Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Wines of Stefanie and Alwin Jurtschitsch, Weingut Jurtschitsch, Kamptal, Austria

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Alwin Jurtschitsch at BToo in Washington DC, USA

Alwin Jurtschitsch from Weingut Jurtschitsch in Austria was in town (Washington DC). He came with Johannes Hasselbach, Weingut Gunderloch, Germany and Max von Kunow, Weingut von Hoevel, Germany, to (1) present Weingut Jurtschitsch and his wines to a small group of sommeliers and wine writers over lunch and (2) to present with Johannes and Max their Wurzelwerk project. The lunch took place at BToo, the up and coming restaurant of Bart. Both events were organized by Rudi Wiest Selections and Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR and WineTours.

Picture: BToo in Washington DC

This posting is the fourth posting in a mini-series covering Wurzelwerk and the 3 contributing wineries:

Special Wine Event on March 18, 2014, in Washington DC with "Wurzelwerk": 3 Terroirs, 3 Winemakers and 9 Wines
"Wurzelwerk" Goes America: 3 Vineyards, 3 Winemakers and 9 Wines
Weingut Gunderloch – The New Generation: Owner Johannes Hasselbach in Washington DC, US
The Wines of Stefanie and Alwin Jurtschitsch, Weingut Jurtschitsch, Kamptal, Austria
Weingut von Hoevel – The New Generation: Max von Kunow in Washington DC, US

Weingut Jurtschitsch

Weingut Jurtschitsch in the Kamptal town of Langenlois is one of Austria's oldest wineries. Dating back more than 700 years, the winery was originally operated by the nearby Franciscan monastery. The Jurtschitsch family purchased the estate in 1868, and it has been run by family members ever since.

Picture: Stefanie and Alwin Jurtschitsch in the Vineyard (Source: Weingut Jurtschitsch Web Site)

Until Alwin and Stefanie took over, the three brothers Edwin, Paul and Karl Jurtschitsch were in charge. Edwin tended the vineyards, Paul oversaw winemaking (along with oenologist Steffen Roll) and Karl directed sales and marketing.

Pictures: Alwin Jurtschitsch at BToo

David Bowler (US importer for Weingut Jurtschitsch): Over the past generation, the Jurtschitsch winery in Langenlois / Kamptal has grown into one of the most prominent top wineries in Austria. Having being run by the three brothers Edwin, Paul and Karl Jurtschitsch, the family-owned winery has now been passed on to the younger generation, to Alwin Jurtschitsch and his partner Stefanie Hasselbach.

Picture: Tasting and Eating

This family business succession has been prepared thoroughly. The couple travelled around the world, gathering experience in New Zealand and Australia. Working as interns in famed wineries in France, they got to know the French school of the Old Wine World. “It was a wonderful time and we learnt a lot. Now, we can put the ideas and the experience we have gained into practice back home in the Kamptal”, explains Alwin Jurtschitsch.

Picture: Wine Writer (I Drink on the Job) and Event Organizer (TasteDC) Charlie Adler, Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR and WineTours, and Alwin Jurtschitsch

A first step was the change-over to an organic cultivation of the family-owned vineyards. It was followed by a reduction of the wine-growing sites so that they could concentrate of the first-class appellations of the Kamp Tal. And all this went smoothly and with a great deal of sensitivity and respect for tradition.

The wine philosophy also underwent a transformation: “Our wine style became more ‘polarising‘, characterised by the idea of terroirs without compromise”, says Stefanie Hasselbach.

Picture: Andrew Myers, Sommelier, CityZen and Katha Morgan, MS, Consultant

They produce wines which let the vineyards and soils speak for themselves, even about the winegrower who cares for them. “Yes, we are farmers”, Alwin Jurtschitsch stresses, “this is our work, our tradition and handcraft in the best sense of the word.” In the cellar, all this is turned into a work of art. The wines shine in multi-faceted elegance, offering drinking pleasure at highest level without being baroque and heavy. The Grüner Veltliner wines interpret the Kamp Valley’s spiciness at its finest, while the Rieslings impress with their crystalline minerality. The renowned Gault Millau wine guide most recently called the Jurtschitsch winery “the most exciting one in Langenlois at present”!

Picture: Alwin Jurtschitsch, Todd M. Godbout (Wine Compass Blog), Chef Bart M. Vandaele and Max von Kunow

Chef Bart M. Vandaele, Belga Café and B Too

With his European flare, Belgium native Bart M. Vandaele has taken Washington DC by storm since opening his Belga Café in the historical Barracks Row area near the Capitol a few years ago. Now he has opened a second restaurant, B Too on 14th Street NW. It is much larger and bit more casual than the Belga Café, but the food is also excellent and the set-up also very appealing.

Picture: Chef Bart M. Vandaele

What We Ate

Oyster on the Half-Shell

Lobster Waffle
Bisque oil/ arugula/ tomato


Steak Tartare
Capers/ crispy onions/ frisee

Josper Grilled Hanger Steak
Roasted vegetables/ Belgian frites/ garlic butter


Potato Crusted Salmon Filet
Quince puree/ yoghurt/ lime/ salsify

Cheese Plate

The Jurtschitsch Wines

Grüner Veltliner Loiserberg 2012 Kamptal, Erste Lage

Alwin Jurtschitsch: Grüner Veltliner Loiserberg is our highest and coolest vineyard site. The cold winds from the northwest chill down this hill as soon the sun goes down and so the fine fruit aromas in the berries are preserved. The combination of microclimate and soil creates a wine with a crystalline structure and pure fruit. The grapes are harvested according to taste – not by analysis. It is only a short time between not yet ripe and over ripe maturity. If the grapes are too ripe, you lose minerality. 100% spontaneous fermentation in 2000 liter barrels (local oak, old barrels). 6 months on full lees before bottling. All single vineyard wines are 100% botrytis free.

Vineyard: Loiserberg, Erste Lage (Premiere Cru classified) High Altitude (400m) South-east exposed. Terrace style. 30+ years of vines, family vineyard, organic certified since 2009

Soil type: Glimmer slate with little loess on top

Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein Alte Reben Erste Lage 2011

Alwin Jurtschitsch: Heiligenstein means “holy stone” and is one of the most historical single vineyards of the Kamptal. The soil type is unique and only found on this special hill. It was formed during the period of Perm, 270 billion years ago. A very high content of Quartz leads to intensely mineral wines. Heiligenstein is mostly planted with Riesling. A special flora and fauna is found in this natural reserve. During the day the hillside is influenced by the warm pannonian climate form the south and at night the cool temeratures from the highlands chill down the area. This big change in temperature between the night and day leads to the unique fruity Riesling style. Riesling of Heiligenstein is normally fermented very dry. The high acidity levels in 2010 are well balanced with about 7 gram of residual sugar.

60 year-old vines are planted on steep, desert sandstone terraces. The wines are macerated for 12 hours and fermentation starts spontaneously in 1100 liter barrels. The wines spent 6 months on the lees and batonnage is done.

Picture: Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, Max von Kunow, Johannes Hasselbach, Alwin Jurtschitsch and Christian G.E. Schiller at BToo

Todd M. Godbout (Wine Compass Blog): We started the lunch with the Jurtschitsch Grüner Veltliner Loiserberg 2012 Kamptal DAC Reserve, Erste Lage and 2011 Zobinger Heiligenstein Kamptal Reserve Riesling, with Alwin introducing us to their 150 year old winery. The winery itself includes a 700 year old cellar and is located in the Kamptal DAC, northwest of Vienna and west of. The steep hills of Heiligenstein ("holy rock") contain a unique blend of desert sandstone and volcanic soil which adds a salty minerality to the Riesling - a perfect match with our oysters appetizer. The Riesling also possessed a green apple flavor with plenty of acidity accumulated from the cool nights. The Grüner Veltliner has a more floral aroma, with a silky texture after being fermented in neutral oak and spending 10 months on its lees. These are two delicious wines.

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