Vienna’s Gemischter Satz wines were the only wines in the world to be included in the Slow Food “Ark of Taste”. This wine is not for the faint of heart: the nose and taste are intense. American wine journalist Alice Fehring praised it as “complex,” with flavors ranging from “mineral to honeysuckle” and even a “touch of skunk”.
Many are surprised to learn that urban Vienna is also a wine region. But within the city limits, 320 winemakers tend 1,680 acres of grapes – mostly in the river-flanking areas of Nussberg, Kahlenberg, Bisamberg and Mauer.
The predominant varietal is Gemischter Satz, a wine made from a variety of grapes. In contrast to a cuvee, up to 20 different grape varieties are planted in the same vineyard, and harvested and pressed together. Originally, growers used the varying degrees of ripeness and acidity as a way to ensure consistent quality and guard against the risk of poor harvests.
When you are in Vienna seek out this grape varietal in one of Vienna’s many fine dining establishments, or at a charming wine tavern called Heurigen at the outskirts of the city. Look for wines from Fritz Wieninger, Rainer Christ, Richard Zahel, Michael Edlmoser, Mayer am Pfarrplatz and Cobenzl, a group that was the catalyst for this resurgence of Gemischter Satz in Vienna.