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Wine spectator awards historic top marks

Best Red Wine: Spitzerberg

21.10.2020

Internationally renowned wine journal Wine Spectator pays homage to Blaufränkisch in its latest issue (15 October 2020). No Austrian red wine has ever earned as high a score as the 2017 Ried Spitzerberg Erste Lage from Dorli Muhr.

Dorli Muhr ist überzeugt, dass Österreich als Rotweinland Furore machen kann. ©Anna Stöcher
Dorli Muhr ist überzeugt, dass Österreich als Rotweinland Furore machen kann. ©Anna Stöcher

“If you haven’t explored the distinctive reds of Austria yet, now is the time to start,” Aleksandar Zecevic writes in his extensive article on the subject. These reds, he explains, have long stood in the shadow of the nation’s white wines, although of late they have successfully drawn a greater share of attention to themselves. He recounts the history of Blaufränkisch — conveyed to him in a conversation with Roland Velich (Weingut Moric, Mittelburgenland) — on its path from the most important red wine variety in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire to a decline in the 1980s to a Renaissance in the past two decades.

Zecevic tasted and scored Blaufränkisch wines from each of Austria’s red wine regions, underscoring his enthusiasm with a 94 point rating, the highest score ever achieved by an Austrian red in the 44-year history of Wine Spectator.

Weingut Dorli Muhr, Prellenkirchen, Weinbaugebiet Carnuntum, NÖ (Austria)

Created from 45 to 60 year old vines on the Spitzerberg in Carnuntum (Lower Austria), Ried Spitzerberg Erste Lage 2017 from Weingut Dorli Muhr was awarded a score unparalleled by any other Blaufränkisch wine from Burgenland.
“This wine dances elegantly on the palate, showing good concentration and incredible complexity. The nose starts with seductive aromas of hibiscus tea and rose, and leads to a deep well of cherry, cassis and licorice notes.”

Gleich dahinter, auf Platz zwei mit 93 Punkten folgte ein weiterer Wein von Dorli Muhr. Samt&Seide bezeichnet sie ihren Ortswein Prellenkirchen. Ein Blaufränkisch, der von zwischen 10 und 30 Jahre alten Reben hergestellt wird und ebenfalls auf den kargen Kalkböden des Spitzerbergs wächst:
„Verführerischer Ausdruck mit samtiger Textur“, schreibt Zecevic. „Der Gaumen zeigt unglaubliche Präzision, mit Aromen von Maulbeeren, Johannisbeeren und Rosen. Sehr elegant“

Weingut Dorli Muhr, Prellenkirchen, Weinbaugebiet Carnuntum, NÖ (Austria)

Claiming second place with 93 points was the Ortswein Samt&Seide (‘Velvet & Silk’), also from Dorli Muhr. This Blaufränkisch from Prellenkirchen grows on the spare chalky soils of the Spitzerberg as well and is produced from 10-30 year old vines.
“A seductive expression, with a velvety texture,” Zecevic writes. “The palate shows great purity, with favors of mulberry, currant and rose tea. Very elegant.”

For three decades, Dorli Muhr has led Wine&Partners, an internationally renowned PR agency. She also founded her own wine estate in 2002, starting with a 0.17 hectare parcel that her grandmother received as a wedding gift in 1918. Piece by piece, Dorli Muhr has acquired sites on the Spitzerberg with notably old Blaufränkisch vines. She transitioned her vineyards to organic and introduced a new, extra-gentle vinification method to encourage the finest, most elegant properties of the Blaufränkisch variety. In 2019, the Spitzerberg received its Erste Lage classification by the Österreichische Traditionsweingüter. www.traditionsweingueter.at

Spitzerberg is a chalky formation at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, dry and extremely exposed to the wind. Sparse conditions here have given rise to an exceptional range of flora and fauna throughout the vineyard. While the upper section of the hill is designated as a nature preserve, the middle slope features a connected, pearl-like string of outstanding sites. www.dorlimuhr.at