Chillably uplifting autumn options from Austria and Italy

It sometimes seems that Austria’s Burgenland and Piedmont in Italy have cornered the market in sprightly, tangy red wines. Their native black grapes often marry good intensity of flavour with terrific acid bite, layering in earthy, savoury, spicy tones with a rasp of tannin.

Their refreshment factor and – Nebbiolo aside – unobtrusive tannins leave them well placed for a spell in the fridge. They’re light enough to quench thirst alone, and boast sufficient substance to be a handy presence at the dining table.

These three recently written-up wines from Pittnauer, Rosi Schuster and Barolo’s Vaira family nail the brief perfectly.

2018 Pittnauer Zweigelt Heideboden $32

Black cherry, sour cherry, marzipan, dried herb and game meat. Medium-bodied, sour cherry and orange rind, juniper, brisk acidity and fine chalky tannin, tart blackberry and spice on a juicy and pan-juicy finish of solid length. A distinctly ‘mineral’ feel here, and while it’s a little ‘off road’ in character, it’s a lovely thing to drink.

90 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

2019 Rosi Schuster Aus den Dörfern Rot $43

Dark cherry, sweet spices, some liquorice and dried roses. Medium-bodied, damp earth, juniper and dried herb, tangy blackberry, firm glassy acidity and Turkish coffee tannin, game meat and blood plum on a finish of good length.

91 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front 

2019 Monterustico Dogliani Dolcetto $43

‘Dolcetto’ literally translates to ‘little sweet one’, which is a fair description of the dolcettos designed for everyday drinking – but not this wine. Deeply coloured, it is bursting with jubey, fleshy red and black fruit aromas lifted by earthy and green herb complexity. That generosity continues on the palate with rich ripe fruit matched by mouthcoating tannins leading to a long and muscular finish suggesting good drinking over the medium term.

93 points. Angus Hughson, Gourmet Traveller WINE 

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