We are truly a lucky bunch!
Last month we sat down with Winebow, Premium Wine Estates’ Andreas Wickoff and wineries Fred Loimer and Fritz Wieninger, and Leo Schneemann of the KG-NY Group to learn about biodynamics, their place in the world, and what it means for Austrian and wines as a whole.
To give you some background, Respekt is a group founded in 2007 by Austrian winegrowers with a unifying philosophy that, “The highest possible quality not only for the wine itself, but also for the way in which it has been produced.” The group follows the teachings of Rudolph Steiner, the father of biodynamic farming. Today, the group has about 50 wineries, all of which were only allowed to be part of the group after careful consideration by all members.
Beyond the principles of biodynamics, the Respekt group is focused on Mother Nature and what she offers to the grapes in the vineyards based on a complete ecosystem, all the way through the cellar where natural yeasts live. “The compost in biodynamics balances the soils so the grapes have it when they need it, not just immediately,” said the group, “We use one helping hand in the cellar, and that is time.”
The Respekt group didn’t just focus on the use of the cow and the biodynamic compost, though this is rather important, but also explained to the group facts about pruning – the larger the cut, the more susceptible the vine is to harm – and practices in the vineyards. As diseases get stronger and change shape, the winemakers are sure to meet with studying university students so they can get in front of a problem before it starts and adjust what the vines need naturally do avoid devastation of any kind.
Something they were also sure to point out that, traditionally, all farming was done biodynamically… after all, there wasn’t any other way; without balance.
In reference to Austrian wine, they explored the concept that wine used to not be labelled by its variety, but rather by its village name perhaps emphasizing the importance of terroir and how it goes back further than modern-day might think.
Fred Loimer, from the Kamptal, explored the variation of soils and how each wine projected to this to its drinker. Meanwhile, Fritz Wieninger from Vienna did the same offering insight to Vienna’s famous field blend, Wiener Gemischter Satz. After also tasting the wines of fellow Respekt member, Gernot and Heike Heinrich from Burgenland, one fact remained clear
“What does biodynamics mean for the consumer? To show terroir and authentic character.”
The tasting’s aim was to demonstrate the quality of the wineries in the Winebow portfolio, particularly those in the Respekt group, but also to demonstrate the terroir as a whole in Austria’s regions of the Kamptal, Vienna, and Burgenland’s Gols and Leithaberg…. which was quite evident in every example.
Want to explore yourself? Take a sip of the wines:
Gruner Veltliner Kamptal DAC 2002
Langenlois Spiegel Gruner Veltliner Kamptal DAC Reserve 2012
Langenlois Kaferberg Gruner Veltliner Kamptal DAC Reserve 2012
Riesling Kamptal DAC 2012
Langenlois Seeberg Riesling Kamptal DAC Reserve 2012
Langenlois Seeberg Riesling Kamptal DAC Reserve 2011
Wiener Gemischter Satz 2012
Herrenholz Gruner Veltliner 2011
Vienna Hills Riesling 2012
Bisamberg Gemischter Satz Alte Reben 2012
Rosengartl Gemischter Satz Alte Reben 2012
Nussberg Alte Reben 2012
Gernot & Heike Heinrich
Heinrich Blaufrankisch Leithaberg DAC 2011
Heinrich Blaufrankisch Alter Berg 2011
Let us know what you think, if you do taste!