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Neuburger. Once relegated to the level of pallid blending grape and a variety that has seen a stark decrease of planted hectarage, there has been an increase of really compelling wines being made solely with this humble crossing of Roter Veltliner and Sylvaner. Markus Altenburger works to preserve and continue producing beautiful wines with autochthonous varieties. These 'local' grapes take well to the Burgenland climate and soils, and Markus has some really great sites within the Leithaberg DAC, northwest of the Neusidlersee. Here soils can range from shell limestone and slate to schist, gneiss, and loam. 'Betont' is a play on words, translating to 'pronounced', while also referencing the german word 'beton', which is concrete. 80% of the grapes are destemmed and left on the skins for five days before spontaneously fermenting and aging together in concrete egg with the remaining 20% that was whole bunch macerated for two weeks. The wine stays on the lees until being bottled unfined, unfiltered, with very low sulfur addition. A really fun mix of minty herbaceouness and tropical fruitiness on the nose, there's just a slight tack from the skin contact woven into the savory leesiness, pears, yellow apples on the medium-weight palate. A delightful wine! Cari Bernard *bottle photo courtesy Schatzi website
Sourced from vineyards around the town of Dürnstein, on more gravelly, sandy, alluvial soils in contrast to the more stony meager soils further up slope. The 2019 boasts an effusively floral nose: jonquils, lemon blossoms, sweet pea, and clover, with some notes of apple skin and wet stone. The palate is lithe and racy, even agile. There are bright acidity and stone notes, driving a distinctly sapid palate. You get the savory herbal notes walking hand in hand with the preserved lemon, tart apple, and underripe white peach culminating in a lingering, mouthwatering, and pleasingly bittersweet finish. The contrast between fruit and stone is compelling and this shows plenty of lively detail in each sip. John McIlwain
Based in the town of Zöbing, Barbara Öhlzelt farms six hectares of vines. Her Grüner Leader is always a go-to bottle for gatherings. The 2019 is very fresh and fun; juicy ripe peach and apples, balanced by green pineapple acidity. Enjoy with salty snacks, salads, light pastas, fresh cheeses! Cari Bernard
Every summer I cherish a few "special" rosés (Lloritu from Oriol Artigas, or the Bonavita Rosato for example), but I also need a go-to inexpensive rosé that I can consume in larger quantities. Luckily I had a chance to taste a sample of the Bauer Rosé from Austria earlier this month, and quickly recognized it as the perfect summer quaffer. Organic practices in the vineyard, ambient yeast fermentation? Check! It's fresh, crisp and zippy, made from Blauer Zweigelt grapes that spend 6 weeks on skins and ferment and age in stainless steel. Did I mention it's a liter bottle that's only $14.99? A great deal and a no brainer for anyone stocking up for the beach, park, backyard, roof or fire escape. -Eben
'Joiseph' is the project of three friends (Richard Artner, Xandl Kagl and Luka Krawmann), started in 2015 in the town of Jois, north of the Neusidlersee in Burgenland. They've slowly been acquiring great parcels (now with close to six hectares in total), farming organically with some biodynamic leanings. We were drawn to their 'Mischkultur': a mix of Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Neuburger, Muskateller, and Traminer from two separate parcels, with vines ranging from 10 to nearly 100 years in age, on limestone and slate soils. Not sure what the skin contact time is on this, but the wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with very low levels of sulfur added. White cherries and almond cream on the nose, the medium-bodied palate has a beautiful play between texture and juicy pineapple with a more bitter almond note over apple tart tatin, and white flowers. Cari Bernard
Though we have not yet had a chance to try this vintage of the Belle Naturelle rosé, considering how much we all loved the previous year, our expectations are very high! The Jurtschich family is one of the leaders of the natural wine movement in Austria and all of their vineyards are certified organic, fermented spontaneously, and made without additives. This bottling is a blend of Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are fermented whole and then stored on the lees for a few months in neutral oak. If last year was any indication, this is a plush, textural rosé that will be gone before you know it!
White pepper and black fruit – what a combo! And distinctly nutty/grainy aromas as well. A rich, peachy, totally dry white wine, with creamy texture and great length. Fascinating and delicious wine that goes well with a great many foods – a great match for Asian spices, for instance. JW Nearly 15 years on from the vintage, Knoll's 2001 Loibenberg GV is a quite impressive wine, with the peachy flavors Jamie first wrote about years ago having mostly receded, leaving in their place a citric, herbaceous Grüner with telltale aromas and flavors of nuts, grains and lentils. Knoll's wines age wonderfully, retaining freshness and loads of character, even after their obvious, forward fruit has faded. Still youthful but showing quite well and promises to unfold more over the next 5-10 years. John Ritchie
A blend of Welschriesling, Grauburgunder, and Traminer biodynamically grown on a rocky loam soils. Hand-harvested, the grapes macerate for about a week followed by spontaneous fermentation and aging in stainless tank on the lees. The wine is unfined, unfiltered, and only 25 mg/L of SO2 is added before bottling. A nice balance of florals, apricot, slightly oxidized apple, and savory leesiness with just a whisper of texture. Cari Bernard
The Pitt Nat Rose is a blend of Blaufrankisch, Merlot and Syrah made without the addition of sulfur. The wine is a beautiful pale hazy pink, and in the glass it's full of grapefruit, wildflowers, and fresh strawberry. The palate is wonderfully fresh-- a bracing acidity balanced by fresh grapefruit and melon. There is also a hint of citrus pith, which brings a pleasingly gentle bitterness to the finish. Enjoy this bottle very cold with a selection of raw bar seafood or a vinegar laced pasta salad.
The ‘Pitti’ is a blend of 50% Rotburger (formerly known as Zweigelt), 40% Blaufränkisch, and 10% Merlot coming from younger vines. Before I even poured this wine into a glass I could smell baking spice, particularly clove, jumping out of the bottle. That intensity calmed down and along with the aromatic spice the nose was full of bramble and blackberry jam. The palate is a little denser than I expected and was full of stewed plum, ripe strawberry and black currant jam. Serve this bottle with a chill next to some some bratwurst or smoked meat. -Ian Tennant
The Dogma is back! A fascinating and singular rosé, this is all Blaufrankisch from three prized parcels in the Ungerberg vineyard, close to Lake Neusiedl (Neusiedlersee). Grapes are carefully sorted and destemmed. Indigenous yeast fermentation, and aging in stainless steel, along with a portion aged in old oak and amphora. There are rosés that I rely on for summer quaffing and don't expect the world from, and rosés that transcend the category, and stand out among my favorite whites and reds. This is certainly the latter! A complex and textured rosé with notes of rhubarb, sour cherries, and plums, and an lovely evolution in the mouth and glass. -EL
Unusually slender for a red wine bottle, the Puszta Libre! bottle shape takes its inspiration from vintage soda bottles, a cheeky nod to how chuggable this wine is; and if that's not enough we are also instructed by the label to "drink cold"! Mostly Zweigelt with Sankt Laurent, fermented in stainless steel and aged in large (600L to 1000L) used oak barrels. The 2019 just arrived about one month ago, and is singing! Great for summer BBQs and responsibly distanced parties! -EL
This is all St. Laurent, from gravel and limestone vineyards on the slopes of the Leitha mountains. A long, complex, and finessed Blanc de Noir Pet Nat.
Sonntag Geschlossen (“Closed on Sundays”) is a collaboration between Florian Schuhmann and his friend Marcus Sonntag. The story goes that Marcus had been farming his family’s two hectares of old-vine (50 y/o) Grüner Veltliner for years, converting to biodynamics in 2009. Interestingly enough, he really didn’t take to the winemaking part, so the juice was kept in old barrels in his family’s cellar being topped up and lightly sulfured for nearly seven years before Florian got around to asking after the wines. Florian offered to bottle the wines under this label, releasing each barrel separately. This first release is from a 2400L (very old) barrel, unfined and unfiltered. Slightly oxidative on the nose, with bitter herbs, salted pineapple, yellow apple core and stone on the finish—we look forward to future barrels! Cari Bernard
The Stadlmann family has been making wine since the 1780s in the Thermenregion; sheltered from the northern winds by the Vienna Woods, it is one of Austria's warmest wine growing areas. The 'Classic' line of wines are aged in large, used barrels to showcase the true character of the grape and terroir. Cari Bernard
Franz Weninger has vines in both Sopron, Hungary and Burgenland, Austria. He started converting to biodynamics in 2006 and is now Demeter certified. Franz grows a variety of grapes on a mix of limestone, clay, loam, and loess soils (on the Austrian side), but his main focus is Blaufränkisch and its ability to showcase terroir. You can see this dedication in the sheer number of different, single-vineyard expressions he bottles from both sides of the border. The 2017 is from multiple Burgenland parcels. Cari Bernard
A blend of mostly Zweigelt with some Cabernet Franc, from the Kamptal region in Austria. Weszeli has been farming biodynamically for close to decade and will be certified as of the 2021 vintage. The 2019 rosé is lovely, fresh and balanced. A fine candidate for drinking on its own, it has great balance and a bit of mid-palate weight that should make it a great accompaniment to summer meals, herb and tomato salads, and the like. -Eben