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Big Hitters from Christian Tschida
This week we're all about Austria with the arrival of our biggest ever drop from Burgenland big hitter Christian Tschida as well as new delights from Schödl, Claus Preisinger, Kamptal Kollektiv, Joiseph and Markus Altenburger. Whether you're a long term Grüner guzzler or just getting to know the wealth of treasures Austria has to offer, Spring is the perfect time to explore this unique and varied Central European gem.
 
Christian Tschida

Christian Tschida is perhaps the most lauded Austrian producer of them all with 10 hectares of old vines on the banks of Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland that have been in his family for 4 generations. He grows mainly indigenous Austrian varieties that benefit from the cool lake air and the sandy gravel, schist and limestone soils the area is known for. These are captivating and ethereal wines with Christian renowned for low yields, painstaking selection and very delicate extractions that capture the essence of the grapes, all done without sulphur or other additions. We are delighted to have received 6 cuvées from Christian including a couple of older vintages that were held back a little longer in the cellar:

2019 Engel auf Erden Pink Maceration: A special single barrel batch of Himmel auf Erden that undergoes a short maceration before a gentle pressing and ageing in large, used Stockinger barrels on the lees until the following summer. A perfect balance between high acidity and fresh fruit flavour intensity. Black cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant.

2015 Himmel auf Erden Rod: A half-half blend of Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon from gravelly schist soils east of Lake Neusiedl. The grapes are fermented in open top tanks and then aged in large oak barrels for two years before bottling. A savoury yet lifted wine with fine texture and kaleidoscopic complexity.

2020 Himmel auf Erden Weiss: A blend of Muscat and Scheurebe fermented on skins for 2-4 weeks in oak foudre and then aged for a further 12 months in a mix of foudre and barrels. Exotic spice and sultana aromas from the Muscat at first with fresher citrus and stone fruit underneath. Supple and energetic on the palate with fine acidity and a touch of grip from the skin contact.

2020 Brutal: Very lightly extracted Pinot Noir from 40 year old vines. The grapes are handpicked, destemmed, and crushed by foot. The juice ferments in 2 large barrels with indigenous yeast, then ages for a further year before bottling without fining or filtering. Ethereal and beguiling with sweet red berry fruit and incense-like spice aromas balanced by fine acidity and a supple, silky texture.

2017 Non-Tradition White: One of Christian's top cuvées, this is Grüner Veltliner from a few small plots around the village of Purbach on the Western shores of Neusiedl. The close proximity to the forest combined with the high density of limestone make this a precise and taut expression of Grüner Veltliner with fresh blood orange, white pear, flinty mineral mouthfeel and an incredibly long and savoury finish.

2015 Non-Tradition Red: Cabernet Franc that spends 2 years ageing in large Stockinger barrels before being bottled without fining, filtration or sulphur. With another 4 years of bottle ageing this is now seriously complex with ripe red and black cherries giving way to fresh, savoury tobacco and juicy prunes with a salty tang on the finish.  

The Schödl Family

Mathias, Viktoria, and Leonhard Schödl are three young siblings making exceptional wine along biodynamic principles in Weinviertel, in the north-east of Austria, after stints variously in New Zealand, South Africa, New York and California. They are fond of their growing family of sheep whose grazing in the vines helps to keep the ground cover in check and hence allows them to farm in a no-till fashion for the most part which is followed up with a Laissez-faire approach in the cellar. These are wonderfully expressive and accomplished wines that belie the young age of the estate and it's proprietors.

Grün Grün Grüner: Grüner Veltliner that was gently crushed and spent 24 hours on skins before being transferred to various vessels for fermentation - 300L, 500L barrels, a clay amphora, acacia barrels and a concrete egg. A wonderfully open expression of Grüner with pure and vibrant fruit, classic white pepper, silky texture and great power.

Sankt Sankt Sankt Laurent: A soft and beguiling St. Laurent made from grapes grown in sandy loess. Fermented with 20% whole bunches, it's a fruity, intricately textured wine with pure red fruit and savoury, mineral complexity shining through.

More Authentic Austrian Wonders

Claus Preisinger’s winery is nestled in the village of Gols by lake Neusiedl in Burgenland. His first vintage was in 2000, and since then he has expanded his father’s 3 hectares to the 19 hectares of vines he cultivates today. He is deeply committed to working in harmony with nature, and has been certified biodynamic since 2009. 

Kalkstein is his exquisite Blaüfrankisch from a parcel growing in chalk and limestone (kalkstein). Lush notes of bramble and cranberry with hints of blueberry. Extremely versatile companion for any meal or on its own slightly chilled, this is a great example of the balance of purity and power Blaüfrankisch achieves in the right hands.

The Kamptal Kollektiv is a joint project between UK importers Newcomer Wines and Alwin and Stefanie Jurtschitsch of the eponymous Kamptal domaine, with a mission to support small growers by paying a fair price for their fruit and encouraging long-term vine health by helping in the conversion to organics. 

The Kamptal Kollektiv white is a blend of Grüner Veltliner and other varieties including Riesling, Muscat and Pinot Blanc bottled without fining or filtration. Textured pear and apple fruit with touches of white pepper and a floral quince note on the finish. This offers superb value at just £16.

Joiseph is a collaboration between viticulturists Richard Artner and Alex Kagl, and winemaker Luka Zeichmann. All of the vineyards are near or around the town of Jois, just north of lake Neusiedl in Burgenland - 'See' means Lake in German, so Jois-'see'-ph is sort of a play on words and represents a fictional character. 

Fogosch is made from Grüner Veltliner grapes that were fermented in two 600L used barrels with about 24 hours on skins then pressed off to age on the lees for 12 months. A unique expression of Austria's star white grape, briny and savoury with great interplay between fruit, flowers, minerality and spice.

Together with his wife Bernadette and cellar master Kathrin, Markus Altenburger has 13 hectares of vines in Jois, Burgenland at the northern most point of Lake Neusiedl. Viticulture has been organic since 2017 and the estate is now working towards biodynamic certification.

Joiser Reben is a delicious blend of hand-harvested Zweigelt, Blaüfrankisch and Merlot grown in clay and slate soils. Vinified with indigenous yeasts and aged for a year in old oak barrels, it's a quintessential Austrian red with velvet texture, ripe red berry and plum flavours and a fresh acidity to the finish.

Thanks for reading and we hope you manage to enjoy some fine weather this Spring. Check out our full range of Austrian wine on the website here including shop classics from Judith Beck, Arndorfer and Gut Oggau as well as top shelf Styrian wines from Sepp Muster and Werlitsch.