Wine Places to be

Burg Hotel Oberlech wins Best Bottle Award 2022

by Dorli Muhr

The selection of exceptional and rare wines on offer in the cellars of restaurants and hotels in the Austrian winter sports hotspot of Lech Zürs am Arlberg is breath-taking. Tens of thousands of bottles from international appellations develop in ideal, cool conditions until they are offered at the perfect moment of maturity to discerning guests from all over the world. But which cellar is home to the best bottle of all? 

Internationally renowned wine experts travelled to Lech at the start of the winter season to select the winner of the Best Bottle Award 2022 in a sensational blind tasting. The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Sparkling Wine’. Every restaurant could enter sparkling wines of any origin into the competition to lift the coveted trophy.  

bba22 all the sparkling candidates
©Anna Stöcher

More than 20 sparkling gems were submitted, most of them classic examples from Champagne, but also from Austria and Italy. Willi Balanjuk, A la Carte magazine’s wine expert, curated the submissions and put together flights for the blind tasting, which was finally held on 12 December in Lech’s prestigious Restaurant Fux.  

Who's Who of Wine Critics 

The jurors were all experts in their field – mostly wine critics, but also sommeliers and producers. Among the international experts were global names such as world champion sommelier Marc Almert (Baur au Lac, Zurich), Ralf Frenzel (Fine magazine, Wiesbaden), Joshua Greene (Wine&Spirits, New York), Jamie Goode (wineanorak, London), Linda Perez (Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm), Jancis Robinson MW (jancisrobinson, London), David Schildknecht (Vinous, New York), Harald Scholl (Vinum, Zurich), Sascha Speicher (Sommelier magazine, Neustadt) and sparkling wine and biodynamic expert Romana Echensperger MW. A selection of Austrian critics including Jürgen Schmücking (GaultMillau), Roland Graf (Falstaff) and Philipp Braun (OÖN) rounded out the panel. 

2008 vintage shines 

Although blind tasting sparkling wines is exhausting for both the senses and the palate, the experts were left beaming due to the great selection of bottles. Champagnes from the 2008 vintage were clearly impressive and at the perfect point of maturity, with both first and second place going to vintage champagnes from that year. 

The overall winner of the sparkling wine tasting was the 2008 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs by Taittinger. This precious bottle was entered by the Burg Hotel Oberlech. 

Second place went to Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2008 by Pol Roger, submitted by the Burg Vital Hotel, also in Oberlech. A vintage champagne also won third place, the rare Les Pierrières Blanc de Blancs 2017 by Ulysse Collin, submitted by Hotel Almhof Schneider. 

A winning work of art  

The trophy for the best sparkling wine bottle in Arlberg was accepted by Christian Lucian on behalf of the Burg Hotel. It is a work of art by sculptor Markus Hofer, who fittingly transformed an empty 1995 Perrier Jouet champagne bottle into an artistic trophy. Clemens Riedl, the founder of Vienna-based rare wines trader trinkreif and the competition, donated the prize. 

Clemens Riedl, Hermann Fercher, Christian Lucian, Willi Balanjuk, Markus Hofer
©Anna Stöcher

Stifter dieses Preises, wie auch Initiator des gesamten Bewerbes, ist Clemens Riedl, Gründer des Raritätenweinhandels trinkreif.

"While great wine cellars are impressive and amazing in themselves, it is just as important that the wines are served at the perfect maturity," says Riedl. "That's why we founded this slightly different competition, which has a special focus on Lech Zürs in particular."  

The competition was organised in cooperation with Lech Zürs Tourism as part of the Arlberg Weinberg festival. "Culinary and wine expertise have always been features of Lech and Zürs," says Lech Zürs Tourism Director Hermann Fercher. "For many guests, top gastronomy is the essential deciding factor when choosing a holiday destination. What’s more, it is precisely this positioning that makes us largely independent of weather and seasonal patterns."  

The Arlberg Weinberg Festival, which ushers in the winter season each year and in 2022 took place from 8 to 17 December, is dedicated to this culinary positioning of Lech Zürs. All events of Arlberg Weinberg can be found here: https://www.lechzuers.com/de/arlberg-weinberg

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About Arlberg Weinberg

Lech Zürs am Arlberg offers guests remarkable skiing, outstanding culinary delights, and the finest of wines. The “Arlberg Weinberg” event, traditionally held in the first week of December, lavishes attendees with fantastic wines, culinary highlights, and captivating events. The program is tailor-made for wine lovers who also enjoy time on the slopes and joys for all the senses.

Arlberg Weinberg
Lech Zürs Tourismus
Dorf 2
6764 Lech am Arlberg

Arlberg Weinberg

Lech Zürs am Arlberg during winter
Dorli Muhr
Owner & Managing Director

Dorli, a university-trained translator, founded Wine+Partners in 1991 while still a student. With tremendous passion and tenacity, she has helmed the firm for more than 30 years, transforming it from a one-woman show into an internationally renowned agency.