First-ever perfect score for an Austrian red wine
20/20 points from René Gabriel for Uwe Schiefer
Uwe Schiefer provides the proof – wines from the Eisenberg are made to be enjoyed mature. ‘Considering its complexity & sheer presence, this is the very best mature Blaufränkisch I have ever had in a glass’, writes veteran Swiss taster, author and renowned wine expert René Gabriel at www.weingabriel.ch, commenting on Uwe Schiefer’s Blaufränkisch Reihburg 2011. A wine taster of great experience, he recognised the great potential of the barrel sample he tried many years ago and, with foresight, put a few bottles away in his private cellar. In June 2020, Gabriel opened the first bottle and spent a great deal of time with it, coming ultimately to evaluate the wine as the very first Austrian red wine to receive the maximum score of twenty points.
Uwe Schiefer, the master of the Eisenberg © Steve Haider
About the Ried Reihburg
This is the very heart of the Eisenberg. At first glance, the vineyard appears unspectacular. It is oriented to the southwest, the soil is not particularly barren (argillaceous, iron-rich loam with some slate content & a bit of quartz in the subsoil) and the hill is not particularly steep – but that was exactly what brought good luck to the site. The vines survived mechanisation in the 1950s – and this is why there are Blaufränkisch vines there today with the venerable age of more than eighty (!) years. The particular Blaufränkisch clone is also special – it delivers extremely loose clusters with small berries and thick skins.
Cult-wine status for Ried Reihbur Blaufränkisch from Uwe Schiefer © Andreas Durst
Winegrower Uwe Schiefer regards ‘time’ as the essential factor in creating his characterful wines. ‘The old vines are probably the main reason for the greatness of our Blaufränkisch Reihburg’, says the grower, and continues: ‘Even in so-called “lesser vintages”, when conditions are anything but ideal, the old vines provide grapes with substantial tannin and great depth of flavour. Younger vines from the same vineyard simply cannot produce that’. Time also plays an important role in vinification – the wine remains in 600 litre or 1,200 litre wooden casks for three years before it is bottled; vintages 2017, 2018 & 2019 are currently in the cellar. For Uwe Schiefer, the 2017 vintage is an even finer representative of the vineyard site than the 2011. It will be bottled in November and will be available from the estate for €58. But the entire supply of this wine is already almost entirely under reservation. If you inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org, the estate will be happy to let you know the names of merchants receiving the wine in November 2020. And then you should allow the wine to age in the bottle for another ten years! The finesse of the Ried Reihburg – but also of Blaufränkisch from the Eisenberg in general – only comes to fruition with age. And as the 2011 abundantly demonstrates – it’s well worth the wait!
The Eisenberg and its master
The vines, mostly Blaufränkisch, are rooted in slate on the Eisenberg in Südburgenland, in some places covered by a thin layer of loam. The forest, at the top of the south or southwest facing vineyards, ensures constant cooling of the grapes. The sensitive interplay of these influences leads to wines with a pronounced acidic structure and prominent minerality – components that make the wine appear harsh to some tasters in the first few years. But with patience – ideally ten years or more – acidity & minerality transform themselves into freshness & grace, giving the wine a vivacious character, while the tannins of Blaufränkisch evolve into pure elegance.
Avant-garde winegrower Uwe Schiefer is undoubtedly the master of the Eisenberg. The highly trained sommelier and native of Südburgenland recognised the potential of the Eisenberg early on. Driven by the desire to bring the true character its vineyard sites precisely into the bottle, he founded his own wine estate in 1994. Since then he has followed his philosophy without compromise and has given the wines from the Eisenberg the time they need, and is considered a pioneer for the style of the entire winegrowing region. Today, due to their exceptional elegance & precision, Schiefer’s wines enjoy a worldwide following among wine experts and oenophiles.
Schiefer & Domaines Kilger
Uwe Schiefer has been working with Hans Kilger since 2017, an entrepreneur who has founded a group of agricultural enterprises. One of them is Schiefer & Domaines Kilger. The partnership-based collaboration enables Uwe Schiefer to meet the demands for time made by his individual wines with even greater consistency.
Austrian Single Vineyard Summit
At the Austrian Single Vineyard Summit, Uwe Schiefer will present his current single vineyard wines on 31 August 2020.
About Uwe Schiefer:
Südburgenland native Uwe Schiefer is known far beyond the borders of Austria as one of the nation’s finest red wine producers. With his distinctive Blaufränkisch wines from the Eisenberg, he has been the region’s pathfinder. His Blaufränkisch – as well as more recently his white wines – figure worldwide among the most sought-after wines of Austria.