Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust in Radebeul, Sachsen: Tour and Lunch with Tasting – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust was our second winery stop in Sachsen. The first one was Weingut Schloss Proschwitz near Meissen.
After a fabulous dinner with Prinz Georg zur Lippe at Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, we spent the night in Meissen and toured the famous Albrechtsburg, a late Gothic castle built in the 15th century and Germany’s oldest castle, in the morning, before driving up the Elbe Valley to Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust in Radebeul, near Dresden.
The Albrechtsburg sits majestically on a rock above the Elbe River and presents together with the cathedral of Meissen a gorgeous panorama. Later the castle was superseded by the Dresden castle as the new seat of the Wettin dynasty who eventual produced the kings of Saxony and Poland. It was here where the King Augustus II the Strong of Saxony established the first European Porcelain manufacture in 1710 under the supervision of Johann Friedrich Böttger. The world-famous Meissen porcelain was produced at the Albrechtsburg until 1863, when the location became too small and the manufacture moved to its present location in Meissen.
Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust is in Radebeul further up the Elbe River, near Dresden. Karl Friedrich Aust gave us a tour of Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust, focusing on the vaulted cellar. We then had lunch at his restaurant, Restaurant Aust, where we also tasted some of the Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust wines.
Sachsen, located in the former GDR, is the easternmost German wine region and extends some 35 miles north and south of Dresden along the Elbe River. Most of the region’s vines are planted on terraces along the River Elbe, and being at such a gradient, a lot of the work is done by hand. For 8 centuries, vintners here have mostly planted Müller-Thurgau and Riesling, earning a well-deserved reputation for excellent dry whites. With 460 hectares, Sachsen is one of the smaller German wine regions.
Meissen porcelain, known locally as “white gold,” is one of the things Sachsen is best known for, being the first place in Europe to make china in the early 18th century.
Annette Schiller: This region tickles all your senses with its unique voluptuous baroque architecture, a rich history, its wealth of art, and love of all the good things in life.
Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust
Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust is in Radebeul in Sachsen, near Dresden. The historic estate from the 17the century is idyllically located at the foot of the Goldener Wagen vineyard.
Karl Friedrich’s parents acquired this historic gem in 1975 (during the GDP period) and restored it on their own initiative. Already during the GDR period, the Aust family made wine. The estate came with a small vineyard of 0.6 hectares. In his day job, the father of Karl Friedrich Aust was heading the reconstruction team of the Dresden Zwinger.
The origins of the “Meinholdsche Turmhaus” (tower building), the heart of Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust, dates back to the year 1650. Wine was already made here in the 18th century. C.C. Meinhold (Hofbuchdrucker) from Dresden acquired the estate in 1792.
Karl Friedrich Aust grew up on the estate with two siblings and early in his live got to know how to make wine. However, during the communist era the family was allowed to produce only 100 liters of wine for their own consumption. “6 families lived on the estate during the GDR period” Karl Friedrich Aust said.
Karl Friedrich’s father died very early, in 1992, while Karl Friedrich was still attending school. When Karl Friedrich finished school in 1995, he initially learnt the profession of a Steinmetz and Steinbildhauer (stonemason and stone sculptor) in Cologne at the famous Cathedral of Cologne. At the same time, he took over the full responsibility of the small family vineyard of the Aust family. During these 3 years, we was during the week an apprentice in Cologne and during the weekends an estate manager and small winemaker in Radebeul.
In 1999, he returned with his stonemason and stone sculptur degree to Radebeul and took up assignments in Dresden and at Schloss Proschwitz. But at the same time, the desire grew to fully shift from being a stone artist to a wine artist, i.e. to leave his job and to take over the family estate and concentrate on winemaking.
Since 2001, the family winery bears the name Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust. In 2003, Karl Friedrich added Weinhaus Karl Friedrich Aust, a small negociant operation. In 2006, he opened the Restaurant Weinhaus Aust, where we had lunch and tasted the Karl Friedrich Aust wines. On the side, Karl Friedrich went through another apprenticeship, that of a Winzer (winemaker). He earned his Winzer Certificate in 2008.
Today, the vineyard area of Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust totals 5.3 hectares. Annual production is 2000 cases. Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust is one of the leading winemakers in Sachsen and in Germany, with 2 grapes (out of 5) in the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2015.
The Radebeuler Goldener Wagen vineyard is located immediately behind the winery, initially the flat portions and then the steep terraces with the distinctive drystone walls (Trockenmauern). Karl Friedrich Aust: “From 2010 to 2012, we were able to re-cultivate the steep slope vineyards, including extensive wall repairs, and plant Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). We plant on our steep slope vineyards Riesling, Weißburgunder, Spätburgunder and Traminer.”
The Radebeuler Steinrücken is mainly devoted to Riesling, but there is also some Weißburgunders and Auxerrois. Karl Friedrich Aust: “ The soil of the Radebeuler Steinrücken is legendary. The wines need some time to develop and we give these wines the time they need. The minerality of the soil produces a bit of a salty taste on the palate.”
The Radebeuler Johannisberg is all planted with Spätburgunder. Karl Friedrich Aust: “The wines from this stony vineyard have a lot of minerality in the glass.”
The wines are fermented on two floors: In the Kelterraum on the first floor and the vaulted cellar. Karl Friedrich Aust: “Generally the wines ferment at 17 degrees Celsius to keep the aromas in the wine. With regard to the use of barrique barrels, I only ferment in barrique, if I feel the barrique notes fit with the wine - Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Traminer. I use barrels for 3 years.”
Following an introduction to Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust by Karl Friedrich, we had lunch in the lovely garden of Restaurant Aust. We had 4 courses and 4 different wines. The kitchen of Restaurant Aust is tiny, but despite these constraints, the output is outstanding. Local, organic ingredients and a gifted, very talented chef make for stunning, tasty, creative dishes.
Until 2012, all Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust wines were marketed as “Landwein”, the lowest quality level in the Law of 1971 Classification of German wine. The wines were not of low quality, but he did not bother – like the cult winemaker Klaus Zimmerling – to go through the administrative procedures for the higher quality wines. This has changed. He still makes a few wines at the Landwein level (which are not necessarily of low quality), but now also offers wines in the QbA (Qualitätswein besonderer Anbaugebiete) and Prädikatswein (all at the Spätlese level in his current portfolio) levels. As a rule all wines are dry. Some may exceed the legal limit to call it a wine dry, but if this is so, just by a few grams.
We had the following wines:
2014 Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust Goldriesling trocken
2012 Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust Weissburgunder trocken
2013 Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust Radebeuler Steinrücken Riesling Spätlese
2013 Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust Radebeuler Goldener Wagen Riesling Hausberg Spätlese
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