). It is made in the Auslese grade, a designation parallel to that of German wines. Auslese implies that the wine is sweet and rich, and was made from overripe grapes that had seen the development of botritis. The unique thing about this Austrian version is the use of the Pinot Blanc grape rather than the traditional White Riesling. The Pinot Blanc grape, well known in France, Italy, and California as a blending grape, is one of the important grapes of Austria; and as a late harvest wine, it is rarely seen elsewhere.
The wine is golden in color, showing its age. It has a honey bouquet, sweet yet fresh and alive with fragrant fruity aroma. The taste is sweet, with a velvety texture and a full body. The taste of botritis blends well with the fruit. It is long on the finish, with a botritis residual. Serve chilled with desserts like apple cobbler, strudel, English trifle, or flan.
Cellaring Notes: This wine is ready, and can last another 5 to 8 years.