As the end of the year approaches, wine regions from around the globe – some as little known in the USA as Burgenland in Austria – are bringing forth their wines.

I had a taste of Burgenland this Spring in Vienna, at a food and wine exhibit held by this region in one of the city’s oldest squares. People young and old, bundled up against the cold milled under taut white tents topped with colorful banners flapping in the wind, drank wine around wooden tables, and sampled regional sausages, würsts, cheeses, honeys, jams and other products from stand after stand groaning under the bounty of Burgenland.

For me the secret was out. It could even decipher the names of grape varieties, enough to later order wine at local restaurants.

It was another matter to make out and then remember the long and combined names on the labels written in Gothic letters in the best German fashion.

kadlec karlIn Austria, there are 35 grape varieties - 22 white and 13 red - officially approved for the production of Qualitätswein (quality wine) or Qualitätswein of a special ripeness and type of harvest (Prädikatswein – sweet wine) and Landwein. All which multiply the reasons for getting confused.

So upon my return to Miami I was delighted to find a line of Austrian wines from the producer Karl Kadlec in Burgenland under the simple label KK Lyss LLC.

Juicy reds, predominantly from  the zesty, full-bodied Blaufränkisch, with subtle mineral spicy notes; vibrant and elegant whites from Grüner Vertliner and Chardonnay, with mineral and herbal notes, rich and silky late harvest wines with Muskat Ottonel or a sweet and beguiling Ice Wine  (Eiswein) all have names I can read and remember.

burgenland panonian plains

Burgenland (13,840 ha), the easternmost province of Austria, is unlike any other region in a country known for rugged Alps, verdant meadows or its capital Vienna. Burgenland sits on the edge of Central Europe’s infinitely vast Pannonian plain where the line of the horizon stretches on and on until it breaks at the shores of Lake Neusiedl, the shallow, steppe-like Neusiedlersee which  along numerous smaller and shallow lakes surrounding the vineyards, moderates the extreme continental climate, to create the ideal conditions necessary for viticulture.

As a result, the wines from Burgenland have received awards and accolades in recent years,  including the DAC status in 2005. DAC stands for ”Districtus Austriae Controllatus”  or “protected Austrian declaration of origin”- The DAC is a designation for Austrian quality wines from a specific appellation.

Here are some notable wines with simple labels made available in the USA and in Florida by KK LYSS LLC. For additional information on the many wines in their portfolio, log on to



lyss_blaufraenkisch_classicLyss Cuvée 2011, Burgenland, Austria ($43.00) This complex Weingut Kadlec is a deep ruby red blend of 55% Blaufränkish; 25% Zweigelt; 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, that spent two years in barrique. Its serious tannins are well-balanced with a lively acidity and moderate alcohol content (13%). It owes its enticing red fruit aromas on the nose to the zesty Blaufränkish. Round in the mouth and palate it is fruit-forward with notes of ripe red fruit – raspberry, cherries, cassis; underwood, chocolate, violet and spice; all ending in a long and fragrant finish.  It pairs well with beef and pork, venison, all kinds of sausages, stews and cheeses.

Lyss Rouge Zweigelt 2012, Burgenland, Austria ($30.00) This full-bodied 100% Zweigelt varietal was aged in barrique for one year.  Zweigelt is the most widely-grown red grape variety in Austria,. This violet red wine is easy-drinking with plush, solid tannins, ripe cherry and cassis fruit tones, spices and 14% alcohol  content. Like the Malbec in Argentina, it is the battle horse of Austrian wines and lends itself to many interpretations.

 Lyss Rouge Blaufränkish 2011, Burgenland, Austria ($30.00) 100% Blaufränkish. This medium-bodiedgruen_vel_exel late ripening varietal is deep dark ruby with pleasant tannins tampered by a lively acidity. It displays rich tones of ripe underwood red berries and cherry and a long finish. 14% alcohol content. It stands up well to pasta dishes, crispy duck, venison medallions with wild cherries as well as Asian dishes.




Lyss Excellence Grüner Vertliner 2012 DAC,  Winviertel, Austria ($25.50) Austria is best known for its elegant white wines. This 100% Grüner Vertliner comes from Weinviertel, Austria's largest wine producing region, with a limestone soil,  renowned for its sparkling wine and racy Grüner Veltliners. It is dry, elegant and well balanced, with crisp with notes of grapefruit and green apple, mineral and herbal tones and a long, aromatic finish.  It pairs well with seafood, oysters, soft cheeses, fish and pastas.



Lyss Secco Rosé, Burgenland, Austria ($19.20) A counterpart to the Italian Prosecco, this sparkling rosé with delicate berry flavors and fresh apples is light, refreshing on the palate thanks to a well-balanced acidity and a gentle finish. It is festive and seasonal and can be served as an aperitif or with shellfish, spicy foods and appetizers.


Ice wines/Eiswein  and Sweet wines


Lyss Eiswein Welschriesling Chardonnay 2009,Burgenland, Austria ($51.20)  It is made from 50% Riesling and 50% chardonnay grapes that have been hand-harvested at dawn after the first frost and then lightly pressed in a pneumatic press. The must first ferments in steel tanks and is then aged for several years in small old oak barrels. It is the essence of the late harvested fruit enhanced by a concentration of tropical fruit, candied orange peel, green almonds and honey with a pineapple acidity that brings all the flavors together into a thick and luscious wine.    It should be fabulous with foie gras or rich, creamy desserts.

Lyss Doux Muskat Ottonel 1999, Burgenland, Austria ($70.00) Muscat Ottonel is a younger member of the broader Muscat family - a cross between Muscat and Chasselas, it ripens late and is sensitive to noble rot, which makes it a prime varietal for creating a rich dessert wine. This late harvest wine fermented in Stainless Steel before it aged in barrels,  exhibits tastes of butter cream, ripe pear with flavors of baked apple, hints of chocolate, vanilla and spice, caramel and ripe gooseberry.  Served cold, it is a dessert unto itself. It also pairs well with blue-veined cheeses, cheese cake, puddings and crème brûlée.



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