Friday, August 16, 2013

Austria at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Fred Loimer, Markus Huber and Emmerich Knoll at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle

The world of Riesling returned to Seattle in Washington State. The attraction was the 4th Riesling Rendezvous, a gathering of Riesling producers and enthusiasts from around the world. Riesling Rendezvous is sponsored by Chateau Ste. Michelle, the Washington State giant wine producer and Weingut Dr. Loosen, one of Germany’s top Riesling producers from the Mosel Valley. The famous Eroica Riesling from Washington State is a joint venture of Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen. Riesling Rendezvous is the largest international gathering of Riesling producers and enthusiasts in the world. It features three days of tasting, discussing and learning about Riesling.

Austria was represented by 4 elite winemakers. This posting profiles the Austrian winemakers who flew over to Seattle to participate in the 4th Riesling Rendezvous.

This posting is part of a series of a dozen or so postings on the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle. I have posted so far:

International Tasting at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA - Dry Riesling
The German Winemakers at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA
Steffen Christmann (Weingut A. Christmann) and Wilhelm Weil (Weingut Robert Weil) Presented the New Wine Classification of the VDP, Germany
Photo Album: 4th Riesling Rendezvous (2013) in Seattle, Washington State, USA
The 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle: Impressions from the Grand Tasting at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington State, USA
The World of Riesling in Seattle - Fourth Riesling Rendezvous in Washington State, USA

Coming Up in July: 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State, USA 
The German Winemakers at the Forthcoming 4. Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State, USA

Winemaker Austria

Austria has about 50.000 hectares of vineyard, equivalent to about half of Germany’s total vineyard area and one fifth of France’s vineyard area. In terms of world output, Austria’s vineyard area accounts for 0.7 % of the total. Almost all of it in the east of the country. “In the west we ski, in the east we make wine”, says Willi Klinger, head of Austrian Marketing Board. About 70 % of the production is white wine and 30% red wine. About 75 percent of Austria’s production is consumed in Austria and 25 percent is exported.

Picture: Markus Huber, Emmerich Knoll and Heinz Frischengruber at the International Tasting - Dry Riesling

Austrian wine culture is ancient; people have been producing wine in Austria for 4000 years. But everything changed in 1985, when Austria was rocked by the “antifreeze wine scandal”. Some vintners were caught illicitly sweetening their products with glycol. As a result, the market for Austrian wine, especially the semi-sweet styles then in favor, evaporated overnight. Yet the scandal initiated a revolution that has propelled Austrian wines on to the world stage. It led to a broad rethink, with an emphasis on higher-quality production and innovation that soon became noticed. Young winemakers, drawn by the new emphasis on quality over quantity, brought cutting-edge techniques and farsightedness to vineyards and cellars, revolutionizing both.

Markus Huber, Weingut Markus Huber, Traisenthal

Markus Huber is one of Austria's superstar winemakers. After a successful career as a pro soccer player, Markus Huber returned home to take over the family winery operations. He quickly established himself as a visionary in a region (Traisenthal) that’s only recently emerged on the world stage as a source of high quality Austrian wine.

Pictures: Markus Huber and Christian Schiller at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous

The Huber family has wine growing roots dating back more than 220 years. Today – with Markus Huber at the helm - the winery in Reichersdorf is in its 10th generation. Typical of the Traisental, Weingut Huber produces primarily Grüner Veltliner (about 70%), along with about 10% Riesling, 10% Zweigelt – their only red fruited vine – and small quantities of Sauvignon Blanc, Müller Thurgau and Muscat (20 hectares). Weingut Markus Huber practices sustainable farming, utilizing no herbicides or pesticides. For the last few years, all wines have been bottled under screw cap. “Sustainable development, carefully controlling the harvest and meticulous pruning are the most natural and important prerequisites for successful winemaking,” says Markus Huber.

4 stars Falstaff

Picture: Markus Huber at the International Tasting - Dry Riesling

Fred Loimer, Weingut Loimer, Kamptal

Born into a winemaking family, Fred Loimer Jr. realized early on that he would have a future in the winemaking business. Following his formal education and experiences abroad working for other wineries, he returned to his family’s winery in Langenlois, where he utilized his newly gained experience – something that didn´t always please his father.

Pictures: Fred Loimer and Christian Schiller at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous

In 1998, one year after the winery was handed over from father to son; Loimer bought a historical vaulted brick cellar, a former cellar of the Haindorf Castle, in the middle of the grapevines between Langenlois and Zöbing. He renovated the cellar adding a minimalist building above to serve as the tasting room and office.

Since 1999, the wines have been vinified and stored in the historical cellar under perfect, natural temperature conditions. Moreover, the Veltliners and Rieslings from single vineyard sites are ranked amongst the best wines of Austria and the wine world.

Picture: Fred Loimer as Panelist at the International Tasting - Dry Riesling

The vineyards owned and managed by Loimer comprise a variety of the Kamptal region’s soils: loess, loam, gneiss and gravel. The single vineyard estate wines, signified by their plain white linen labels, are sourced from older vineyards that have been tended under biodynamic principles since 2006.

4 stars Falstaff

Emmrich Knoll, Weingut Knoll, Wachau

Weingut Knoll is one of Austria's most famous wine-growing estates. It is located in Unterloiben in the Wachau. It has been run by the family for decades and today Emmerich II and Monika Knoll and their sons Emmerich III, who travelled far to acquire knowledge on his passion and August, who just finished studies in agriculture, are in charge of the 15 hectares of land where the famous grapes grow.

Pictures: Emmerich Knoll and Christian Schiller at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous

Holdings of the estate can be found in top Wachau sites as Schuett, Loibenberg, Kellerberg, Kreutles and the kremstal vineyard Pfaffenberg. Over 45% of the vineyards are planted with each Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, the remaining 5% for Chardonnay, Gelber Muskateller, Rivaner, Gelber Traminer and Pinot Noir.

5 stars Falstaff

Picture: Emmerich Knoll at the International Tasting - Dry Riesling

Domaene Wachau, Wachau

The Domäne Wachau is deeply rooted in the Wachau region. Close to 440 hectares of vineyards are cultivated by the members of this quality-oriented cooperative – that makes 30 percent of the entire Wachau vineyard area. These vineyards are found on steep terraces reinforced by old dry stone walls and are part of a World Cultural Heritage. Famous names like Achleiten, Kollmitz, Loibenberg and Tausend-Eimer-Berg are found on the Domäne Wachau’s vineyard map and make it the only winery in the Wachau with wines from all of the most prestigious sites in the region.

Pictures: Heinz Frischgruber at the 4th International Riesling Symposium in Seattle

As a member of the Vinea Wachau Nobils Districtus quality association, Domäne Wachau produces wines in the categories Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd. Domäne Wachau is among the largest wineries in Austria.

In the capable hands of a dynamic and young team, headed by GM Roman Horvath and Winemaker Heinz Frischengruber, Domäne Wachau has now established itself in the ranks of Austria’s leading wineries.

3 stars Falstaff

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Dinner with Wine Maker Gerhard Wohlmuth sen., his Wines and the Food of Steierland’s Chef Ruth Stelzer, Austria

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars and Other Wine Spots in Vienna, Austria

Producing Wines in Austria and Hungary - Franz and Franz Reinhard Weninger

With the WienWein Winemakers in Vienna in the Heurigen Drinking Gemischter Satz Wine

Wine Producer Austria - Not Only Gruener Veltliner

Meeting “John” Nittnaus from Gols, Burgenland, Austria

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

The American Art of Joanne Roberts Wittauer and the Austrian Wines of Klaus Wittauer – A Taste of Art and Wines at the Curious Grape in Shirlington in the Washington DC Area, USA

 “Wine Ambassador” Klaus Wittauer Presented Austrian Wines at the Embassy of Austria in Washington DC, USA

Visiting Leo Hillinger, Michael Hoeffken and Edgar Brutler at the Leo Hillinger Winery in Jois, Austria

Leo Hillinger Wines and Alsatian Food with Hillinger’s Michael Hoeffken and Chef Jacques E. Haeringer at L’Auberge Chez François in Virginia, USA

At the Forefront of Biodynamic Winemaking: Visiting Werner and Angela Michlits and their Weingut Meinklang in Austria

Martin Mittelbach from the "Tegernseehof" and Klaus Wittauer from "KWSelection" Presented Tegernseehof Wines and Stefan Trummer and Chef Austin Fausett from “Trummer’s on Main” in Clifton Austrian Appetizers at the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC, USA

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