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“The stage was set for a winemaking revolution. It began with the move away from new oak for ageing and towards lower alcohol levels (12.5% is now typical and 12% quite common for regular Eisenberg DAC wines) pioneered by the then almost absurdly young Christoph Wachter of the Wachter-Wiesler winery in Deutsch Schützen. For him, this was all about letting the floral (violets and lilac), black fruit (elderberry and sour cherry) and spicy aromas (black pepper and clove) from the grape shine, and allowing the dry tannins and bright acidity of the grape to speak clearly rather than being smothered by flavors extracted from new oak barrels.” —Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com
“(Christoph) has kick-started this estate and put it squarely on the map in a very short period of time.” —Joel B Payne, September 2015, Vinous
Christoph Wachter began working at his family winery in 2008 when he was just 20 years old. He took over full responsibility in 2010. Since his start, Christoph has received accolades for his wines from the most well-respected wine writers in Austria, Europe and now the United States. Christoph was named 2014 “Newcomer of the Year” by der Feinschmecker, the most important wine magazine in the German language.
Christoph has 14 hectares of vineyards in Südburgenland, in the towns of Eisenberg and Deutsch Schützen. Südburgenland has 500 hectares total and the biggest difference between Burgenland and Südburgenland is the soil. In Mittelburgenland (where Moric is located), the area was under the ancient Pannonian sea and the soil is mostly limestone. In Südburgenland, the vines grow in primary rock, and the most prized terroir is the green schist of the Eisenberg hill. The Eisenberg DAC was extended to include wines from the surrounding villages, including Deutsch-Schutzen.
Deutsch-Schutzen has iron rich loam and the Eisenberg hill has green schist with iron. Eisenberg is regarded as one of the finest sites for producing Blaufränkisch in Austria, producing wines of great finesse and focus. Deutsch Schützen’s soils, while similar, are denser with a deeper layer of loam, resulting in darker spicier wines with softer tannins. Südburgenland is cooler than Mittelburgenland and there are
rolling hillsides, small mountains really, called the pre-Alps. The hills are topped with forest and this regulates the temperature, another aspect of the micro-climate of Südburgenland; harvest here tends to start two weeks after Mittelburgenland.
When Christoph started in 2010, he stopped using herbicides and pesticides entirely. Today, Christoph is one of only three producers in Südburgenland who is farming organically. He allows the weeds to grow in his vineyards, as they attract beneficial insects and eventually return to the soil as nutrients themselves. Rather than add fertilizer, he leaves the vines to extract what they need from the soil itself, thus instilling the wines with minerality and allowing them to express their unique terroir.
In the cellar they only employ native yeasts, using upwards of 20-30% whole-cluster, and age in large barrels that allow the wines to mature gracefully without obscuring them with oak flavors. The resulting wines are incredibly elegant, expressive, superlative expressions of Blaufränkisch that should age well, though they are drinking well right now. We are excited by the Wachter-Wiesler wines with each new vintage release. The 2015’s are very flattering with a noteworthy ripeness and power. They have supple tannins and structure. The Wachter-Wiesler wines always have a characteristic silky texture, floral aromatics and elegance: truly Blaufrankisch at its finest.