Illustration by Anna Vu (@goodwinecrapdrawing)

Volume 28: The Castle Edition

Andert Wein
2018
Personalgetraenk
Zweigelt, Welschriesling
Burgenland, Austria

How can you make a Zweigelt even more juicy and drinkable? By adding some white Welschriesling into the mix. And why do they call this “Personalgetraenk” (meaning “the beverage for the employees”)? Because in 2016, they had lots of frost damage, and because of this, they only had half a barrel of Pinot Gris, which was topped off with Zweigelt. As everybody working on the farm like it so much, it was mostly drunk by them, so they called it “Personalgetraenk.” Now they use Welschriesling instead of Pinot Gris and actually sell it. Lucky us! The white grapes spend 6 days on their skins and the Zweigelt 10 days. They are fermented and aged separately and then combined just before bottling. It delivers light cherry aromas and some herbal saltiness directly into your heart. With its proper acidity, this will balance out even some spicier Thai food.

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Schmelzers Weingut
2019
Dion Pet Nat
Welschriesling, Scheurebe
Burgenland, Austria

While Welschriesling is a well-known grape, Scheurebe or Sämling 88 - how it is called in Austria - spent most of its time in sweet wines as many believed it is inferior and too aromatic. I think it is just perfect for this Petillant Naturel. After the harvest, the grapes spent just hours on the skins, after which they are not pressed, but only the juice which naturally drips out of the grapes is used. This way, no bitterness from the seeds is getting into the must. Once the sugar is at the right level, it is bottled and finishes fermentation to create the bubbles. The result is a very yeasty ripe grapefruit juice with mild acidity. Drink it on the colder side with some savory starters or your favorite greasy fried food.

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Markus Altenburger
2018
Weiss Skin and Stones
Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Traminer, Neuburger, Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling
Burgenland, Austria

What a wine! It’s a field blend of almost all the white grapes Markus’ grows. The vines are between 3 and 45 years old, and most of them grow on limestone. After the harvest between the end of August and the beginning of September, half of them are destemmed and pressed after two days of maceration. The other half is fermented on the skins for two weeks, adding some excellent grip and color to the mix. They continue to ferment and age parts in oak and the other part in concrete eggs. After 17 months, it is ready to be bottled; with no filtration and a tiny bit of sulfur, off it goes. The extra year shows in every respect: more depth and complexity with notes of zesty citrus and nuts, it morphs into a silky and juicy food companion happy to support most dinner plans.

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