The town of Rust, near Lake Neusiedl is famous for its nobly rotten dessert wines called Ruster Ausbruch. In the best sweet wine vintages, Ruster (pron. roos-ter) winemakers are able to select from extraordinarily high amounts of botrytis-affected raisinated grapes. This is due to the high air humidity, often produced by the lake in the autumn. Botrytris cinera, in its noble, benevolet form, pierces a grape's skin and drains much of the water from the flesh. The result is a shriveled grape, which contains highly concentrated sugar. For connoisseurs of these luxuriously intense wines, Austria is right at the top of the list, in terms of quality and value. In addition to sweet wines, many winemakers in Rust are also producing interesting dry wines on the gentle slopes further away from the lake where botrytis is less common. This week I was able to visit three of talented Ruster winemakers.
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