Austria has a long history of making distinctive fine wines. More than 60 million years ago wild vines were already existed across Austria, and wines were produced by the Celts even before the Romans. Austria was the third largest producer of wine globally in the 1920s, mainly producing and exporting simple light white wines.
Beerenauslese (pronounced Bear-en-ows-lay-zuh) literally translates to “berry selection” in German. Amongst the Austrian category of quality wines, aka Prädikatswein, Beerenauslese wines, often called “BA”, rate high. These wines are made from hand-selected grapes that have shrivelled from raisins by botrytis, aka Noble Rot. Produced in very small quantities, that too only when the weather is suitable for noble rot to set, these wines tend to be very expensive. This is owing to the high labour cost, cost of production, negligible yield, and rarity value. They’re very sweet and rich, and, thus, served in small quantities. High level of sugar make them age-worthy, and worth cellaring for decades.
Neuburger is amongst the 22 classified white varietals allowed for quality wine production in Austria. It originated in Wachau and didn’t leave its home turf till the 1860s, when it was brought out of the Danube. Outside of Wachau, Neuburger can also be seen in Thermenregion, both in Niederosterreich.
A cross between Roter Veltliner and Silvaner, it produces small, thick-skinned fruit that results in wines of considerable texture and body with spicy overtones. Neuburger’s versatility results in simple, dry, and off-dry wines, to nuttier, honeyed dessert wines. Tightly clustered berries makes it prone to botrytis, and good for sweet wine production.