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Winery #84: Kracher (Burgenland, Austria)

Our final Austrian winery experience concluded with a seated, private wine experience in the lovely courtyard of the family-owned Kracher Winery. Lara, our host for the wine tasting, began with an overview of the Kracher family history and the estate. The third generation of the Kracher family leads the winery, with Gerhard and his wife Yvonne taking the helm in 2007. The family’s vineyards are in the Seewinkel, an area on the eastern shore of Lake Neusiedl, or Neusiedlersee in German. Lara explained that the area surrounding the Lake has a unique climate in that heavy fog during the autumn evenings remains until the following day when it’s burned off by the morning sun. This environment provides the optimal conditions for the fungus affectionally known as Nobel Rot, or Botrytis cinerea, to thrive. Botrytis causes small holes to develop in the grape skins, and the liquid in the grape evaporates, resulting in concentrated sugars, acids, and flavors. The Kracher family is world-famous for their sweet wines because of this phenomenon, and we had the opportunity to taste a few of their wonderful sweet wines!

Our private table faced the inner courtyard of the winery with views of several rows of vineyards inside the walls. The Kracher team was preparing for a significant evening event, and we could only imagine the possibilities with this space for corporate events and large gatherings. Lara poured us 13 wines, an excellent representation of the family’s range of products, including eight sweet wines. Once all the rage, sweet wines recently have lost the limelight to lighter rosés and refreshing white wines. We’re confident that sweet wines will make a comeback, especially those with the high-quality level of the Kracher family! Lara also provided us with three tasty jams produced with Kracher grapes, a local cheese, and fresh bread to compliment the wine selection. Generally, we do not eat during a tasting, but for this experience, we made an exception.

From the lineup, our favorite wine was the lusciously sweet 2018 Welschriesling Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) produced from the white grape, Welschriesling (no relation to Riesling). To pronounce that long word, I offer the following: Troken-beer-en-ou(like in ouch)-sleigh-se. It’s fun to say very fast, and like my NYU professor would say, you can use this term “to intimidate your enemies.” As previously discussed, the Kracher family produces this TBA using grapes affected by Botrytis. Unfortunately, the fungus does not affect the entire vineyard all at once, so the harvest team must make many passes through the vineyard picking individual grapes. The operation takes a highly trained team and a lot of patience, and sometimes a harvest will not produce enough berries to produce TBA. How do they know exactly when to pick? Must weight! The must weight measures all the dissolved solids in a grape; since 90% are sugars, it measures sugar content. Growers use refractometers in the vineyards to measure this, and TBA will has the highest must weight all grapes. Now you know why bottles of TBA can be so expensive!

While Lara was pouring the medium orange nectar of the 2018 Welschriesling Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA), we could smell the pronounced aromas of honey, orange, peach, and nectarine from the glass. Bringing the glass closer to the nose, we found hints of lilies and flowers dancing among the intense fruit aromas. We spent at least two minutes enjoying the wine’s diverse aromas before taking our first sip. Pure ecstasy! The wine covered the entire mouth with a layer of luscious liquid, almost like honey but with acidity to provide refreshment to the senses. A wonderful wine!

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi’s Rating: 1 Paw Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Seated Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes

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