Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wine and Food from Burgenland at Wachter-Wieslers Ratschen, Deutsch-Schuetzen, Austria - with Tom and Christoph Wachter and Julia Sevenich

Pictures: Tom Wachter and Julia Sevenich During a Wine Lunch at Wachter Wieslers Ratschen in Deutsch-Schuetzen, Suedburgenland

With my fellow EWBC 2010 wine bloggers, I was invited to the Wachter Wieslers Ratchen in Deutsch-Schuetzen in Suedburgenland for a wine lunch, to be introduced to the wines and the food of Suedburgenland. Wine Journalist Julia Sevenich and Co-Owner and Sommelier Tom Wachter led us through the wine lunch. Christoph Wachter from Weingut Wachter Wiesler also contributed.

Suedburgenland and its Wines

Already during the bus drive from Vienna to Burgenland, the American-borne wine journalist Julia Sevenich, who now lives in Austria, introduces us to the region: With 14.500 hectares of vineyard land, Burgenland encompasses four sub regions: Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl), Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, and Middle and South Burgenland. The spectrum of Burgenland wine ranges from great white wines and full bodied red wines to an array of noble sweet wines. The shallow Neusiedler See (Lake Neusiedl) is one of the few places on earth where noble rot attacks grapes reliably every year. At the same time, there has been a red wine revolution in Austria during the last 20 years and increasingly Austria’ top red wines tend to come from the Burgenland.

Picture: The Wine Regions of Austria

With 500 hectares of vineyards, the Südburgenland is the smallest sub area of the Burgenland – and one of the smallest in Austria. Südburgenland is bordered in the east by Hungary and Slovenia, and in the west by the Austrian states of Steiermark and Niederösterreich. “Suedburgenland is probably the most unspoilt wine landscape of Burgenland” Julia said. Eisenberg, which has significant historical importance, and the Weinberg of Deutsch-Schuetzen together form the region’s winegrowing center. Authentic red wines are produced here, predominantly from Blaufränkisch, that display subtle mineral spicy notes. Approximately 150 hectares of Blaufraenkische are planted in Suedburgenland. Crisp and fruity white wines from the Welschriesling and Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) varieties are produced along the towns of Rechnitz in the north and Moschendorf in the south.

The majority of winemakers are hobby winemakers, or supplement their income with another job. The average grower here has only a half a hectare of vineyards. There are only a hand-full of full-time winemakers. Only one Weingut has more than 20 hectares. Much of the wine is sold through the local Buschenschank wine taverns.

Winemakers Krutzler and Schiefer were the first to achieve national and international recognition and lend inspiration to others in the area. Reinhold Krutzler founded the Deutsch Schützen Sixpack with five other vintners from his wine village dedicated to exploring the region’s terroir and making the best single-vineyard wines possible. “There was a time when international varieties were gaining in popularity in the region, but luckily as the young vintners came back from abroad, they realized that we had something very special here. With Blaufränkisch, we have an indigenous grape variety that is well adapted to our soils and climate and is capable of expressing our unique terroir” says Christoph Wachter.

Eisenberg DAC

The region-typical Blaufränkisch has been authorised to carry the Eisenberg DAC Klassik designation from the 2009 vintage and the Eisenberg DAC Reserve effective from the 2008 vintage.

Klassik: Submission of the wine to the Prüfnummer tasting commission from 1 June in the year following the harvest, and available to the consumer from 1 September in the year following the harvest; Reserve: Submission of the wine to the Prüfnummer tasting commission from 1 January in the second year following the harvest, and available to the consumer from 1 March in the second year following the harvest.

Picture: Christoph Wachter from Weingut Wachter Wiesler (left) and Stephan Oberpfalzer from STEPHANO DAS-WEIN-GUT (right)

Alcohol levels by vol: Klassik: min. 12.5 Vol % and max. 13 Vol %; Reserve: min. 13 Vol %.

Taste profile: Klassik: fruit-driven aromas, mineral and spicy aromas, little or no notable use of oak; Reserve: fruity, mineral and spicy notes, full-bodied, aged in big oak casks or small barrels.

Weingut Wachter Wiesler

Weingut Wachter Wiesler in Deutsch-Schuetzen is one of the leading winemakers in Suedbrugenland. The two Weingueter of the Wachter and Wiesler families were amalgamated in 1999 through a marriage. The Wiesler and Wachter families have both a long wine growing tradition. Both wineries always had focused on the classic Blaufränkisch. But they vinified other grape varieties as well, such as Welschriesling, Weissburgunder and, later, Cabernet and Merlot.

The vineyard area totals 9 hectares today, with holdings in top-rated sites in Deutsch-Schützen and Eisenberg. 95% of the area is planted with the red varieties Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the remainder is planted with Welschriesling. In addition, grapes are bought in from an additional 2 hectares of vineyards. The flagship product is the Cuvée Julia, a blend of Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged in barriques for 16 months.

Today, Christoph Wachter runs the Weingut, supported by his father, Franz, and his mother, Theresia.

Wachter Wieslers Ratschen

The Wachter Wieslers Ratschen is arguably the most popular restaurant in the region. It is run by Gerda Wiesler (nee Wachter) and her brother, Tom Wachter. It was built in the former press house of the Wiesler winery. The Wachter Wieslers Ratchen serves hearty regional cuisine, modernly interpreted, with wines from Suedburgenland. The recent renovations incorporate modern components with stone, wood, and plenty of glass affording a view of the surrounding vineyard landscape.

Picture: Wachter Wieslers Ratschen Co-Chefs Anita Kopfensteiner and Gergely Okos After the Wine Lunch

Wine Lunch at Wachter Wieslers Ratschen

Co-owner and Sommelier, Tom Wachter, led us through a wonderful wine lunch, supported by Julia Sevenich and Cousin Christopher Wachter from Weingut Wachter Wiesler.

Picture: The EWBC Bloggers Having Lunch

Tom Wachter displayed a wonderful talent for sharing his profound knowledge of the region and the wines from Suedburgenland in a friendly, non-intrusive and non-intimidating way. I also enjoyed very much the comments and good-natured humour of Christoph Wachter. The food was outstanding and prepared by the Wachter Wieslers Ratchen Co-Chefs Gergely Okos and Anita Kopfensteiner. Here is what we ate and drank – in German.

Herbstvariation: Wildpastete – Kuerbisterrine – Luftgetrocknetes vom Hirsch

Rosa Filet vom Moorochsen mit Erdaepfel – Selleriepueree an Karotten und schwarzen Nuessen

The Moorochse (fen steer) is a tasty, dark meat speciality from Suedburgenland

2-erlei Schokolade an Rotweinkirschen

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1 comment:

  1. Hallo Christian!

    Vielen Dank für die Information, hatte ich noch nicht gesehen!! Mit den besten Grüßen und auf ein Wiedersehen im Südburgenland,

    Christoph Wachter