Full palette of Pittnauer talents on display with varied new shipment

Life’s more colourful with Pittnauer around. It just is. And this latest shipment from the biodynamic guru of Gols in Burgenland is bursting with the freshness of Gerhard’s ideas.

It makes little sense to delineate between “natural” and “other” here, since it’s all organically farmed and properly minimal intervention. However, the most colourful labels are reserved for those zero-sulphur bottlings. In that camp we have a new pét-nat, two skin-contact whites and rosé from Blaufränkisch.

Elsewhere, there’s no shortage of flair and flow from the Pitti red and rosé and a new vintage of straight Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch.

Also included here are the two Pannobile blends, because they’re bloody awesome. The Pittnauski is from 2015 and drinks like Burgenland Barbaresco, while the Pannobile is there to show the full range and depth of this prodigiously talented wine-grower.

2019 Pittnauer ‘Pitt Nat’ Rosé $57

Like other groundbreaking movements the natural wine avant-garde did not come out of the blue. Most of its methods were already used before but a lot of them were forgotten or neglected in times of increasingly unifying and global trends: sparkling wines produced in the méthode ancestrale, so called pét-nats (pétillant naturel), for example. Pét-nats run through a second fermentation in the bottle and its production demands care and experience. When they are great, they are without any doubt more interesting and quaffable than whatever comes out of a pressure tank. This is why they were reborn by a group of young French winemakers some years ago and in the meantime made their leap to Gols.

The selection of Merlot and Syrah as main grapes for the Pitt Nat Rosé is a tribute to the homeland of the pét-nats (and also rosé). It is whole bunch-pressed, spontaneously fermented and bottled with 20-25g residual sugar still left to ferment. This happens in the bottle where the remaining sugar transforms into carbon dioxide and alcohol. After a December night out in the cold (to freeze the yeasts in the bottleneck) our pét nats are disgorged and refilled with the same wine.

Last year’s version was already fun to drink at breakfast, lunch, dinner, New Year’s Eve, spring, summer and autumn – nothing has changed there, although the flavours are slightly different. It has the colour of pink grapefruit and tastes a little bit like it. It also brings together raspberries, rose petals and grapefruit. It is inciting and dynamic, fizzing fresh and vibrant over the finish line. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2019 Pittnauer Perfect Way $49

Perfect Way is one of our favourite projects. On one hand it’s a tribute to the almost eponymous 1972 Lou Reed song where he sums up the simple joys of life to enjoy a perfect day. On the other hand it is an ambitious attempt to create a wine which is able to accompany such a day.

Five traditional varieties from our region form the foundations for the Perfect Way: 54% Muscat Ottonel, 29% Sauvignon blanc, 8% Chardonnay, 4% Gelber Muskateller, 5% Traminer. Thanks to a cold and fresh May in the otherwise warm and dry 2019, the grape juice resulted in an astonishingly light, firmly structured and vibrant wine with loads of aromas.

In 2019 vintage, the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay were co-fermented in an open vat for 14 days while Muskat Ottonel only spent three days on skins. The Traminer spent 20 days in amphora on skins, and Gelber Muskateller was pressed after a short maceration time.

After ageing separately in amphoras and old oak for half a year, the four wines were brought together just before bottling. The Perfect Way is neither filtered nor sulphured.

The wine is buoyant, subtle, agile and delicate. Petals, peaches and stones shape its flavour profile. Some supple tannins structure the wine on the palate. The mouthfeel is dense, savoury and agile, and the wine finishes with fragrant, mineral and fruity resonance. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2019 Pittnauer ‘Mash Pitt’ $61

A short digression into punk history: A mosh pit (and occasionally, actually, mash pit) was the area directly in front of the stage where the hardcore fans pogoed with a lot of skin contact. With Mash Pitt, there is a not insignificant amount of skin contact, too. Mash and juice touch each other for 20 days, until all of the colour and tannin in the vats have passed into the now-fermented wine.

The consequences are threefold: a massive colour expansion from the once rather monochrome white wine scale; tannins that give the wines energy, liveliness, tension and power; and an aroma profile that breaks the horizons of expectation in an individual and original way.

The wine is unfiltered and therefore naturally cloudy. The lack of perspective is compensated by an intense aroma, which brings together tropical fruits, orange peel, herbs and fresh berry notes. The palate is lively and light-footed. Tannins and acidity guide the wine and ensure a straight and compact structure. The body is elegant and without a gram of fat, leading to a finish that is balanced, fruity and stimulating. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2018 Pittnauer Pitti Rosé $26

Strawberry and redcurrant, a slight smokiness, and green herb. Fresh style, all about acid drive, crunch and juicy blood orange tang. Chalkiness on a tart and lively finish. More a white wine style of Rose, but good energy here. 

91 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

2019 Pittnauer Dogma Rosé $47

100% single-vineyard Blaufränkisch from the Ungerberg site, which sits on loam soils. The wine is matured in stainless steel and amphorae. No fining, filtration or addition, including SO2.

2018 Pittnauer ‘Pitti’ Red $28

The grapes are grown on black soils around Heideboden. The wine spends 12 months in stainless steel, for a blend that is all about drinking pleasure.

Pitti 2018 is a cuvée made out of the indigenous red wine varieties Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch, supported by the international grape Merlot. The fullness and juiciness come from the Zweigelt, the spiciness from the Blaufränkisch and the structure from the Merlot.

It’s dark ruby in colour, with purple tints. The attractive bouquet shows dark blackberry, nuances of tobacco and a bit of liquorice. The palate has tight tannins with black berries. It’s complex with fresh acid structure and potential to develop nicely in the medium term. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2018 Pittnauer Zweigelt Heideboden $32

In viticulture it’s sometimes not so different from politics: labour at the grassroots level is crucial. The Zweigelt Heideboden might not have the same charisma as the St. Laurent Rosenberg – but to get a crisp, inviting, wholesome and distinctive wine into the bottle, attention and diligence are required. The wine-growers who cultivate the vines of the Heideboden adhere to the regulations of organic viticulture; they harvest manually and yield perfectly ripe and healthy grapes.  

The intention behind the Zweigelt Heideboden is twofold: on one hand we want to capture the terroir – the warmth of the Pannonian climate and the sandy soils of Lake Neusiedl which tend to give the wine an unmistakable lightness. On the other hand, we try to unfurl the subtle, precise and delicate side of the grape variety.

The grapes were harvested by hand and fermented spontaneously in stainless steel tanks. The wine was then aged on lees in used barrels for half a year.

This wine is offspring of its vintage. Warm and sumptuous with ripe, red fruit flavours and a subtle spiciness. It flows long, calm and deep through the mouth. Balanced and smooth, never demanding but nor is it simple. Finely-grained tannins and a restrained acidity lead the way to the palate and give the wine a soft structure. Fruity finish. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2018 Pittnauer Blaufränkisch Heideboden $32

The Heideboden is not precisely defined geographically. Located on the eastern shores of Lake Neusiedl, it includes the plain that stretches from the Seewinkel via Frauenkirchen to the foot of the Parndorfer Platte. Covered by sand, gravel, lime and clay, it offers a geological mosaic in which Zweigelt, Sankt Laurent and Blaufränkisch feel at home.

As with our Zweigelt, we also pursue a double intention with the Blaufränkisch Heideboden. On one hand, we want to capture the origin here as well; to reflect the warmth of the Pannonian climate and the lightness inherent in the sandy soils of the Neusiedlersee. On the other hand, we are concerned with revealing the subtle, precise and finely woven side of the grape variety.

The grapes for the Blaufränkisch Heideboden are picked by hand and fermented spontaneously in stainless steel tanks. It is matured on the lees in large, used wooden barrels for a good six months.

Herbs and red berry aromas set the tone, with complementary pepper and undergrowth. The body is compact and elegant, the acidity is lively, the tannins have easy grip. This shows that, even in a warm vintage like 2018, you could make fine, light-hearted yet profound wines. Floral aromas complete the sensory impression on the palate. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2015 Pittnauer ‘Pittnauski’ $49

A wine that glides over the palate, just medium weight, succulent with firm but lacy tannins, good acidity, loaded with cherry flavours and dried herb character. Feels understated in the best possible way, one to whisk around in a big glass and settle in and watch open. Such a good vibe here.

93 points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

2016 Pittnauer Pannobile $64

Funky smokiness reigns on the nose, allowing glimpses of cherry to peek through. The palate is juicy and has black cherry notes at its pulsating, fresh core that is cushioned by velvety tannins. A hint of dark chocolate starts swinging by, but it is juiciness that prevails, caught in a fine gauze of smooth tannins. There is something unforced and free about this. Lovely.

94 points. Anne Krebiehl MW, Wine Enthusiast

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