I’m going to jump around a bit in terms of Austria storytelling to ensure I cover the best bits. There are always grand plans of multi series posts. But I know myself, and chances are something fun is going to come up next week and I’m going to forget all about the post I wanted to write on the potential of Xarel-lo to elevate Cava in consumer’s minds.
Day 5 of Master of Wine seminars in Rust, Austria, was the first day we were getting out of the Weinakademie Osterreich. The 41 of us, from across the world, hopped into a bus, and off we went to Gol.
To give some perspective, Rust is to the extreme east of Austria. In fact, the hotel was a mere 4km from the Hungary border. I had illusions of running to the border and back, but that proved more difficult and timely than I thought, so ran among the local sheep instead. Anyway…
We arrived [somewhere] and were given a rundown about Pannobile and the wild Liana vine. In 1992 a group of 9 wineries got together to form Pannobile (Pannonia + Nobile). The sentiment is the same, “hands off,” but the bottles labeled Pannobile all unique expressions of their fine terroir.
One bottling per winery per year only, which is then subjected to a critical tasting of all members before it can emblazon its label with this designation.
The Liana vine wants to be free and wild. She has apical dominance, driving her to stretch and grow as long as the sun, air, and soil allow her. It is our (I include myself in the loosest sense) job to impede the recklessness of this surly vine through pruning.
We broke off into groups of 4 + winemaker to get in on the action. Very luckily, I got in with Claus Preisinger, of Preisinger winery and pictured above, John Hoskins MW, Amanda, and Elena.
The native vines are all spur pruned as they won’t fruit when cordon pruned. Interesting, no? He likes to leave 2 spurs on last years cane, one to grow and one just in case, and nibs all of the other buds off so they won’t grow. This is absolutely one of those things that is zero fun to read about, but fascinating to watch in person. Pruning lesson over, and into the cellar we went, because, damn, Austria is cold!
80% red, 20% white -> 100% skin fermentations (since 2009).
Whole bunch fermentation-> less acidity then direct press a result of the inclusion of stems which are rich in potassium.
Interestingly, I was listening to a GuildSomm podcast on the way to work today which said exactly the opposite with whole bunch pressing (pre-fermentation). Even though the stems are in contact with the juice, they act as a great buffer to let the best of juice flow out of the press.
The best bit was heading up to the tasting room for a cheeky glass of 2015 Gruner Veltliner (5 months amphora & totally delicious) and 2015 Kalkundkiesel (Pinot Blanc, Gruner, Muscat, Welshriesling- cool points). Basically these are really exceptional, funky, and totally fun wines that you would be doing yourself a great service by getting to know.
The view from the new, very modern, very clean Preisinger cellar.
We all met up again for a wider tasting of the Pannobile wines and lunch. Austrians are big on their cured meats…
Absolutely incredibly grainy and dense breads….
…and near the Niesiedlersee, fishy soups.
This is modern Austria.
Next stop was over to the National Park for a video, a talk, and….