The Austrian Wine Fair reminded me very much of the Greek Show I recently attended … though not in wine style: the Greeks do more reds while the Austrians are more white oriented; instead its the way we get them (or don’t get them) here in Ontario. In Austria they are making some very good wines, heck I would say some great wines, and most of them represent good value at that. As I was thumbing through the wine guide that I was presented with upon arrival (a list of the wines being poured with space from tasting notes), my initial perception was that over half the wines would at some point be available on LCBO shelves; because on the far right hand side of the book were the LCBO CSPC numbers, and there were quite a few wines claiming availability. But my bubble was soon burst. As I approached one of the tables I asked one of the Austrian representatives when I would be seeing their wines in the LCBO? She answered with a sad, “probably never.” When I showed her the LCBO numbers beside her listed wines she informed me, “that’s a misprint.” I learned the same thing as I went from booth to booth, table to table. Upon closer scrutiny and asking a lot of questions, I discover that less than one-quarter of the wines listed would be made available through the LCBO, some others were available through consignment, while most seem to be private order only … which, from what I gather, is a sticking point for a lot of agents, making it more difficult and complicated to get these wines.
Once again, as with the Greek show, it would seem that listing some of the great Austrian wine finds I tasted would do nothing more than tease and tempt you into wanting something you just can’t get. Suffice it to say keep your eyes on Vintages shelves for what might be coming. Check out some of the Gruner-Veltliners and Zweigelts that come through the liquor board; and taste some of the Rieslings and Blaufrankisch from Austria when you get the opportunity. Many of these wines are good values and are quite tasty, especially the Gruners, they would make great summer patio sippers by themselves or with light foods. And don’t let something like inaccessibility stop you. Oh wait, it already has. Here’s hoping we see more of these wines on our shelves soon.