We first introduced you to Austrian wines last June, and we decided to bring them back around on the anniversary, as we find their light, crisp, fresh and fruity flavors to be a great intro back into summertime.
Our white wine comes from Vienna, one of the world’s only cities classified as its own wine growing region, home to many distinctive, tradition-rich bottlings. “Gemischter Satz”, which translates to “mixed planting”, has a long history in Austria, and the capital in particular. Thanks to the dynamic efforts of ambitious winegrowers, this rare, traditional method - of planting, harvesting and fermenting together different and complementary grape varieties - has grown in stature and recognition to become the calling card of viticulture in the city. The regulation for the Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC requires that at least three white quality wine varieties must be planted together in one vineyard listed in the Viennese vineyard register as Wiener Gemischter Satz. The highest portion of one grape variety must be no more than 50%; the third highest portion must be at least 10%. Wines without vineyard indication must be dry, without any prominent wood flavor, and have a minimum alcohol % of 12.5%. Single vineyard wines do not necessarily have to correspond with the “dry” taste indication. They cannot be released for sale prior to March 1st of the year following the harvest.
The winemaker, Zahel, owns 35 hectares of vineyards that are distributed throughout all of Vienna’s main growing zones. The varied terroir of each region ranges from flysch sandstone to loess to Dolomite chalk, and in concert with numerous micro-climates, provides a marvelous foundation for world class wines. In this unique sense, Vienna’s diverse terrain reflects the multi-faceted nature of the city itself.
An autochthonous Austrian variety, Zweigelt, is cultivated throughout the country. With over 4000 hectares under vine, it is the most planted red grape in Austria and produces its most popular red wines. Professor Fritz Zweigelt created the varietal in the 1920’s, by crossing its so-called "parent varieties" - St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. An apparently modest person, he originally called it Rotberger, which caused some confusion, as a different distinct variety (see Rotberger) had been synthesized around the same time in Geisenheim, Germany. Eventually, the name was changed to Zweigelt by influential Austrian winemaker Franz Moser in the 1970’s. Generally, the St. Laurent imparts robustness and bright cherry aromas to the wine, while Blaufränkisch brings irresistible color, spiciness, and acidity.
Our Zweigelt comes from Thermenregion in the eastern part of the country and the location of Austria’s oldest winery, founded in 1141 by the Cistercians of Heiligenkreuz Abbey. The relatively warm, dry conditions in the region are perfect for the production of light red wines like the Zweigelt. Landauer-Gispberg respectfully works with nature, and their wines are organic, hand-crafted individuals with character and soul. You will find fruit, finesse and elegance, but also a lot of love, which is what they stand for.
Zahel Gemischter Satz 2022
Region / Country of Origin:
About the winemaker: Alex Zahel is the 4th generation leader of Zahel, having been passed the torch by his uncle Richard. Since taking the lead, he’s proud to continue the tradition of ushering Vienna’s most charming wines from the vineyards to the bottle. Alex’s wife Hilary works alongside her husband at the winery, supporting the team with strategic and creative projects. Together, this small yet mighty team ensures that the family business will continue to grow.
About the Winemaking: Two components of Alex Zahel’s signature style are long skin contact and fermentation with only naturally occurring yeasts. Both practices expand and improve the structure and individuality of the wine. With years of experience under his belt, Alex knows where to intervene and where to simply let nature shine.
Hand harvest, 100% de-stemmed. 6 hours in the press. Spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel tanks, then aged 3-6 months in stainless steel tanks. Field blend of Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer.
Tasting Notes: Light straw yellow color; fresh apricot and peach on the palette with notes of pineapple; well-integrated acidity with a refreshing finish.
Winemaker: Alex Zahel
Price: $25.99 bottle/$290 case
Suggested Food Pairing:
Perfect with classic Wiener Schnitzel, Backhendl or as a refreshing counterpoint to other fried dishes, like chicken katsu or good ‘ole KFC
Landauer-Gisperg Zweigelt 2020
Region / Country of Origin: Tattendorf/Thermenregion, Austria
About the Winery: Johanna, Franz & Stefan Landauer and Havas, their greyhound, are at home in the heart of Austria, 25 km south of Vienna. They have been working purely biologically for over 16 years. In harmony with nature, they concentrate on the essentials to bring the highest possible quality to the bottle.
The climate shapes the wine style as well as the barren, gravelly soil. Fully ripe grapes, which are a guarantee for the best wines, bring low yields. This line of quality continues into the cask and then into the bottle.
About the winemaking: The Zweigelt is on their 30 hectares of vineyards. Zweigelt is the most planted red grape in Austria due to its heartiness, early ripening, and great yield. The name “Selektion'' speaks for itself; ideal harvest time, selection of grapes and barrels guarantee pure drinking enjoyment. Hand harvested, hand sorted, and aged in small second/third filled barrels for 12 months.
Tasting Notes: Distinctive fruit in both the nose and palate, bright, smooth, juicy and appetizing. On the nose it forms a seductive mixture of dark berries. Deep ruby red garnet, velvety and harmonious on the palate; very fruity with fine tannins. This is the perfect everyday wine that is so easy to drink. Chill it and enjoy it as an alternative to rosé.
Winemaker: Stefan Landauer
Price: $24.99 bottle/$286 case
Suggested Food Pairing:
Cold dishes such as salads, light fish and poultry dishes. Pasta, pizza, and light cheeses also harmonize with it perfectly. When Zweigelt has matured in a small barrel and is therefore heavier, it is also an ideal accompaniment to roast and game dishes
Photo credit: © landauer-gisperg