A short walk down the road from Weingut Markowitsch led us to the restaurant, Bitterman for lunch where we were met by Christina Artner-Netzl and Christoph Artner.
Before we dive into the wines there is something you need to understand about Austria. From an outsider’s perspective it doesn’t seem possible to find such extraordinary culinary abilities in the midst of a small town of less than 1,000 people… but throughout Austria we found time and again that these restaurants , or perhaps better put as gems, are scattered amongst the houses and the wineries waiting to wow guests day after day.
Bitterman was, of course, no exception. One might expect to find such a picturesque porch and such fine cuisine in a city, or touristy town, perhaps, but in this small town it was simply beautiful.
The wines were offered to us in course pairings, though fortunately we had the opportunity to try them all at the end. Everyone received an appetizer and dessert, but depending on a person’s palate for both food and wine, each was able to choose their “adventure.”
Weingut Netzl grows their grapes on 26 hectares of land in the “Arbesthaler Huegelland,” with a focus on Zweigelt. The grapes are all hand harvested and individual berry selection is quite important here – nothing but the best! Fermentation occurs in stainless steel vats and the reds are fermented on their skins, not the whites though. The reds, which make up for 75% of production are aged in barriques; the whites in stainless steel, generally. Lees aging and malolactic fermentation are also encouraged here and careful thought it put into the aging process.
The winery is run by the family – Christine and Franz, the winemaker, are the second generation, and the third, their children are Christina, Ann-Marie, and Peter… all add something different to the process. They are also assisted by others to make up a core team of nine and more during harvest, of course.
Weingut Artner also focuses on red wines – after all, this is a red wine region – and on the use barriques, but the use of international varieties is a little heavier here, as well as Zweigelt. Artner is located on the Hoeflein area of Carnuntum and offers their guests four different dining experiences ranging in style. The winery focuses on 30 hectares of vineyards in sites they have researched extensively. Something quite fun being done here that isn’t typical of Austria is their experimentation with foreign styles. For example, for dessert we tasted a wine entitled, “Portuguese Love Remix,” which is a port-styled wine that was created in conjunction with a musical artist. On the cork of each bottle there is a code for a music download, even! Genius.
Lunch concluded in good spirits – all full of delicious food and wine we gathered back on to the bus for our next stop: back to Burgenland!