Friday, October 22, 2021

Zoom Tasting with Christina Artner Netzl of Weingut Franz and Christine Netzl, Carnuntum, Austria - Chain Bridge Cellars, McLean, Virginia

Pictures: Zoom Tasting with Christina Artner Netzl of Weingut Franz and Christine Netzl, Carnuntum, Austria - Chain Bridge Cellars, McLean, Virginia and Christian Schiller and Christina Netzl 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 for the first time in 2010, when they introduced their wines with importer Klaus Wittauer to the American market. 

A year later, 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.

Now, a Zoom tasting during the corona period with Christina Artner Netzl and Klaus Wittauer arranged by Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Virginia. The event started at 5:00 in the afternoon in McLean while it was 23:00 in Austria. 

Pictures: Zoom Tasting with Christina Artner Netzl of Weingut Franz and Christine Netzl, Carnuntum, Austria - Chain Bridge Cellars, McLean, Virginia

Wine Tastings in the Washington DC Area in times of Covid 

As everywhere else, wine tastings and wine dinners have been drastically cut back in the Washington DC area in the past 18 months due to covid.

This was an online tasting, where the organizer refilled the wines into small badges which the participants could pick up before the tasting. There is a wide spectrum of how tasting events are currently organized in the Washington DC area. 

At the other extreme are events, in-person and indoor, without any restrictions who can attend. I have not been to such an event but I see them being advertised.

The German Wine Society (Washington DC Chapter) has moved back to in-person, indoor events, with only vaccinated people allowed to attend and the CDC card checked before one enters the venue.

The Washington Wine and Cheese Seminar, which holds tastings every Tuesday, was moved to a hybrid solution: two in-person and indoor events and two online events per month. For the in-person events, vaccination is required, although not checked when I went. 

Until now, the American Wine Society (John Marshall Chapter) had no rules with regard to vaccination, but all events took place outdoors. With the cooler months arriving and indoor tastings becoming the rule, the chapter just moved to a "vaccinated people only" policy. 

The large majority of restaurants in the Washington DC area do not have any vaccination requirements for indoor dining. However, there is a small group of restaurants that do. The Washingtonian, for example, has put together a list of restaurants where you have to show your CDC card in order to be admitted.

Pictures: Christian Schiller and Christine and Franz Neztl in Washington DC, USA, in 2010. See: Welcome to America: Franz and Christine Netzl Estate, Carnuntum, Austria


In Austrian wine circles, Christina Netzl is widely recognized as one of the country’s elite winemakers. She and her family have helped cement the reputation of Carnuntum as a great source of rich but vibrant reds, her Anna-Christina bottling routinely ears 94-95 point ratings from the press, and her 2013 Anna-Christina was named the best wine in all of Austria by a leading publication.

And, as you’ll discover when you join us for this fun and delicious virtual tasting, she’s a joy to talk with and learn from, too! Building on a family legacy dating from the mid-1600s and a decision to become a winemaker made at age 5, Christina is the perfect person to introduce you to the Roman and modern wine history of Carnuntum, describe the unique character of Austria’s smallest wine region, explain her decision to convert to organic farming, and share some breathtakingly beautiful wines! We’ll taste:
  • Netzl Chardonnay Carnuntum 2020 (no oak, tons of flavor)
  • Netzl Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) Ried Altenberg 2019 (following up the 93 point 2018)
  • Netzl Edles Tal Gottlesbrunn 2018 (Zweigelt/Merlot/Syrah) (93 points the past 3 vintages)
  • Netzl Carnuntum Anna-Christina 2017 (Wine Enthusiast 95 points)
  • Netzl Carnuntum Anna-Christina 2018 (even better and the US debut!)
You can join in the conversation and try five of Christina’s top bottling for $25 for each set of samples.

We’ll be providing 3oz samples of each wine in airtight pouches prepared the day of the event. Each pouch represents about 60% of a full glass of wine, making a generous tasting pour for one and a just-right sample for two.

Pouches will be available for pick-up at Chain Bridge Cellars from 10am-5pm the day of the event and we’ll email you the Zoom link early next week and again on Sunday.
Also joining us online will be our very favorite Austrian wine-master, importer Klaus Wittauer. And, we hope, you!

You can reserve your sample set right now by clicking the button below. You won’t find a more exciting set of wines or a more charming wine guide than Christina anywhere!
Visiting Christine, Christina and Franz Netzl at their Weingut Netzl in Carnuntum, Austria

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, Carnuntum

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 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

I went through the Netzl portfolio, including the 2009 Anna-Christina.

2009 Weingut Netzl Anna-Christina

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

Picture: The last Bottle with Franz Netzl

Here I also met Christina Netzl-Artner, 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-Artner, 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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