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The Wines of Austria (August 14, 2006)

book review
by Dean Tudor

The Wines of Austria (Mitchell Beazley, 2006; distr. Canadian Manda Group, 200 pages, ISBN 1-84533-132-X, $38.95 hard covers) is by Philipp Blom, an expert writer in the area of Austria and Austrian wines. It was originally published by Faber and Faber in 2000; here, it has been fully revised and updated as part of the series "Classic Wine Library." It is the 20th book in this series.

Austria has a rich and known history in winemaking, going back to before the Roman times. Blom covers all this plus the modern era through the major regions of the Burgenland, Wachau, Styria, Kremstal, Kamptal. In many ways Austria is still recovering from the wine scandals of the past; I still get asked about it. All that is wine under the bridge as the country soldiers on.

There are chapters on winemaking techniques, grape varieties, wine laws and quality wine categories, vintage notes, and about 150 or so grower profiles, such as those on Paul Achs, Erich Giefing, and Berthold and Erich (Undhof) Salomon. As do the other authors in the series, Blom covers the country region by region, with a variety of sketch maps to the wine-producing areas. For each region, he describes the leading estates and winemakers (interviews, tasting notes, production figures, soils, grapes used, vintages, phone numbers and addresses). There is a glossary and a bibliography (including the 1979 Hallgarten classic).

Audience and level of use: Austrian wine lovers, reference libraries, schools of hospitality, wine schools.

Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Austria is a small wine-producing country: it has as much wine as the Loire Valley, and about half of what Gallo produces. 36% of the wine is from the Grüner Veltliner white varietal, followed by 9% from Zweigelt (red), 6% from Chardonnay, and 5% from Blaufrankisch (red).

The downside to this book: The maps are minimal.

The upside to this book: It is up-to-date and certainly useful.

Quality/Price Rating: 90.

 

 

 

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