Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, official wine region in austria with 4,150 ha/10,250 acres of vineyard (nearly 18% of the national total) along the western edge of the neusiedlersee and adjacent slopes and foothills of the Leitha Hills. It incorporates rust, one of Austria’s historically most prestigious wine communities, and produces excellent dry red and both dry and sweet white made from a wide range of grape varieties. Neusiedlersee-Hügelland is rarely seen on wine labels, however, since the local growers seem to find it cumbersomely long, and confusing because it incorporates the name of another region neusiedlersee across the eponymous lake. Wines grown in Neusiedlersee-Hügelland are more likely to be labelled with the name of the state, Burgenland. Eisenstadt and two of its village suburbs—Grosshöflein and St Georgen—are home to potentially outstanding Blaufränkisch as well as impressive Pinot Blanc, Neuburger, and under-appreciated Grüner Veltliner that tends to be overshadowed by examples grown in niederösterreich, all of which benefit from the calcareous soils and the breeze that blows here. A mere kilometre or so east, Schützen-am-Gebirge reflects a transition to soils based on weathered gneiss and mica schist, outstanding for Blaufränkisch but also supportive of white varieties, which dominate the next village north, Donnerskirchen, where even Riesling flourishes thanks to the cooling effect of forests and breezes on an especially high stretch of hills. Closer to the lake, and running north-south, Breitenbrunn, Purbach, and Oggau also make good whites and reds. Although Rust is famous for botrytized sweet white (see ausbruch), it is also where modern appreciation of varietal Blaufränkisch arguably began, with Ernst ‘ET’ Triebaumer’s 1986 Mariental bottling. (At the time Anton Kollwentz of nearby Grosshöflein had only recently bottled Austria’s first Cabernet Sauvignon and would, like Engelbert Prieler of Schützen, become another early champion of Blaufränkisch.) Möbisch, on Lake Neusiedl immediately south of Rust, as well as St Margarethen, Siegendorf, and Zagersdorf—more or less midway between the lake and the Leitha range—are among other red wine villages worth noting, producing distinguished blaufränkisch and some of Austria’s finest St. Laurent.