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After starting to oversee the winemaking in 2006, Markus Altenburger took over the family winery fully in 2012, and has expanded to 30 parcels totaling around 14-odd hectares (currently in the third year of organic conversion). His parents had mostly made white wines with some attention given to international red varieties. Markus shifted the main focus to Blaufränkisch, a grape far more suited to the climate and soils found around the town of Jois and the Leithaberg DAC. Work in the cellar is with native yeasts, élevage is mostly in old wood or cement, with no additions save a judicious amount of sulfur at bottling. Gritschenberg is a southeast-facing parcel on the Leithaberg, planted to Blaufränkisch by Markus' grandfather in the late '60s. The vineyard is rife with the famous 'Leithakalk' or shell limestone, on which the old-vine Blaufränkisch manifests smaller berries, looser bunches, and lends a mineral elegance to the wines. Grapes are hand-harvested, ferment in cask, and the wine ages for two years in 500L used oak barrels. The concentration of plum and raspberry fruit that could have gone too lush and soft in a ripe vintage like 2015 is deftly cut with savory black licorice and salty herbs and earthy structure. Bravo, Markus! Cari Bernard
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. Grüner Veltliner is known for being very food-friendly, and this could clearly hold up to difficult pairings like steamed artichokes or ham-studded pea soup and would be fantastic with practically anything from Wiener schnitzel to Thai food to fresh salads. Cari Bernard
Eschewing the DAC, Jutta and Marco can no longer use the original vineyard name (Reisenberg) on their labels, hence the new title 'Revision'. Their parcel on the Reisenberg is home to Grüner Veltliner sparsely-planted mostly in the 1960s on slate and gneiss soils. As with the majority of their wines, ageing occurs in stainless steel tank and bottling is with judicious levels of sulfur. Bright green herbs (marjoram), mineral cut, with just ripe nectarine and mango, pleasantly bitter pineapple core and a saline wash of the palate on the finish -- can age but would be delightful now with fresh salads, fish crudo, and oysters on the half-shell. Cari Bernard
Thomas Hareter is the fourth generation winemaker at his family's estate in Gols, Burgenland. Certified Organic since 2006 they are currently in the process of Demeter (Biodynamic) certification. 'Naturschönheit' is Zweigelt and Sankt Laurent, semi-carbonic fermentation and aging for ten months in large neutral oak barrels, bottled unfined and unfiltered with low sulfur added. Heady scents of patchouli and turned soil, black plum skin and cured meats, the palate is fresh and layered with savory notes of dark soy sauce, black pepper and tea, blackberries and plum with light tannic structure and a tart finish. Cari Bernard
Multi-vintage, Biodynamic Zweigelt rosé, aged under flor, from the Kremstal. I'm just going to let that sink in there. We love Christoph for his boundless energy, focus and care in his vineyards, and his dedication to always learning through his projects in the cellar. Although his main focus is his sparkling wines, he's begun to make more still rosé for us to enjoy. This is now the second release we've been able to get our hands on. The nose shows high-toned sour cherries, raspberry seeds, and green strawberries. Bottled without addition of sulfur, unfined and unfiltered, there is a great subtle texture and savory leesiness that balances the tart fruit on the palate (think pink grapefruit, pickled watermelon rind, barely-ripe raspberry, and wild strawberries). A rosé for the more adventurous set. Cari Bernard
Organically grown Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on gföhler gneiss, spontaneously fermented with élevage sur lie in used 600L oak barrels. This may be my rosé of the summer (so far). Absolutely delicious and balanced, and interesting without being too strange to down a whole bottle. The palate is rife with flavors of tart tiny lingonberries, cranberry, blood orange, raspberries, and red grapefruit, deftly rounded out by lactic leesiness. An energetic and refreshing rosé to pair with salty snacks, fresh salads, fried chicken, but strong on its own. Cari Bernard
Am Berg is back! Younger vines grown on loess soils closer to the village of Feuersbrunn. A fantastic entry-level Grüner, fresh and fruity, but not at all flabby; creamy but with a saline cut; with waves of white flowers, young ginger, lemon zest, mango and apricot. Cari Bernard
Sankt Laurent, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, 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 Bernard
We love the wines of Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer, Biodynamic farmers and winemakers in the town of Gols, Burgenland, Austria. Grapes for the Dorflagen are hand harvested from a mix of vineyards (Salzbergacker, Goldberg, Edelgrund) where there's a decent amount of gravel which provides better drainage through the humus and iron-rich soil. Fermentation and aging occurs in 500L neutral barrels (12 months). Saline minerality, dark violets, black raspberry, black plum skins and earth on the nose and continued on the medium-bodied palate, along with a meaty savoriness, black tea leaves, and structured finish. Cari Bernard
Grapes from vines on Gneiss soils, between 20-40 years in age, gently basket-pressed, spontaneously fermented with no temperature control, and left to age in 2500L oak casks (with periodic racking) for around 18 months before bottling. Cari Bernard
Pale pink in the glass, the nose hints at a stony minerality confirmed on the palate. This blend of Zweigelt, St. Laurent, and Pinot Noir is crisp with scintillating acidity and flavors of fresh green and red strawberries, Seville orange, white raspberries, white stone, and lemon juice. A touch more giving than the 2017 vintage, and still incredibly brisk! Cari Bernard
Hannes Schuster took over for his mother, Rosi in 2005, promptly shifting to organic farming, now fully certified. Known for his Blaufränkisch and Sankt Laurent (and we really love those too), we've decided to offer his Rotburger (Zweigelt), which stood out at a recent tasting, and at VieVinum back in June of 2018. Slightly reductive at first whiff, notes of burned caramel and cumin curl towards the nose. Red plum, red currants, and ripe strawberries, the palate is fruity and round but tastefully framed by a fine tannic structure that sustains on the finish. 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. 2016 is beautifully balanced and fresh, the palate is smooth and juicy with bright flavors of ripe strawberries, tangy raspberries, tart yet candied red cherries wrapped in a cloak of savory spice. A wonderful wine to have with a wide range of food! Cari Bernard
Karl Schnabel worked in Burgundy briefly in the late nineties, and it's no surprise that his love for Pinot Noir and the region was brought back home with him to Austria. The Schnabel family chose to buck the tradition of the region and focus on red varieties instead on the more commonly-planted Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gelber Muskateller, et al. As with all wines at the estate, the quality is developed in the vineyard through biodynamic treatments and grueling manual upkeep. Once the grapes make it to the cellar, they spontaneously ferment in cask with manual pigéage and the wine is transferred by bucket into neutral Burgundy barrels, to age until being bottled without fining, filtration, or sulfur. New roses, candied cherry blossoms, red cherries, orange zest, pine shavings come forth on the nose. Flavors of red currants, strawberries, sage, hibiscus tea, tart cherry compote expand, vibrate, and sustain on the palate with freshness and verve. This would be delightful paired with all sorts of cheeses from triple crème, to washed rind, to Alpine. Cari Bernard
Rotburger is the original name for Zweigelt; this bottling is sourced from one of Karl and Eva Schnabel’s three vineyards, the Kreuzegg vineyard on the Sausal mountain, home to slate soils with silex. As is true with all of the Schnabel red wines, natural fermentation occurs in open tank, with hand-pigéage; the wine is then scooped via bucket into used Burgundy barrels where it ages on the lees until being bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with no sulfur. Deep, dark magenta in color, darker than expected. Scents of ripe purple plums, stewed strawberries, carrot peelings, and just a hint of savory soy sauce, the wine is medium-bodied, juicy and mouthcoating with flavors of blueberries, blackberries, black raspberries, plums, and only the faintest whisper of tannins on the finish. May need another month or so to really knit together, but we look forward to where this wine is heading. (2/2019) Cari Bernard
The 'Reflexion' series of wines are single-vineyard bottlings. These vineyards are historically significant to both the region and the Zillinger family. Their parcel of Sankt Laurent is from the Steinthal vineyard, first seen on record in 1520 as a vineyard established in a sandstone quarry. It is now considered a sub-site of the Kellerberg, and is home to vines planted around 100 years ago. Fermentation is in open vat, and maturation is for 18 months in large, used oak and acacia barrels from nearby Hohenruppersdorf forests. Elegant tannic structure comes through as strawberry seeds, plums and a deep spicy minerality make this a delightful choice to pair with a range of fare: think roasted pork, rich vegetarian gratins. Cari Bernard
Zweigelt grown on a mix of loam, loess, and sandstone, hand-harvested (as is true with all the vineyards), spontaneous fermentation in stainless followed by maturation in a mix of used oak and acacia barrels of varying sizes. Dark and brooding and not overtly fruity, subtle black plum, a stemmy texture and black pepper make for an enrapturing Zweigelt to pair with game, goulash, roasted wild mushrooms over polenta. Cari Bernard
If the 'Velue' wines are straightforward and true to variety, the 'Revolution' wines are more on the experimental side. I loved this when it was tasted, but was never able to write all the cellar info down. To paraphrase the importer: 'this release is 50% Chardonnay partially fermented (carbonic) in amphora followed by co-fermentation with Scheurebe, and blended with Riesling from a solera of vintages 2013-2015 aged in used wood, unfined, unfiltered with no sulfur added'. A touch of structure and texture from the skin contact is finely integrated with bright notes of nectarine, Fuji apple, quince, and zesty kumquat. Cari Bernard