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Zweigelt and (starting with this vintage) Pinot Noir sourced from Jutta's plots in Gumpoldskirchen, located about a thirty-minute drive south from Vienna in the Thermenregion of Austria. Limestone soils and old vines upwards of 50 years in age make for an elegant and lifted rosé: high-toned with notes of wild green strawberries, kumquat zest, and lemon oil. Cari Bernard
100% Roter Veltliner planted in 1979 near the top of Gaisberg (Zöbing side). Known more for being a top site for growing Riesling than Roter Veltliner, Martin and Anna Arndorfer purchased this vineyard in 2010 (after being warned not to do so by relatives). The primary rock up there (300+ meters, south facing) is predominately Gfohler Gneiss along with Mica-Schist. Both 2012 and 2013 had very similar vinifications: few hours of maceration, aged in a mix of oak and stainless steel, with ten months on the lees and no fining. 2012 was the first vintage of this wine, boasting a beautiful, aromatic nose of brown butter and rich toffee with golden apple and citron. On the palate the wine has an opulent texture, rich and soft, with notes of candied citron, ginger, pear, yellow apple, and salted caramel. Cari Bernard
100% Roter Veltliner planted in 1979 near the top of Gaisberg (Zöbing side). Known more for being a top site for growing Riesling than Roter Veltliner, Martin and Anna Arndorfer purchased this vineyard in 2010 (after being warned not to do so by relatives). The primary rock up there (300+ meters, south facing) is predominately Gfohler Gneiss along with Mica-Schist. Both 2012 and 2013 had very similar vinifications: few hours of maceration, aged in a mix of oak and stainless steel, with ten months on the lees and no fining. We are very lucky to have two different vintages to choose from, ultimately showcasing the influence of the vintage. Reflecting some similar development on the nose as the 2012 (salted toffee/brown butter), there is also a brighter note of Seville orange zest, and the palate reveals a higher acidity, with tangy orange/lemon oil, and brighter vegetal tones alongside the pear and apple fruit. Not austere by any means, but the 2013 does come off as stonier and edgier than the 2012. Cari Bernard
Michael Gindl currently works ten hectares of Demeter certified vineyards in the Weinviertel, about 30 km northeast of Vienna. The Little Buteo is made from Grüner Veltliner grown on loam and loess soils on gently rolling hills outside of his home village of Hohenruppersdorf. The must spontaneously ferments in stainless steel with no temperature control, and ages for six months on the lees in stainless tanks. A small amount of sulfur was added at bottling. The wine is fresh and complex, with notes of pollen and white blossom on the nose; on the palate the wine is linear, savory, and bright, with tart lemon zest, green plum and apple, and a core of stony minerality. Cari Bernard
Eduard and Stephanie Tscheppe are making a 'family' of wines in Burgenland, Austria. Emmeram is 100% Gewurtztraminer grown biodynamically on a mix of limestone and sand. Grapes are hand harvested and ferment in large, used oak barrels. The élevage is also in used oak (500 L barrels), and like their other wines, there is no batonnage, no fining or filtration, and no added sulfur. This vintage of Emmeram finished fermenting with a touch of residual sugar, which lends a balance and textural richness to the piquant, young ginger and white pepper spice along with flavors of ripe pineapple and juicy pears. Cari Bernard
Biodynamic. Zweigelt. Eiswein. Under $40. Matthias Hager works 12.5 hectares of vines in the Kamptal (Demeter certified since 2010). The vines for the Eiswein are 25 years old on average, grown on a mix of clay and stone soils. The harvest for the 2013 vintage started one night in November and then a spike in warm weather that morning meant they would have to wait until ideal conditions returned in January. Frozen grapes go directly to press, the juice ferments with native yeasts, and ages for one year in neutral oak. More of a Weißherbst wine in color, a blanc de noirs! On the nose come the sharp notes of botrytis: saffron, marmalade candy, ripe mango with a piquant intensity. The palate has a distinctive broad texture and richness balanced by intense acidity bolstering the vibrant flavors of raspberry, honey, and citron with a whisper of graphite and flower stems. A unique eiswein to sip with assorted cheeses and fruit- or chocolate-based desserts. Cari Bernard
This is the first Gemischter Satz from Bernhard Ott: a field blend of Welshriesling, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc from newly acquired vineyard plots. Harvested together, carbonically macerated, and aged in stainless steel together, they form a chorus of vibrant, refreshing acidity, great tension and texture, with floral notes on both nose and palate, along with white cherry fruit, brisk minerality, and a touch of the savory. Cari Bernard
A blend of Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, and a touch of Merlot; the Biodynamically-grown grapes are harvested by hand and see only stainless steel, so although the wine is medium in body, it boasts an incredible freshness. The nose is rich with notes of cherries and plums, while the palate is bright with juicy blackberries, cassis, dark plums, smoke, red apple skin, and dark chocolate. Works well with or without a slight chill.
Claus Preisinger's first vintage was in in early 2000s, after stints working in California as well as with Hans and Anita Nittnaus in Burgenland, where his vineyards are also located. His 19 hectares of vineyards have been certified Biodynamic (Respekt) since 2008. The Kalkundkiesel white is a blend of approximately 50% Weißburgunder, 30% Grüner Veltliner, and 20% Chardonnay, from different vineyards grown on chalk/limestone (kalk) and pebbles (kiesel). The grapes can spend up to eight months on the skins, but for this vintage it was closer to four to six. The wine then spends 14 months in neutral, small barrels (a mix of French and Austrian oak), before being bottled with no added sulfur. Incredibly clean and soft, the palate has complexity, but not the tannic texture one often expects on a white wine with months of skin contact. Savory notes mix with yellow apple and peaches on the nose, the wine has rich flavors of saffron, yellow apple, and fresh green pear with a floral overtone. Cari Bernard
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; fans of refreshing Loire reds, take notice! A touch funky upon first opening, there are black raspberries and dark, ripe plums that take hold shortly thereafter. The palate is juicy with tart red plums, blackberries, green herbs, and delicate tannins on the finish. A delightful option to sip with sunny days in mind! Cari Bernard
Claus Preisinger makes a wide range of red wines, from the fresh and gluggable Puszta Libre! to the more modern and full-bodied style of his Heideboden and Pannoble wines. The Zweigelt Kieselstein runs close to the middle of the bunch: a wine enjoyable now, but with potential to age with elegance. 'Kieselstein' is in reference to the abundance of pebble stones found in the vineyards, where vine age is around 25 years on average. A touch tight on the nose, the palate opens up with notes of rich black plums, savory thyme, ripe blackberries, and a bright, balancing acidity. Cari Bernard
Pale, peachy-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, white stone, and lemon juice. A touch more linear than the 2015 vintage, brisk and bright! 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. 2015 is darker on the nose than 2013, with notes of cherry cola, black cherries, and red flowers. The palate is smooth and juicy with bright flavors of tart yet candied red cherries. A wonderful wine to have with a wide range of food! Cari Bernard
Made in the same method as the Grüner Veltliner, with 12 hours of maceration with the stems followed by spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel tank. White peach, black plum, and Valencia orange. Moderate viscosity but held in place with bright acids that enhance the terrific mineral detail. 6 g/liter residual sugar and 7 g/liter acidity. Extremely delicious example of the purity and balance that can be found in Austrian Riesling. Jonathan Kemp
The Stagard 2015 Handwerk is a wine that shows the serious side of Grüner at a great price point. The nose is fragrant with white and yellow florals, leading notes of yellow peaches and Cara Cara oranges with just a whiff of white pepper. The palate is vibrant with juicy orange and stone fruit giving way to white pepper and a strong mineral character. Full-bodied but balanced by bright acidity, it would pair well with herbed chicken, grilled shrimp, or a board of soft cheeses. Andy Paynter
Blauer Wildbacher is a indigenous grape of the Steiermark region of Austria. Naturally high in acid, the grape lends itself well to sparkling wines. Franz has 3.5 hectares of Blauer Wildbacher, farmed organically with biodynamic treatments with a goal of fostering healthy grapes as well as a bio-diverse vineyard. The grapes are hand-harvested and ferment in stainless steel followed by a second fermentation in the bottle. Antique rose gold with just a blush of dusty peach in the glass. Ruby red grapefruit and a touch of volatile acidity on the nose, the wine has less overt berry fruit this vintage, skewing more towards red plum, nectarine, apricot, grapefruit, cranberry and a tart acidity that reminds one of kombucha. Highly encouraged for the more adventurous set... Cari Bernard