By Austrian Wine, a certified “Good Food Fighter

So many Austrian wines naturally lend themselves to outdoor dining at the holiday weekend.

Another beautiful Canadian Summer Long Weekend, and what could be better than some Austrian wine to ease you through those days off?

The good news is that we’ve got you covered when it comes to the beverages you will be serving to your guests this weekend. Sure, traditionally there’s a lot of beer drinking, but we’re confident that in modern day culture they’ll be quite a few people at your festivities that will be reaching for a glass of wine instead.

Actually, let’s start with a cocktail. While we don’t really promote icing your wine (c’mon people, who does that?) we do promote the consumption of the traditional Viennese spritzer – light wine, try a Welshriesling or Gelber Muskateller, and club soda. Light, refreshing and you’ll be having a taste of Austrian culture alongside your appetizer salads and cheese platter…after all, Canada is all about the combination of cultures, right?

Let’s move on to the main course.

Having Barbecue chicken…(or Barbecue anything, really)? Try a Zweigelt. The peppery character and red fruits will play off the sweet and spicy combination from the marinade creating a to-die-for backyard treat.

Back to those salads. So you started off with a spritzer, but now you’d like something more. Of course a Gruner Veltliner would be perfect company. We’d recommend sticking to the best known style of white pepper, green apple, citrus and moderately high acid. Not only will it pair with many of the hard-to-pair components of the salad, but it’s also great for sipping in the sun.

If you are planning on having an oyster bake, fish stew or bouillbasse then why not try a Styrian Sauvignon Blanc or a Zierfandler from the Thermenregion. The minerality and salinity that is typically found in these wines will pair great with the natural flavors of the oysters and other seafood options.

Grilling up some shrimp? Try an Austrian Riesling. These bone-dry wines will be good company for the natural flavors in the shrimp. Keep the marinade simple (a little lime juice and cracked pepper?) and this light pairing will leave you with enough confidence to rock that bikini or speedo even after all of that food.

Cooking up some duck breast? Riesling would actually be perfect here too – just go for a slightly weightier style with perhaps a little more alcohol.

Let us not forget Blaufränkisch. Burgers, steaks, venison? Perfect. Smoked pork and homemade black beans? Yes, please. These foods would also go well with an Austrian Pinot Noir which are traditionally darker and fruitier than other old world expressions though they still carry a tremendous amount of spice.

Photo Credit: Jonas Cuenin

It is certainly a hot time of year and naturally, everyone’s looking for ways to stay cool or, at the very least, not raise our body temperatures by eating warmer foods. That’s exactly why this month’s featured food pairing from Wine Director Pascaline Lepeltier of Rouge Tomate in NYC has got our taste buds dancing with enthusiasm.

Pascaline suggests pairing a Hawaiian Walu Ceviche with a wine she knows well, the Jutta Ambrositsch Oberer Reisenberg Riesling 2008. One look at that picture and you’ll see why our mouths are watering just writing this!

Rouge Tomate is a progressive New York City restaurant with a focus on local and sustainable farming and the promotion of health through food.  From the selection of ingredients to the table, Rouge Tomate ensures not only a pleasurable experience, but a flavorful one that allows you to feel good about the food (and wine!)  in front of you.

About the pairing:

“The pairing  plays on the acidity and the touch of bitterness of the wine and of the yuzu/soil/sesame sauce ; the touch of sugar underlines the delicacy and the texture of the walu (it is a white tuna from Hawaii) and absorbs the slight heat of the spices; finally the radishes, avocado and vegetables + the yuzu showcases the varieties of the aromas of the riesling – citrusy, slightly vegetal, floral.” – Pascaline Lepeltier

The food:

Yuzo dressing:

Equal parts white soy and yuzu juice
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to tastee


40g  Walu
1 tsp Radish
1 tsp Red onion
1 tsp Cucumber
1 tsp Jalepeno
1 tsp Avocado
1 tsp Snow pea
1 tsp Shizo leaf

Drizzle with olive oil and Yuzu dressing.

The wine: Winemaker Jutta Ambrositsch has been crafting wine under her own name since 2002 out of Vienna, Austria after her friend and mentor, Fritz Wieninger, donated a vineyard on the prestigious hills of Nussberg. Jutta has since expanded he acreage, but to date all  of her vineyards remain on the Nussberg – the best grape-growing site in the region.  

“What I like in the wine is the balance between the salty minerality, the ripeness enhanced by a touch of residual sugar and the counterpoint of the fresh, intense acidity. I think it is a great and unique expression of the Riesling – with the precision you expect, but more full bodied. I really enjoy her wines and her vision of vine growing and wine making. I really think biodynamic viticulture enhances a sense of the place.” – Pascaline Lepeltier

And finally, when the sun begins to set and the sky begins to light up with colors it’s important that the celebration is just as…explosive on the ground. You guessed it, Austrian Sekt! What better way to truly connect with explosive feeling of national pride than toasting your friends and neighbors with a little something bubbly. Added bonus: the Sekt will pair perfectly with the tray of fresh fruit you set out for dessert.

Whatever crosses your picnic table this Canadian holiday weekend, we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday! Zum Wohl!