11 October 2018
By Dave Mullen
Markus Altenburger 2016 Weiss [White] Burgenland, Austria

[50% Grüner Veltliner, 10% Muskat Ottonell, 10% Sauvignon Blanc,
10% Traminer, 10% Neuburger]

Last year we expanded our international portfolio by adding two Austrian producers; Markus Altenburger [Burgenland] and Herbert Zillinger [Ebenthal, Lower Austria].

Last month we added two more wineries; Birgit Braunstein [Burgenland] and Anton Bauer [Wagram].

It’s early days but Austria as a wine producing country is simply fascinating and we have four outstanding, quality focussed producers.

Within the Altenburger range, this white blend tells you a lot about the winemaker and his non-interventional approach.

Markus Altenburger is part of a wave of young winemakers that are taking the very modern, quite unique Austrian wines to the international market.
He took over the family winery in 2006 and focusses on varieties that best express the unique ‘Leithakalk’ terroir, about an hours drive south of Vienna.

Blaufränkisch remains his most important variety, however, this white (weiss) blend is simply intriguing.
In some ways it is similar to north east Italian white blends – perhaps that’s the small amount of Traminer and Sauvignon Blanc.
There is plenty of colour, the grapes were partly fermented on skins and partly pressed after 24 hours skin contact.
Ageing was part in concrete eggs and part in 500 litre barrels on yeast lees and the wine is unfiltered.

Muskat Ottonell was added for the first time this vintage which gives the palate a special twist and will be a permanent part of the blend going forward.

Those that have tried the previous vintages will understand that it is a difficult wine to describe.
The palate is herbal and a little salty with a range of underlying fruits.
The acidity is crisp and refreshing, the palate has amazing length and is more about structure than ripeness [12.5%].
And it continues to open up and reveal more flavour and character the longer it is open.

I can understand both sides of the arguments for and against the natural wine movement.

Not all winemakers that attempt this style get it right but this is simply delicious.

You might call it a lovely mongrel of regional grapes – funky and unfiltered’ – Markus Altenburger, Winemaker

If you would like to try this wine or require further information, please let our team know.

Cheers

Dave Mullen