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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
A pitch perfect dry Riesling in the Federspiel style. We've tasted a lot of good Riesling from 2019 vintage, but it's rare to find one that we can put on the shelf for $20 or less. This offering from the Fischer family gives a nice touch of petrol on the nose, nice density, and a clean finish. Fun fact: the Salmon on the bottle represents the effort of the family to repopulate the Danube with wild Salmon.
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. This is is a plush, textural rosé that is a real stand out, and though ideal for the end of Summer, is one of our favorite Rosé wines for the Fall and Winter months. The wine just arrived from Austria in early August, so it needs a bit of time to open up. No need to decant, but open about 30 minutes before serving if you're consuming it in the near future. -EL
Lackner-Tinnacher is one of (if not the) only certified organic producers in the Styria region of Austria. Styrian wines are not known widely in the US, mostly because there is a healthy local tradition of drinking wine and 90% of wine made in Styria is consumed there! Kati Tinnacher is a bit of an exception to the rule in the area. Where lower quality wines are often produced in good quantity and quickly, she has been trying to slow down releases and is working only with estate fruit instead of also buying grapes. This Morillon (Chardonnay) is from the local equivalent of a premier cru parcel called Eckberg. Morillon was likely brought to the area in the 17th or 18th century and is a mort tart and acidic clone of Chardonnay. The wine here is aged in large Acacia barrels and then in bottle for 6 months before release. Our friend Daniel Hubbard knows the winery and the region well and explains that the area has more in common with Friuli than Austria, as there is three times the amount of rainfall here than in the Danube Valley, and soils are similar to those in Friuli as well. The wine has nice structure and a bit of weight. If you don't like Chardonnay, pretend it's not, and if you do, this may not be your favorite but will be unique to any Chardonnay you've tried and is, subjectively, very enjoyable. - Eben
Christoph Heiss has not only taken over the family winery, he's also releasing a few wines as a side project under the 'Malinga' name, using only choice parcels of the family's 12 hectares of vines. Located in eastern Kamptal, the vines grow on mostly loess soils, and the family started conversion to organic farming in 2013. Grapes are hand-harvested and ferment spontaneously, the wine ages on the lees about a year in 500L neutral oak barrels before being bottled unfined/unfiltered and with low sulfur addition. Herbs and pollen on the nose give way to a medium-bodied palate with an oily richness deftly balanced by vibrant acidity. The 2019 is particularly delicious, with a textured, almost waxy mid-palate, and long mineral finish.
This is a really friendly, medium bodied offering from Christoph Heiss, who runs his family's winery in the Kamptal, and also releases a small amount of wine from choice parcels under the "Malinga" name. Rotburger is a cross between Sankt Laurent and Blaufrankisch, and this one shows the fresh St. Laurent snap, and the brambly wild berry and black fruit profile of Blaufrankisch. Great on its own with a chill, perfect for summer sipping, but definitely has some material, so better chilled, not ice cold. Grapes go through whole cluster carbonic maceration for 10 days, and wine is aged for about 9 months in 500L Austrian barrels. -EL
Vom Stein is a parcel behind the town of Mautern, which is on the banks of the Danube in the famous Wachau region. It is one of the principal vineyards that Nikolaus and Christine Saahs farm at the Nikolaihof estate. Soils here are a mix of loess, loam, and Danube gravel. Grapes spontaneously ferment and the wine ages for six months in large, oak casks.
Sankt Laurent, Blaufränkisch, Rotburger, and Merlot sourced from higher parcels in the Rosenberg, Altenberg, and Ungerberg vineyards, hand-harvested, the grapes ferment spontaneously and age separately for 18 months in neutral 500L barrels, blended and bottled unfiltered with low sulfur added. Black plums, soy sauce, black pepper, deep savory spice wafts up from the glass, belying the fresh and juicy palate of tart raspberries, plums, violets with well-integrated structure. Cari BernardFun fact: The name Pittnauski is an homage to Gerhard's favorite movie, the Big Lebowski.
54% Muscat Ottonel, 29% Sauvignon blanc, 8% Chardonnay, 4% Gelber Muskateller, 5% Traminer
Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay spend 2 weeks in open vat on the skins, Tramier spends about 3 weeks on skins in amphora. The Muscat and Gelber Muskateller see less skin contact. After aging in amphora and old barrels, the four wines are blended before bottling. The nose is exploding with floral aromas. In the glass, it's a hazy, opaque grey/orange hue. A fascinating wine with a small cult following! -EL
From the red gravel and loess Eisenhut parcel, this is a fantastic Roter Veltliner, with nice weight and potential for aging. The wine was aged in large stoneware casks that Soellner purchased from auction shortly after World War I. Roter, when basic and at an entry-level, can often have bright acidity, but lack material to balance it out. This Roter, however, is far from basic, and shows the depth and complexity that can be attained from this lesser known Veltliner. -EL
A really impressive Gruner, especially for the price. Nice texture, medium weight, with chalky / limestone finish. Would be great with grilled veggies, on its own, or paired with poultry.
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