“Qui bon vin boit, dieu voit. [He who drinks good wine sees God.]”
- proverb of the Cistercians
Last summer I attended a tasting of fine wines from an importer specializing in German and Austrian wines. One table in particular caught my eye; Schloss Gobelsburg. I first discovered their “Cistercian” Rose two years prior and have carried it on my list ever sense, but this was the first chance I had to converse with a representative from the estate. After sample the first wine, I knew there was something special about their vineyards and knew I wanted to feature them in the Jefferson Club.
This month, for Just A Taste’s Jefferson Club, I am excited to feature two wines from Schloss Gobelsburg. First, the Kamptal Renner 1OWT Gruner Veltliner 2016 will be given to the majority of our club members. Members who prefer red wines will receive their delicious St. Laurent Reserve.
Wine Snapshot: schloss Gobelsburg Renner 1owt Gruner Veltlienr 2016
Producer: Schloss Gobelsburg - history ranging to 1171 AD
Winemakers: Franz Karner - with Willi Brundlmayer consulting
Region: Austria, Kamptal, Kammern, Renner vineyard
Grape Varietal(s): 100% Gruner Veltliner
Viticulture: organic and sustainable vineyards; loess, sand, gneiss; 50+ year old vines on guyot; influence from the Kamp river
Method: hand-harvested grapes; aged in local Manhartsberg oak casks
Serving Suggestions: 44-48° F with Asian, Thai, or pork Schnitzel
Age: Drink 2021 through 2036
Nose: ripe stone fruit, citrus, honey, ginger, sugar snap pea, candle wax, and cracked nuts
Palate: searing acidity with ripe fruit flavors, flint, gun smoke, and a round body
Finish: the finish is carried by high acidity with vanilla and honey touched by a slight watercress heat - it is incredibly long and persistent
Wine Snapshot: schloss gobelsburg
st. laurent reserve 2015
Producer: Schloss Gobelsburg
Region: Austria, Kamptal,
Grape Varietal(s): 100% St. Laurent
Viticulture: sustainable vineyards; tertiary gravel rich high-altitude vineayrd; 25 year-old vines on guyot
Method: hand-harvested grapes; open top fermentation; aged in Manhartsberg 600L oak casks
Serving Suggestions: 60-65° F with
Age: Drink now through 2030
Nose: ripe red and black fruits, cherries, raspberries, and plum, slight herbal notes with olive and spice, with a touch of gaminess
Palate: strawberries and pronounced red fruit, lush texture with freshness, chalky tannins and minerality
Finish: crushed rock, spice, bark, and a return of raspberry candy
About the Kamptal winegrowing region
For an introductory look into Austria, check out Madeline Puckette’s Winefolly article.
Kamptal is one of nine DACs (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) of Austria. The DAC is modeled after the French AOC system and is Austria’s solution to standing apart from its German neighbor. Whereas Germany focuses on ripeness levels to show quality (of which the top producers are trending away from), Austria is moving towards a more “terroir-driven” focus for its wines. This new DAC system created limitations on varietal selection and vineyard restrictions to best express the unique terroir of each appellation.
Kamptal is located in the Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) winegrowing region, though don’t let the name mislead you. Niederösterreich is actually located in the northeastern region of the country. Instead, the “lower” name denotes its lower elevation and close proximity to the Danube and several tributaries. It is one of eight subregions of the Niederösterreich, but one of only four DACs. Kamptal is one of the smaller DACs, but it is known for producing exceptional Gruner Veltliner and Rieslings of heavier weight and structure than its neighboring Kremstal DAC. This is due to its warmer overall temperature than nearby regions and its completely south-facing aspect.
The Renner Vineyard is located at the highest elevation of the Gaisberg vineyard just north of Kammern.
About schloss gobelsburg
Schloss Gobelsburg’s history began in 1171 when the monks at the Zwettl monastery first acquired farmlands and vineyards. In the mid 1700s, the order acquired the current estate, and shortly after, winery operations moved to Gobelsburg. In 1995, Schloss Gobelsburg was acquired by Austrian wine legends Michael Moosbrugger and Willi Bründlemayer. Today, Schloss Gobelsburg contains some of the most storied vineyards throughout Austria.
In recent years, Schloss Gobelsburg has been considered a standard bearer for both sustainable approaches and collection of unique vineyard sites. Since their origin, the monks of Gobelsburg have omitted any artificial sprays of herbicides and pesticides within their lands. Today, they are part of the original members of Certified Sustainable Austria, which asks itself and its members, “How can sustainable viticulture produce high quality wine ecologically, socially and economically? What practices are necessary?” In addition to this approach to sustainable viticulture methods, Gobelsburg has the honor of caretaking several historic high quality vineyard sites. The Austrian vineyard system mimics those of Burgundy with established erste lage (first growths). This system was implemented in 2010, and since then, the governing body has moved towards the inception of grand crus to highlight the best of the best vineyards throughout Austria.
It would be easy to dismiss this movement to establish premier and grand crus amongst the many vineyards of Austria in direct parallel of Burgundy’s system as a marketing ploy; however, it is evident the players in Austria are approaching it methodically to ensure transparency for the consumer. Regardless of the timely manner of these efforts, considering the establishment of erste lage is as recent as the past 20 years compared to the nearly 900 years Austria has been producing wine, Schloss Gobelsburg has held many vineyard sites that consistently produce exceptional wines, which in truth is the entire purpose behind such classification. Their collection of several “premier” vineyards is nothing to be quickly overlooked or scoffed at, particularly consider two Austrian wine legends decided to acquire the estate. Perhaps the old proverb of Cistercian monks that “He who drinks good wine sees God,” has more to do with finding which site produces good fruit than indulging in sheer luck.