Grüner Veltliner will always be a favourite from Austria, but the country also produces delicious Pinot Noir, Gelber Muskateller, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Sauvignon Blancs and blends that you’re going to want on your shelf.
Meinklang uses the highest form of agriculture and this is one that preserves itself fruitfully and thus becomes independent. Embedded in a steppe landscape, Pamhagen lies on a geological line at the lowest point of Austria. These are placed on one side of the village are scanty soils, which were formerly used as pasture land and are well suited for viticulture.
In the vineyards, among protected natural ponds, precious cover crops and wild herbs grow around their vines: sweet-clover, red clover and wild grasses provide a habitat for soil organisms and beneficial organisms. The deep roots loosen the ground, forming the basis for healthy vines. At the same time, cover crops act as a natural competitor for the vines – gentle and deliberate competition is good for the development of aromas and phenols in the grapes.
They fertilise their vineyards with the compost that they produce themselves, using sheep, cow and horse manure, pomace, green waste and occasionally also rock dust. Robust and healthy vines can only grow in soil which is alive, producing completely individual wines full of character.
The Meinklang Pinot Noir is Juicy, vivid black cherry fruit appears on the nose of this wine, with a touch of tar and brooding elderberry. The palate brims with those appetizing flavours and adds an edge of liquorice to the fruit. It’s fresh and vibrant, with a fine, taut, gossamer structure. A delicious Pinot Noir that’s as elegant as it is refreshing and honest.
The Meinklang Frizzante Prosa is a brilliant Austrian sparkling rosé with alluring summer berry flavours. Great by itself or well chilled with grilled salmon fillet and new potatoes. Sealed with a crown cap, and has been awarded Wine of the Week by the Independent!!
Gut Oggau estate in Burgenland
The wines here are, quite literally, are a family. Each bottle’s label features a line-drawn black and white portrait of a fictional family member, of one of three generations, and the back label explains their imagined personality. So, for example, we learn that Mechthild (a white wine… and the grandmother) is “the ‘kind-hearted grandmother’ of nostalgia that one trusts, but she can be secretive and polarise opinion”. We also learn that Atanasius (a red wine, a grandchild and “an attractive young man”) is “exceptionally popular” but that he “still retains some hidden qualities, which make him even more interesting”. Emmeram (a Gerwürztraminer), incidentally, is convinced that the daughter of Wiltrude (a daughter-in-law and sweet white), Theodora (white), is actually his.
The 14-hectare estate, in the small Burgenland town of Oggau (thought to be the first place in Austria to grow red grapes), is run by Eduard Tscheppe and Stephanie Eselböck-Tscheppe. They discovered the 17th-century winery in 2007 and painstakingly restored it, including its 200-year-old winepress. The estate is Demeter classified (Biodynamic). Each wine is a blend of various varieties of indigenous grapes, including Bläufrankish, Zweigelt, Gruner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Gewürtzraminer. Each wine, therefore, has quite a distinctive personality – so much so that the winemakers decided literally to make them into “people”, with the aid of German artist, Jung von Matt (whose dedication to the task extends even to slightly ageing the portraits each vintage).
As I have recently found out, Austria has held many secrets from me. Kamptal gets its name from the river Kamp that flows directly through it and is home to Austria’s largest wine producing town, Langenlois. With an area of 3,907 hectares under vines, Kamptal is one of the most successful wine regions in Austria and boasts a great number of outstanding producers of top quality wines.
If you’d just like to stick to Gruner – then the wines of Andorfer from Kamptal are the perfect example!
These wines from Austria respect the grape variety, terroir and tradition of Kamptal. Martin Arndorfer is a master blender, using multiple formats from steel tanks and stainless barriques to small oak, demi-muids and oval barrels. M & A Arndorfer came together after both Anna and Martin moved into a house together and now manage 16 ha in total. Not only did they unite their living spaces, but also their relationship, ideas, passion and knowledge for winemaking.
The Arndorfer watchword is an origin – “Origin for us though is restricted to the vineyard and the vines. The vines soak up the vigour of the soil and their surroundings and give the grapes their unmistakable character based on their origin. Even though we do not feel bound by tradition, we want to emphasise that the influence of the vineyard is crucial to our philosophy. We are convinced that it is impossible to make two wines exactly the same if the grapes come from different vineyards, regions or countries.”
Arndorfer Riesling, Handcrafted, 2017 is only £17.00 and is exceptional Grüner that’s fermented on its own yeasts and aged in a variety of formats including stainless and wood. Slightly cloudy colour with a good concentrate of yellow plum and greengage with some spicy- leesy grip at the end of the buttery palate.