Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gemischter Satz--It's Austrian for Delicious

If you hear "Gemischter Satz" You may be tempted to say "God Bless You!"

But the appropriate answer is "They're delicious, aren't they?"

Gemischter Satz are special wines from Austria's capital city of Vienna. Made from a blend of white grapes that are grown together in the field, then picked and fermented at the same time, there was a point not too long ago when the mania for "single varietal" bottlings threatened this age-old tradition of Austrian field blends. Happily, the tradition was maintained, the grapes remained planted in gloriously mixed vineyards of Gruner Veltliner, Weissburgunder, Riesling, Muscat Ottonel, and other grapes. Few Gemischter Satz bottlings specify the grapes within, and none that I've seen can give you varietal percentages. Don't worry--go for it.

I'm a relative newbie to the wines of Austria, but I can't recommend Gemischter Satz highly enough. If you enjoy crisp, food-friendly whites--and are a bit tired of the same-old same-old that you've been drinking lately seek out one of these wines and perk up your tired tastebuds.

2008 Weingut Rotes Haus Gemischter Satz Classic Nußberg ($20) This tasted very much of a Gruner Veltliner to me, with its white pepper, salt, and grapefruit aromas. The flavors of apple, grapefruit, and pepper confirmed my initial impression and the aftertaste was interesting--like sour apples. Very good QPR.

2007 Weingut Hajszan Gemischter Satz Weissleiten ($18) This stunning organic and biodynamic wine had unmistakable aromas of freshly ground black pepper, with floral notes. The flavors turned melony, with a zing of quince, and remained dry and refreshing. The juicy, lively aftertaste kept you reaching for the bottle. This is the kind of wine that invites you to spend the evening with it, discovering the flavors that are magically contained within it. Excellent QPR.

2008 Weingut Christ Wiener Gemischter Satz ($16) This wine had piercing aromas of apple, salt, and lemon. The flavors are equally intense, with loads of minerality and stone to accompany the slightly bitter lemon at its core. A fresh and citrusy wine. Excellent QPR.

2008 Zahel Gemischter Satz Schloss Schönbrunn (NA as of yet in the US) This restrained, elegant wine had faint aromas of lemon and peach. Dry flavors reminiscent of Meyer lemon dominate the palate, and there is a touch of bitter orange follows in the aftertaste. Well worth seeking out--and I hope an American retailer snaps this up.

Note: I've been sent some corrections and have made them in the body of the text above. The wines themselves all come from within the city limits of Vienna, and Weingut Hajszan's wine is certified organic and biodynamic.

Also, if you are looking for these wines, retailers are popping up in the comments to say they have these sometimes-hard-to-find bottlings. So check below if you are interested in purchasing, as the usual online wine search engines are not always exhaustive.

Full Disclosure: I received these wines as samples.


Claire Uncorked said...

I love Gruner Veltliner, but I've never had the wines you're talking about. They sound great!

Gruner Veltliner is, in my opinion, a pretty good wine to bring for Thanksgiving, too. You know, since that time of year is coming...

Anonymous said...

Good to see you are discovering Austrian wines. Yes, they can be delicious! Don't forget to also try the famous Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines from Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal and the Weinviertel, the interesting Sauvignon Blancs (2007!) from Styria (as well as the Chardonnays - they're often called Morillon here - and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)... When you have done that, seek out the red wines, too! Especially the Blaufränkisch wines can be very unique and styles range from traditional cherry flavored juicy and fresh to the darker blackberry-scented luscious and silky more modern wines. Look out for the 2006 (rather full-bodied) and 2007 (lighter and fresher) vintages. There is so much to explore, but you will probably have trouble finding all those wines in the US as most importers only import a tiny selection which doesn't always reflect the current trends. said...

We actually have all four of the wines- They are amazing; love the blog. Here are some links to our site for your readers to purchase these!
67 wine and spirits, NYC.

We also have the Christ as well!

Dr. Debs said...

Thank you, thank you Ben for letting us know that has these great wines. Sorry to have missed you when doing an internet search for the bottles, and glad you chimed in.

Amy Atwood said...

Yes, I was so thrilled to discover these wines earlier this year! Delicious, food friendly and vibrant.
Darcy and Huber are importing some amazing Austrian wines.
I was so thrilled in fact that I will be acting as their wholesaler for California (, starting in November.
Cheers, Amy

ConstanceC said...

Very delicious wines! I had the pleasure of tasting them myself this past weekend. I think one of the most interesting things about Gemischter Satz is that you don't know which grapes are actually in the bottle! Perfect expression of Austrian wines.

The Wine Mule said...

We stock a lot of Austrian wines, but not these! They sound great. One grape missing from your hit parade: Scheurebe, a cross between riesling and sylvaner created by Dr. Scheu in 1916. It's also called "Samling 88." It can have aromas and flavors of peach, apple, and exotic tropical fruit. Gustav Strauss, a very small producer in the Steiermark region of Southern Austria, makes a very nice one.

dves said...

wow! excellent wine. how could we get it in real? I think not all countries have it.

Unknown said...

who knew $20 Austrian wine can Be Delicious! it tastes wonderful! thanks for the recommendation.

Patricia B. said...

Hi, I'm argentina, in my blog "lecciones de vino" (lessons of wine) I'm going to write about wine of Austria.

I Like your gemischter satz! That's cool!!!


wines like these cost about 6-10 € in vienna
it is sometimes good to live here :D