It sounds haughty to say so, but it’s also true: CellarHand’s Burgenland producers sit outside the norm. Each of them – Moric, Pittnauer and Rosi Schuster – are something of a law unto themselves. They’re not themselves aloof; Pittnauer is an active and proud member of the Pannobile group, while it was Roland Velich of Moric who pointed us in the direction of fellow maestro Hannes Schuster. What they do have in common, though, is a deep and long-standing conviction that their dirt and indigenous red varieties deserve far better than an international recipe. Each of these estates has grappled with profound questions, dug deep into their souls and soils, and come up with profound wines. They’ve also shown that, no matter how weird St Laurent, Blaufränkisch and Rotburger may sound, they can yield the intense, visceral pleasure that any great wine should give.
2015 was a fine season for Burgenland, a year of healthy vines and good ripening – the kind of warmish season that gives varietally expressive wines with plenty of fruit, depth and texture. We’re yet to ship the Moric wines from 2015, so here’s a wrap of all the Rosi Schuster and Pittnauer we have in stock. We can’t recommend it highly enough.
2015 Rosi Schuster Aus den Dörfern RRP $35
Golden colour and plenty of polish to go with it. Apples and pears dusted with spice, saltwater, grilled nuts, fresh apricot. Medium bodied, peppery texture and taste, and also quite flinty, with a range of fruit flavours, though to a large extent, it’s not really fruity at all. It’s briny and delicious, with a long dry and dusty finish. Wunderbar! 93 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
2015 Pittnauer Mash Pitt RRP $53
A blend of Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc from various sites around the subregion of Gols in Burgenland. 100% skin fermented (partly whole bunches, partly destemmed) for 20 days on average. Final fermentation in fuder and used barriques. No racking, aged on full lees for eight months. No additives and no sulphur added during the whole process of vinification. No filtration. Blended immediately before bottling.
Pale tawny in colour with orange reflections, slightly yeast clouded. Aromas of baked apples, sourdough bread and linseed oil. Powerful and creamy on the palate, impressive tannin structure. Ripe peach, grapefruit and walnut; rich and complex. Vivid acidity on the finish and a savoury aftertaste. Great ageing potential.
2015 Pittnauer Blaufränkisch Rosé RRP $25
From various sites with light sandy soils around the Neusiedlersee in Burgenland. Spontaneous fermentation, matured for 6 months in stainless steel. Residual sugar: Low (about 2.5 g/L). A dusty, savoury Austrian expression of the Blaufränkisch variety has a nutty and marginally confectionary bouquet of red cherries and flowers backed by a hint of cranberry and marzipan. It’s long, smooth and savoury, with juicy, almost sour-edged raspberry and red cherry fruit punctuated by refreshingly bright acids and underscored by a fine, dusty extract.
2015 Pittnauer Dogma Rosé RRP $35
Leering, lurid garnet colour. Lively with cherry pip, maraschino cherry aromas. Shows some spice and ruby grapefruit lift in perfume too. Palate is crunchy, tangy, more of the bright cherry kind of feel, so refreshing, so thirst crushing, feels just so darn good to drink. A little rub of tannin and extra tang to finish. Stacks to like here. 93 points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
2015 Pittnauer ‘Pitti’ Blaufränkisch/Zweigelt RRP $25
Intense kind of wine but geez it feels good to drink. It’s heady in dark fruit, prune, cinnamon, cola and anise scents. The palate is a punchy wash of dark fruits, kirsch, faint herbs. It’s juicy but has pops of bright acidity through it, making it feel a touch wild, but also, supremely refreshing as a red. Do you like medium weight, spicy-feeling reds with some oomph? Here ya go. 91 points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
2015 Pittnauer Blaufränkisch Heideboden RRP $32
Blaufränkisch from vineyards in the village of Heideboden in Burgenland, Austria. Wild yeast fermented and matured for 12 months in used barriques. This is all about the Blaufränkisch fruit – spicy, red and purple berries, an earthy cast and a beautiful, bright acidity, with the distinctive silky flow of Gerhard Pittnauer’s gently crafted reds.
2015 Pittnauer St Laurent Dorflagen RRP $35
100% St Laurent from various plateau sites around Gols: Salzbergacker, Goldberg, Zwickelacker and Edelgrund. Soils are generally gravelly with iron content. Yields of 4 tonnes per hectare. Wild yeast fermented and matured for 6 months in used barriques. 12% alcohol. Reminiscent of cru Beaujolais on the nose; cherries, sweet spice, earth and whole-berry ferment notes, plus a hint of smoked charcuterie. Palate impression is immediately pure, with spiced cherry and brambly fruit, carried on a silky and slinky feel. Definitely opens up too, with deceptive depth. Finishes with a nice twist of more savoury spice and Earl Grey tea, but with lively red fruit, too. Delicious.
2015 Rosi Schuster Rotburger RRP $35
Lively mix of cherries and game meat and white pepper and fresh herbs to sniff on. The palate is likewise full of life, bouncing between cherry fruitiness, cranberry acidity and slender, chalky tannins. So even, so calm, yet so vibrant. It’s pure-feeling, unadorned and utterly delicious. There’s complexity, but it’s the drinkability that puts the wind in your sails. A light chill makes this unstoppable. 93 points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
2015 Rosi Schuster Sankt Laurent RRP $35
From young vines from different villages and raised in traditional oak vats, the 2015 Sankt Laurent Burgenland (tasted as a barrel sample at VieVinum; the bottling is scheduled for end of June) is a light and fresh, silky textured, very elegant, pure and salty red with a lovely grip and just 11% alcohol. Very stimulating. 87 points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate June 2016