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Weingut Prieler, Leithaberg rot, 2005

Seven years is not a biblical age for a bottle serious red wine, but the Austrian wine scene being obsessed with youth and each new vintage, it is not quite so easy to find older bottles of interesting Austrian reds. Except if you manage to navigate this Wine Rambler's tiny cramped cellar. Recently, I got lucky down there, and found this. Upon seeing the label and suddenly remembering having bought it all those years ago, I made the executive decision that its time had come. It had that in common with the goose who had lost her life for Martinmas and was about to be cooked with some apples and red cabbage.

Leithaberg shining out of the murk:
Leithaberg shining out of the murk:

The Leithaberg is a range of low hills northwest of Lake Neusiedl that a few winemakers from Austria's Burgenland region discovered for its cooler, steeper vineyards after they had become bored by the powerfully fruity, but somewhat complacent wines to be made from their lakeside plots.

The freshness associated with Leithaberg reds was less obvious here once the bottle was opened: in smell as in taste, this was polished and poised, with a gentlemanly elegance. Plums, dark cherries, a little leather, a few berry notes. Neither too heavy nor insubstantial, it stood up to the goose very well. And what about the age issue? There wasn't one, although the onset of maturity was noticeable in softened tannins and a certain hint of nutty sweetness. This wine was at a nice ripe moment in its life, when it will not get any better, but has still a few years to shine. A handsome wine with greying temples, as it were. After my Co-Rambler Torsten wrote up President Obama in his last review, could this be a Mitt Romney wine? But then, the governor won't touch wine.

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