Sunday, January 17, 2010

Austria 2010, First stop: Netzl

One thing I love about visiting small wineries is the fantastic hospitality.
A great example is Christine Netzl making a batch of her family recipe Hungarian
Goulash for us and a delicious mushroom soup for some of the vegetarians. Franz Netzl’s vineyards are between the Neusiedlersee Lake and Danube River, and these two nearby bodies of water influence the climate of his vineyards. This is red wine country in the Carnuntum region of Austria, and his vineyards are planted with Zweigelt, in the flat lands of his property, while on the hillsides are planted his Syrah (the most acclaimed Syrah of Austria), Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot. The family has farmed and lived on this property for 200 years. Franz changed direction of the family farm 25 years ago to focus on winemaking. They sold off much of their land devoted to crops and animals and used those proceeds to buy supplemental pristine vineyards and build a modern winery on the estate connected to their home.
Christina, his eldest daughter is now making the wine and she is clearly talented. She crafts the wines very professionally and is confident when she discusses what their different vineyards bring to the wines.

The whole family lives on the estate, Franz & Christine the parents in one part, young newlyweds Christina and her husband in another, and Christina’s younger sister Annemarie in another part. All are connected but have separate entrances. The wines here are well-made and modern (especially the reds), leaning more towards Californian in style. Their less expensive Carnuntina line is unoaked, friendly, accessible and great value (we’ve been selling their “Roseanna” Zweigelt Rosé whch is part of the Carnuntina line), while the upper level wines are rich, noticeably oaked and showy with intense flavor and little semblance to our image of classic, typical European wines. For more about this estate, visit Salamanzar's great post from 2009 here.

- Grand Poobah Wine Swami

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