Finally, Fall comes to the Northwest. With it, like leaves on a tree, I shed my need for crisp, light, whites and reds. It is not cold yet for Port mind you. But a small glass of something sweet and complex to slowly sip away the cool evenings is in order.
The shallow slip of water, known as Lake Neusiedl, creates a foggy bubble where Botrytis cinerea, aka noble rot fungus, pierces grape skins and dries them. This happens in Bordeaux and other regions, but Austria is cooler than most. Thus, Riesling, Chardonnay, and other germanic grapes reign supreme.
Let’s not mess around but go straight to icon Kracher Winery.
Alois Kracher Jr left pharma chemistry to his father’s winery in 1981. By the early ’90s, he brought the winery fame, while the anti-freeze scandal ruined the rest of Austrian wine. He was the first Austrian to get 100 point score from Robert Parker. Sadly, pancreatic cancer took Alois in 2007, but his son, Gerhard, now 36, runs the winery
Today’s Fall wine is Kracher’s Beerenauslese 2011: a noble rot, late harvest wine, aged 16 months in 80% stainless tanks, 20% in casks. Grapes include 60% Welschriesling and 40% Chardonnay.
Do you want to pretend it is summer? Do you hate sweet wine (because you hate life)? Then Kracher’s Pinot Gris snaps with acidity, salt, seriousness, and dryness.
But accept it. It is Fall. You want more than mouthwatering alcohol.
The APPEARANCE looks a clear, brilliant medium gold, with silver highlights and plump legs.
AROMAS and FLAVORS crash like sea foam waves with intense honey, chamomile, lemon juice, apricot syrup, orange peel, anise, and salt. It tastes like Fall. It carries for miles.
But step away from that flavor assault. The PALATE clicks along with well-oiled balance: cracking acidity meshes seamlessly with viscous 6.7 grams per liter of sugar. Like most couples, each are horridly obnoxious apart, but together they dance.
Kracher’s Beerenauslese is faultless, outstanding stuff (5 of 5). It pairs with you. You don’t pair with it. You need to slow down. Sip this symbiosis. If you get hungry, Thai red curry, aged goat and blue cheeses, supposedly Kracher even makes their own cheese.
Embrace Fall. Embrace sweet wine. Embrace Kracher’s Beerenauslese.