Austria’s best sweet wines
From mushroom to liquid gold
When controlled, noble rot can be a tremendous gift from nature—particularly for makers of sweet wines. The Krachers leverage this fungus to transform their grapes into precious gems and their juice into sublimely sweet wine.
The perfect terroir for sweet wines
The Weinlaubenhof Kracher estate is located on the Seewinkel Plain. Barely 20 kilometres across, it is peppered with shallow ponds that release moisture into the air and cloak the land with a dense fog, creating a hauntingly beautiful effect. When heated by the hot mid-day sun, these airborne water droplets promote the proliferation of Botrytis cinerea. A disaster? Not at all! This fungal growth on the grapes is actually a blessing, as it helps concentrate the sugars and makes it possible to produce sweet wines. This is something that Alois Kracher Sr. understood back when he founded his estate—which happened to be the same year his son was born.
Plot division and the Nouvelle Vague
Alois Jr. (Luis) was a pioneer in the region. Before him, no other winegrower had worked his vines with such careful attention to detail. In fact, he was the first to create separate plots for botrytised wines, working on the principle that the grapes would only be harvested when the fruit on each plot had reached the perfect level of maturity. This pursuit of perfection is also seen in the Nouvelle Vague line, in which wines are numbered from 1 to 12, depending on their level of sweetness. This collection was rated best in Austria by Robert Parker.
Fond memories of smiles and sunshine
We met Gerhard Kracher in 2014 at the New York Wine Experience. We joined him at the wine bar owned by his compatriot Aldo Sohm (with whom he founded the Kracher and Sohm vineyard). During our conversation, we told Gerhard how we had come across one of his most well-known wines, Trockenbeerenauslese No. 5, after a friendly soccer game between winegrowers in Sao Paolo. The memory of that sunny afternoon spent tasting wines, combined with the fabulous soirée that we had with Gerhard, strengthened our ties with the Austrian winemaker.
TBA Welschriesling vs. Château d’Yquem: May the best wine win!
Of all the estate’s products, Gerhard says the 1981 TBA Welschriesling is the one he treasures most. Not only was it made by his grandfather the same year that he was born, but this vintage also won an epic duel in 1994. Back then, few people were familiar with Austrian wines, much to the chagrin of the Kracher family. To raise international awareness of his estate, Alois Jr. held a blind taste test at the London Wine Fair, pitting his 1981 TBA Welschriesling against the legendary 1983 Château d’Yquem. Not only did his wine win the battle, but Alois was named White Wine Producer of the Year. This proved to be a historic moment for the Kracher business, thrusting it into the spotlight and onto the path to success.
Sweets for the sweet
It goes without saying that Kracher wines are the perfect pairing for sumptuous Austrian desserts like Sachertorte, a decadent chocolate cake, or homemade crepes filled with apricot jam. Simply superb!