As a wine writer, symptoms I receive a lot of wine samples to try. I take them seriously and taste each and every one of them. I don’t always have the time or the space to write about every single sample and some of the samples are, healing well to be honest, they are simply not wines that I would recommend. I recently put together a group of samples from three small unknown family wineries in Burgenland. The wines from one winery were all incredibly clumsy. Each and every one of them, even the Sauvignon Blanc and the Welschriesling had 14% alcohol. The second winery had closure issues. Some were closed with synthetic stoppers, which I dislike, and the others were closed under very poor quality natural cork or ill-fitted screw caps. The reds all had volatile acidity and the best of the whites were simply boring. Then came a very pleasant surprise: the wines from the Ernst Winery in Deutschkreutz in central Burgenland. The Grüner Veltliner and the Steinriegel Welschriesling, both from the 2008 vintage were refreshing quaffable wines with good varietal character. Even the Zweigelt, a variety that has a talent for making me yawn or making me very frustrated when it is laden with oak, was actually quite pleasant. The Zweigelt 2008 had fresh, bright amarelle cherry fruit and a nice little core of tannin, but the 14% alcohol was just a tad too high for the weight and stature of this wine. The true specialty in central Burgenland is Blaufränkisch so I perked up and paid attention to the next three wines. The standard 2008 Blaufränkisch and the Blaufränkisch from the Hochberg vineyard, once from the 2008 vintage and once from the 2007 vintage. The 2008 were well-balanced and expressed good varietal character. It was the 2007 Blaufränkisch Hochberg with which I was most impressed: transparent dark ruby; bright lingonberry, red currant and boysenberry fruit, moderate tannin content with a nearly silky mouthfeel, medium light bodied, pleasant juniper and boysenberry on the finish. An elegant little wine that sells for only 8 Euros here in Austria. That makes it a superb buy for everyday drinking. These wines were the entry level wines for this winery. There is also a Blaufränkisch from a Goldberg vineyard and two blends with Blaufränkisch and Cabernet. I’ll be keeping an eye on the Ernst winery in the future.

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