Site & Soil
We cultivate ten hectares of Blaufränkisch on the south-facing slope of the Spitzerberg. It is a very special place with extremely poor soils of limestone, where the annual rainfall does not usually exceed 300 to 500mm. The sandy limestone soils have little capacity for retaining the water, which very often comes in the form of heavy thunderstorms during the month of June. In summer the Spitzerberg very often represents the heat peak of Austria’s continental climate, suffering 35°C and higher for weeks.
The ten hectares of Blaufränkisch are divided among more than twenty parcels of different ages, with slightly different exposition. We try to pick, vinify and mature them separately in order to observe their evolution. Every year the finest and most expressive (yet not the most massive) wines are made from the oldest vines, which are between 40–60 years old. We select and blend those finest wines and call it SPITZERBERG, while the wines from younger vines are bottled as SAMT & SEIDE.
Harvest & Vinification
During the warm summer the Blaufränkisch vines just ‘shut themselves down’, and the grapes stop maturing until the first humid autumn mornings provide some nutrition. These very challenging natural conditions result in wines marked by aromas and fruit characteristics which are unique: charming aromas of red berries, violets and a spicy touch of what we tend to describe as cumin. Blaufränkisch is always characterised by a rather pronounced acidity, which also guarantees a slow evolution in the bottle and a very long life.
We don’t use sulphur on the grapes; we don’t use selected yeasts and we don’t use pumps or any other mechanical tools during maceration. A portion of the harvest is trodden by foot, while the rest is fermented in open vats, the same way as one hundred years ago. We don’t cool or heat up the must and we make only one very gentle soutirage during two years of maturation in the barrels. In many years we even bottle the Spitzerberg without filtration.
2015 was an extremely dry and hot summer. The challenge was to conserve precise fruit, refreshing acidity and the typical agile grace that is customarily provided by limestone. We selected very severely, removing every single overripe berry. The result is a very concentrated, compact wine, but still nicely balanced by an elegant minerality, with fresh aromas of red fruits, silky tannins and a very precise acidity.
2,500 bottles + 100 magnums
“Highly aromatic notions of cinnamon-dusted blueberry and plum rise from the glass. The richness of that scent is countered by ample freshness on the palate, which gives clean delineation to the fruit flavors and precision to the body. Right now, this is taut but flavors run deep. There seems to be a floral core of peony and berry that still needs to unfold—elegance and depth are to come. Drink 2022–2035.” – Anne Krebiehl MW, Wine Enthusiast
“The 2015 Spitzerberg is terribly deep, pure, fresh and concentrated as well as characterful on the nose, where black tea and dark cherry aromas are displayed but also floral aromas. On the palate this is enormously silky, juicy, deep and fresh, with perfectly ripe tannins, good freshness and breathtaking energy. This is the richest and most complex Spitzerberg I have ever tasted. This is such a juicy, silky, fresh and refined Blaufränkisch that cannot compete with any wine of the world because it's in a category of its own. It's a Spitzerberg.” – Stephan Reinhardt, Robert Parker
“What a nose! Combines ripeness and freshness, as well as cool and warm notes beautifully. Stunning concentration and silky tannins on the palate. The finish shows breathtaking vitality. Still tightly wound. This will be better from 2020 and has great aging potential.” – James Suckling
James Suckling: 96 points, Wine Enthusiast: 95 points (Cellar Selection), Robert Parker: 95 points, Falstaff: 95 points, A la Carte: 95 points