Friday, November 11, 2011

Visiting Christine, Christina and Franz Netzl in their Weingut Netzl in Carnuntum, Austria

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Christine, Christina and Franz Neztl in Göttlesbrunn in the Carnuntum

Weingut Christine and Franz Netzl is one of Austria’s leading wine producers, located in the Carnuntum, south-east of Vienna. I met Franz and Christine Netzl in the Washington DC area during their first visit to the US last year, when they introduced their wines with importer Klaus Wittauer to the American market.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Christine and Franz Neztl in Washington DC, USA

Now, during the summer of 2011, I went over to Austria for a wedding in the Burgenland; I gave the Netzls a call and they were so nice to invite me over to the Estate. We spent a lovely afternoon together at their winery, which ended on the terrace of the Netzls with a glass of Zweigelt, watching a photo shooting session for the new Netzl catalog.

During this trip, I also visited Weingut Leo Hillinger, Weingut Meinklang, Weingut Schloss Halburn (yet to be written) and Weingut Wohlmuth.


The Carnuntum region, which covers an area south east of Vienna and south of the Danube, is a sub-region of Lower Austria. The Carnuntum has a long tradition of viticulture stretching back to Celtic times. It experienced an upswing under the Romans. At some point it was the occasional residence of Roman Caesars. The Carnuntum is rich in Roman remains, including an amphitheatre and a roman palace.

Picture: Goettlesbrunn

Weingut Christine and Franz Netzl

The Netzl Estate is located in the small town of Göttlesbrunn in the Carnuntum. The family has been involved in wine production since 1820. Weimgut Christine and Franz Netzl is regarded as one of those responsible for the red wine boom in Austria.

Pictures: Weingut Christine and Franz Netzl

The vineyard area totals 26 hectares, with holdings in the Aubühel, Bärnreiser, Haidacker, Holzweg, Kräften and Neuberg sites. 80% of the area is planted with the red varieties Zweigelt, St. Laurent, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, while the remaining 20% is planted with the white varieties Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Welschriesling. A bottle-fermented sparkling wine is also produced. Annual production is around 80.000 bottles of wine, which includes the wine made from grapes on the market, equivalent to about 5 hectares. "We do not want to go beyond 35 hectares in total" said Christine.

In the Winecellar with Christine

The first thing we did after arriving at Weingut Netzl on a Saturday afternoon was to visit the wine cellar with Christine; Franz was still bottling.

Pictures: Franz Netzl Bottling

“Christine” said Franz later when we went to the vineyards together “is the heart and the soul of our house. She combines the pleasure of taste with great sensory talent. She built up our winery together with me.” Christine is a certified sommelier and is responsible for public relations, sales and the office. Christine Netzl is a member of the "Die schwarzen Katzen aus Göttlesbrunn" (black cats of Göttlesbrunn) female winemakers association.

Pictures: With Christine Netzl in the Wine Cellar

Walking through the wine cellar, Christine explained: “We produce mainly complex and structured red wines full of juice (75 %), but also fresh, fizzy and aromatic whites. We try to maintain the elegance, finesse and character of the grapes and the wines to make the sniffer into the glass and the pleasure of the wine a unique experience. Zweigelt definitely is the King of our grapes – very typical for our region and therefore you can find Zweigelt through all our range starting from classic up to premium.”

Weingut Netzl has about 700 barrique barrels; each year, the Netzls buy about 100 new barrels, so they are used for 7 years on average.

In the Vineyard with Franz

After touring the wine cellar and watching Franz finishing bottling wine, Franz took us on a tour of the Weingut Netzl’s vineyards. During the wine cellar tour, Christine said about her husband Franz: “He is the thinker. He skillfully combines tradition, proven methods, and innovation, new technologies! That’s how he brought up the renowned winery from a mixed agricultural farm with only a few vines. After his education at the wine school in Klosterneuburg, he took over from his parents and concentrated fully on making wine.” Franz is responsible for the cellar and vineyards, but he is also involved with public relations and sales.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Franz Netzl in the Vineyards

“Our vines grow, thrive and ripen on the soft hills of the Arbesthaler Hügelland. In terms of climate, we have a lot of sunshine with enough rainfalls. We get very ripe grapes. We also have cool nights, which helps to make the wine fruity” said Franz while driving through the stunning vineyard area. In term of soil types, loess, loam, gravel and sand prevail. Farming is done on the basis of the concept of sustainability.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Franz Netzl in the Vineyards

""Everything is done manually" said Franz.

At the Tasting Bar

After the vineyard tour, Franz had to join Christine and daughter Christina for a photo session in the back yard of their winery. We, in the meantime, were presented the whole range of Netzl wines by a collaborator. Here are the wines we tasted.

Picture: Christine and Franz Netzl at the Tasting Bar

Grüner Veltliner Bärnreiser 2010

Vineyard: Bärnreiser
Soil: Loess and gravel
Climate: Bärnreiser is one of our warmest vineyards with deep and nutritious loess soils, which store the warmth of the hot summer days and releases it during the nights to bring constant ripening and therefore a very ripe aromatic and good structure on the palate.
Vinification: Selected and very ripe grapes were harvested in the middle of October. Fermented in small oak barrels and remained on the lees for 6 months with battonage, which gives full-bodied structure and finesse.
Alc. content 13,5 % Vol; total acidity 6,2 g/l
Tasting notes: Velvety, ripe fruit, multi-layered, well defined and elegant on the palate, juicy fruit, some roasty aromas of the oak, well balanced, freshness on the palate, high potential.

Muskatina Gelber Muskateller 2010

Vineyard: Schüttenberg, Haidäcker
Soil: Dry gravel
Climate: The Muskateller grows on the top of the highest hill of our region – the Schüttenberg. The gravel there is getting very hot during summer days and the near river Danube and the forest around the vineyard bring cool nights to preserve the aromatic and crispy style for our Muskatina.
Vinification: Harvested and selected by hand at the end of September, single-berry-selection in the cellar, fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks at about 18 °C to preserve a fresh and crispy style.
Alc. content 12 % Vol; total acidity 7,9 g/l
Tasting notes: Intensive muskat-aromas, fresh Muskateller grape in the nose, crispy and refreshing palate, fizzy pairing summer-salads, Quiche Lorraine, light fish and chicken-dishes or you enjoy the noble and delicious aroma of this wine alone in quiet hours.

Chardonnay Classic 2010

Vineyard: Haidäcker
Soil: Nutritious loess with some gravel
Climate: The Chardonnay grapes love the perfect conditions of our “pannonian” climate with the deep and nutritious soils of the vineyard Haidacker. So they develop their very intensive and exotic aromatic with some nice acidity on the palate, due to the cooler influences of the river Danube during the nights.
Vinification: Harvested and selected by hand at the end of September, single-berry-selection in the cellar, fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks at about 20 °C to preserve a fresh and crispy style.
Alc. content 13 % Vol; total acidity 7,0 g/l
Tasting notes: Lots of juice and spice in the nose, yellow apples, melons and hey, nice acidity, fresh and animating.

Gruener Veltliner 2010

Carnuntum Cuvée 2010

Blend of 40 % Zweigelt, 40 % Blaufränkisch & 20 % Merlot
Vineyard: A blend of several vineyards
Soil: Loan and loess
Climate: The pannonian climate and the influence of the river Danube and the lake Neusiedl bring very ripe grapes with good tannins, a deep color and intensive aromas of cassis and cherry as well as elegant spice. Here we are combining the fresh cherry fruit of the Zweigelt with the spice and dark berries of the Blaufränkisch and the full-bodied structure of the Merlot.
Vinification: Harvested at the end of September by hand, vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at about 30 °C and aged afterwards in big oak vats
Alc. content 13,5 % Vol; total acidity 5,3 g/l
Tasting notes: Ruby-garnet red, dark berries and interesting spice in the nose, soft tannins and juicy fruit on the palate, very elegant style.

St. Laurent Selection 2010

Vineyard: Edles Tal & Bärnreiser
Soil: Nutritious loamy and loess soils
Climate: The St. Laurent grapes love warm days, but cooler nights and very important windy places – like the Edles Tal. Our warm pannonian climate in combination with the cool winds from the river Danube therefore brings ideal conditions for the elegant variety. So the grapes are able to ripen, but keep their typical fresh acidity, which makes the St. Laurent wines very interesting and charismatic.
Vinification: Harvested in the middle of September by hand, the malolactic fermentation as well as the aging and the storage were made in used French barriques.
Alc. content 13,5 % Vol; total acidity 5,0 g/l
Tasting notes: Ruby-garnet red, juicy sour cherry in the nose, elegant and well defined on the palate, harmonious and concentrated fruit, soft tannin, nice acidity, perfect balanced. Pairing dark meat, roasted, grilled or with a heavy sauce, all kind of cheese.

Rubin Carnuntum 2010

Syrah Schuettenberg 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon Aubuehl 2009

Anna-Christina 2009

The premium blend, dedicated to the Netzl daughters Annemarie and Christina. 60 % Zweigelt - 20 % Merlot – 20 % Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard: Bärnreiser, Aubühel, Haidäcker
Soil: Special terroir of the ‘Arbesthaler Hügelland’, nutritious loam and loess
Climate: For the Anna-Christina we use the best vineyard of every single variety. The Zweigelt comes from Haidacker, where he developes his typical very ripe, but also fresh cherry fruit. Merlot grows at Bärnreiser – a very warm place with deep soils and therefore constant ripening. Therefore the wines are deep, structure and full-bodied. Aubühel is the best place for Cabernet Sauvignon, because here he really gets ripe and brings ripe tannin and dark fruit to our blend.
Vinification: Highly ripe grapes were harvested at the end of September and beginning of October by hand and selected, fermented in temeperature controlled stainless steel tanks, the malolactic fermentation as well as the 20-month aging were made in new small French oak barrels
Alc. content 14,5 % Vol; total acidity 4,9 g/l
Tasting notes: Anna-Christina, this blend combines the juicy cherry fruit of the Zweigelt grape, the powerful structure and ripe tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the smooth and velvety of the Merlot; ruby-garnet red with a dark core, dark and juicy berries and spicy nuances in the nose, complex, multi-layered, good tannins, elegance and charm with concentration.

A Final Drink on the Deck with Christina, Franz and Christine

After the tasting, we joined Christina, Franz and Christine (and her husband as well as their little baby) for a last sip of wine – a Zweigelt – while the family was doing a photo shooting session.

Pictures: Photo shooting session in the vineyard

Zweigelt Classic 2010

Vineyard: A blend of several vineyards
Soil: Deep and nutritious loess soils
Climate: The pannonian climate and the influence of the river Danube and the lake Neusiedl lead to very ripe grapes with good tannins, high ripeness and intensive and fresh aromas. Ideal conditions for the Zweigelt grapes, which therefore is our most important grape – the “king” of our varieties.
Vinification: Harvested at the end of September by hand,vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at about 30 °C and aged afterwards in big oak vats
Alc. content 13,5 % Vol; total acidity 4,5 g/l

Picture: The last bottle with Franz Netzl

Tasting notes: Pure Zweigelt! ruby-garnet, typical cherry fruit in the nose, some spice, elegant and smooth on the palate, youthful and charming; pairing olives, vegetable- and meat-dishes with exotic herbs, Asian dishes (Wok), soufflés.

Here I also met Christina Netzl-Archer, with her husband Peter Artner and little Lena Artner. Peter Artner is the winemaker and junior boss at Weingut Artner, also in the Carnuntum region.

Pictures: Christina Netzl-Archer, with her husband Peter Artner and little Lena Artner

“Christina” her mother said “is the creative. She is full of ideas and brings new energy and kick into the winery.” In 2007, she finished studies of international wine management and marketing and started to work at the winery. She is responsible for sales, public relations, marketing, the office “and she accompanies the vines from shooting until harvest and the wines from fermenting till bottling” Christine said.

I did not meet Christina’s sister, Annemarie. “She is a whirlwind. She always smiles and inspires” said her father Franz. “After her studies she started to work outside the winery, but spends every free minute with us and always helps out if needed.”

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