Frühroter Veltliner is a fruity, powerful wine with a bit of spice and hints of almonds when made into Eiswein, for which it is mostly used as the popularity of dry Frühroter Veltliner has waned in recent years, though still available.
Golden straw color. Peach custard, melon and cashew nougat aromas follow through on a round, silky entry to a dryish light-to-medium body with crisp orange note. Finishes with a slightly grassy mineral accented fade. A nice even and balanced apéritif. The early drinking, gently acidic wines are low in alcohol and present a bouquet that is mainly herbaceous with whiffs of flowers and bitter almonds.
The varietal Frühroter Veltliner most probably originated in Gumpoldskirchen, Austria. It ripens early and is therefore, in contrast to Zierfandler (late red), called fruehrot (early red).
Frühroter Veltliner is a natural cross between Roter Veltliner and Sylvaner and is related to Neuberger, from the same cross, Zierfandler and Savagnin and is used as a parent in a number of crossings. It is not, despite the similar nomenclature, related to Grüner Veltliner.
According to legend, Neuburger was fished out of the Danube in the 1860's and planted in the Wachau. It is capable of making a dry and elegant wine as well as great late-harvest sweet wines.
Think of Neuburger as having the gusto of a clean Chardonnay, the depth of a dry Chenin Blanc with a bit of the snap of a Muscadet. It often produces wines that are soft, full bodied and have a balanced, nutty aroma.
Relatively easy to cultivate and not particularly demanding on soil types, although it does best on primary rock.
Neuburger is a popular heurige wine. It has a natural depth and diversity of flavour, but due to its ease has often been taken for granted and used in blends and entry level wines.
Obviously when someone does take it seriously, it is a lot more interesting.
I've been told the best are in the Wachau, but in my tastings it has always been winemakers in other regions who show impressive efforts. The Hofbauer 2007 is impressive 10 years on, and the skin contact version from Kiss shows the complexity of the grape.
DNA profiling has shown that the grape is a crossing of Roter Veltliner and Sylvaner.