Austrian-varietal wines have become the passion and mainstay of vignerons Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson of Hahndorf Hill Winery in the Adelaide Hills. Their picturesque vineyard is situated at the edge of the German heritage town of Hahndorf, only 30 minutes’ drive up the freeway from Adelaide. This is a magnificent property and meticulously maintained.
Here they have planted and are pioneering Blaufrankisch, Gruner Veltliner, Zweigelt and Saint Laurent, which are grape varieties widely found in Austria and in surrounding European countries but which are relatively unknown in Australia.
“We love working with these grape varieties because they make beautiful, food-friendly wines. They also enable us to offer something different and interesting for Australian wine consumers to try.”
Marc Dobson, Owner of Hahndorf Hill Winery
Hahndorf Hill make four styles of Gruner Veltliner, Austria’s great white grape – a classic, reserve, new-world and dessert style, each appealing to its own niche market. Their classic style has achieved considerable success, having twice been rated by Austrian wine magazines as being the best example of Gruner Veltliner in the world outside of Austria.
Here in Australia two of Hahndorf Hill’s Gruner Veltliner wines were placed on James Halliday’s Top 100 Wines list for 2019.
According to Marc, Gruner Veltliner is accessible and enjoyable with its purity of fruit and minerality and it also has sufficient complexity to spark the interest of any keen wine lover.
During the 2020 vintage, Marc and Larry harvested their first crop of Saint Laurent – an Austrian red grape variety which is the genetic ‘daughter’ of Pinot Noir, sharing some of its characteristics both in the vineyard and in the bottle. Like Pinot Noir, Saint Laurent can be temperamental in the vineyard and in the winery, but the results can be gorgeous when you get it right. Style wise, it’s similar to Pinot Noir but darker in colour and a bit more assertive.
In addition to their Austrian-varietal wines, Hahndorf Hill also produces other cool-climate classics, such as Pinot Grigio, Shiraz and a delicious, dry-style Rosé.