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Southern Burgenland: Groszer Wein presents their new white wine from the Csaterberg.

A Rare Jewel

19.09.2016

Anybody who loves minerality in white wines will be thrilled with this cuvée. Groszer Wein has just released a new white, one that grows in a totally distinctive soil – and tastes like it as well!

Groszer Wein Flasche Glas Csarterberg 2016 © Groszer Wein

The Csaterberg

The idyllic Csaterberg is a southwest extension of the Eisenberg. The grapevines grow toward the top, on the south- and southwest slopes. The north and northwest sides are covered with coniferous woodlands – this provides natural protection against the cold north winds. Driving up onto the Csaterberg – regardless from which direction – one passes through the sheltering forest. The panorama is enchanting, when one sees the first vines and then the colourful little buildings that line themselves up into a Kellergasse, a cellar-lane.

Jewels in the vineyard soil

The soils of the Csaterberg are strewn with fresh water opals, certainly one of the more distinctive geologic features in the region Eisenberg DAC. The opal-laden strata lie directly upon crystalline subsoil (serpentinite), having developed with the contour formations of the emergent freshwater Pannonian lake (some 7–8 million years ago). The opals lie in fragments on the soil of the vineyard, ranging in size from splinters to large heavy stones.

To be exact, the Csaterberg consists of two hillsides, the Klein-Csater (lesser Csater) and the Hoch-Csater (upper Csater). Here Groszer Wein cultivates three hectares of vineyard, located on the southeast side of the Klein-Csaterberg. Two hectares belong to the Count Erdödy, whose vineyards on the Csaterberg were mentioned in written records as early as the sixteenth century. These vines – Welschriesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, whose grapes are vinified into a cuvée – are more than thirty years old. Only 3000 bottles of the Csaterberg Cuvée have been produced – precious and rare, jewels just like the Csaterberg itself.

How authentic white wines are made today:
‘Skin Contact’ and ’Wild Ferment’

In 2015 the vegetation cycle was a dry affair. The much-needed rain did not appear until the middle of August, but with it the clusters developed quite dramatically. At the same time, the nights grew rather cool, so that the grapes became fully ripe while developing enchanting aromatics. Thanks to the long dry spell, the level of acidity in 2015 is just a touch lower than usual.

After hand harvesting, Groszer Wein’s oenologist Markus Bach allowed the clusters to macerate for 24 hours, in order to allow the sublime aromatic material to pass from the grape skins into the wine. After pressing, the wine fermented with wild yeasts in 500 litre barrels and in stainless steel.

The multi-layered aromatic profile of this wine is fascinating – it tells a complex story: of three different grape varieties, the slate soil, the freshwater opals, the long dry spell and the cool autumn. On the palate the cuvée is very seductive: charmingly rounded but possessing a firm mineralic structure.

Oenologist Markus Bach speaks about his new wine with visible enthusiasm: ‘The white cuvée from the Csaterberg has a wonderfully luxuriant texture, and above all I love the minerality and the length of the wine. I find that the white wine goes wonderfully well with autumn mushrooms or hearty meat courses. But because of its prominent minerality, it also pairs particularly well with fine vegetable dishes.’

A trip to the Csaterberg

The Csaterberg is also a recommended destination for wine-travel in the autumn. The Kellerstöckl – old cellar buildings – available for rental are simply charming. And in the neighbourhood of the Csaterberg there is an ‘opal museum’ and a ‘literature-trail’ around the Csaterberg, which provide opportunities for pleasant outings. And one’s hunger for homemade dishes and regional specialties can best be addressed in one of the authentic local wine taverns (called Buschenschänken) – theirs hours of operation are listed in a dedicated calendar. The two-toque restaurant Csencits in the nearby village Kohfidisch offers marvellous, grand cuisine.

PICTURES (downloadable)