The wine rests in the glass, deep red in colour. A bewitching aroma rises to the nose. Already with the first sip one perceives its cool berry aromas; spicy herbal notes become apparent. That is a picturebook Eisenberg Blaufränkisch, all right… this is the new Blaufränkisch Vom Riegl 2012, which the estate Groszer Wein is now releasing to the market for the first time.
‘Riegl’ – the Tip of the Eisenberg
The structure and elegance of this new wine did not happen by chance. The grapes come from steep slopes on the upper reaches of the Eisenberg – this elevation that rises like the arched back of some mythical primordial beast in the undulating landscape of Südburgenland. Up at the top of the hill, hikers have a magnificent view out over the countryside; because of its shape, local residents call the summit of the rise simply the ‘Riegl.’
Winegrowers in the region like the steeply falling west-, south- and southwest-facing slopes of the Eisenberg, because here is where they’ve found the best vineyard sites for producing the legendary Blaufränkisch wines – which all wine lovers are quick to connect with the name ‘Eisenberg.’ The relatively new winery Groszer Wein is fortunate to cultivate a few of the very best parcels here on the hillside – these ‘filet-pieces’ of the slope provide the grapes for their new wine, one that ideally unites all of the Eisenberg’s memorable characteristics – for which reason they’ve christened it after the massif itself. As the estate’s calling card, Blaufränkisch Vom Riegl figuratively represents the sum total of all the various vineyards and characteristics to be found on the heights of the Eisenberg.
The Wine in Detail
- Winemakers Markus Bach and Matthias Krön cherish the ambition of putting the essential character of Südburgenland into the bottle.
- The Eisenberg’s most difficult-to-cultivate vineyards are found up on the Riegl.
- For the 2012 vintage, these two wine-enthusiasts chose the best grapes from the slate-rich southerly-exposed vineyard site ‘Hummergraben,’ as well as the uppermost parcel (also a slate-dominated soil), the ‘Kroatische Ried.’
- The vines in these sites are between twenty and thirty years old.
And the year 2012 could not have provided better weather – simply ideal for the region: hot and dry during the summer, followed by a long and lovely autumn. This gave the grapes plenty of time to ripen and to soak up the minerality that makes these wines so distinctive. Sensitive vinification enabled Markus Bach to highlight these characteristics even more vividly. The wine macerated for three weeks, in order to get all possible mineral finesse out of the skins. Fermentation then ensued, exclusively and spontaneously with native yeasts. After this the wine rested in large casks, and was not bottled until two years later – unfiltered – in September 2014.
In the coming years, Blaufränkisch Vom Riegel will be vinified from several outstanding parcels on the Eisenberg – grapes might come from the vineyards Szapary, Königsberg or Saybritz, which are customarily bottled as single vineyard wines. Cellarmaster Markus Bach tells us: ‘We want to be totally flexible with the choice of material, to decide according to each individual vintage which grapes belong as part of the Riegl and which do not.’
Blaufränkisch Vom Riegl, 19,95 € inclusive VAT.