Top-flight Sekt, Grüner & Riesling from brilliant Bründlmayer
“At the beginning of November, a long-lasting harvest, 2020 found its happy ending!” That was how Andreas Wickhoff MW of Weingut Bründlmayer described the outcome of a testing vintage in the Danube Valley and beyond.
It was the first time since 2014 that the Bründlmayer team had harvested dry wines into November, following a season where they were always chasing ripeness. And what a difference from the warm summers that preceded it! “Our early yield control proved successful,” Andreas told us. “We lost quantity for the sake of the quality (roughly 3.6 tonnes per hectare across the entire winery’s acreage). The wines are lively, refreshing, zippy with really good aromatics. Mid-weighted, no blockbusters but elegant versions of cool-climate wines.” The sole wine from that harvest in this latest shipment is the 2020 Kamptal Terrassen Grüner Veltliner.
As for 2019, Andreas reports it thus: “Now, having tasted them over last year, and having looked back at the feedback for the 2019s from both national and international press, we feel it has the potential of being a truly grand vintage, confirming the Austrian law of the ‘9 series’: 1999, 2009 and 2019!”
Indeed, it was excellent – so it’s wonderful to have a couple of stellar grand-cru single-vineyard wines joining us: the Loiser Berg Grüner Veltliner and Riesling from the mighty Heiligenstein site.
The family is also renowned, of course, for arguably Austria’s finest sparkling wines, so we’ve got another dash of the NV Brut Reserve – plus we’ve splashed out on a bit of the superb 2017 Blanc de Blancs.
Well, we just couldn’t help it…
NV Bründlmayer Sekt Brut Reserve $75
Traditional-method sparkling comprising Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Grüner Veltliner. The grapes are selected in September, when acidity and maturity have reached their perfect point for the base wine for our sparkling production. These grapes are sourced from different chalky parcels in our vineyards which lends the wine freshness and while most of the sites are southeast facing slopes, the wine also receives warmth.
The harvested grapes are transported in small cases directly into the cellar, where they are very gently and carefully pressed. Only the heart of the must is used for the sparkling production. It ferments in stainless steel where it also undergoes malolactic conversion before being racked into used 300-litre (or 2500-litre) Austrian oak barrels with about 10% of the lees. Alcohol 11.5%; RS brut; acidity 7g/L.
Nuances of white bread, brioche and stewed apricot with generous fruit presence – and charm as well; considerable body, firm and open-hearted, very round and juicy, smooth yellow fruitiness, tingling and balanced, not too sweet, very beautiful filling. – Weingut Bründlmayer
Notes of Golden Delicious apple and rye bread crumb on the nose signal both freshness and autolytic richness. The palate then portrays salty, buttery short crust, still imbued with that apple freshness, set against yeasty texture and depth, pervaded by lemon freshness and enlivened by creamy, fine, salty foam. Gorgeous balance, wonderful freshness, great elegance. Bravo.93 points. Anne Krebiehl MW, Wine Enthusiast
2017 Bründlmayer Blanc de Blancs Nature $132
Particularly dry sparkling wines are seducing an increasing number of Sekt lovers who prefer to indulge in purism. More than the classic Brut, with its decent dosage (slightly enriching and rounding off the taste) the Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature reflects the character of the grapes and the soil. Chardonnay grapes were harvested in September 2017 from southeast-facing, calcareous soils (i.e. Spiegel) and cooler western slopes (Steinberg) lending both warmth and freshness to the wine. The acidity and maturity of the grapes were at the exact point of readiness when they were picked and placed in small crates and then pressed very gently in the cellar. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel. In the following spring, the base wine was bottled with sugar and yeast for second fermentation. From the young sparkling wine stays on the lees (sur latte) in our historic maturing cellar, part of the 1200 bottles still waiting for their remuage (riddling) and finally disgorgement. Alcohol 12.5%; RS extra brut; acidity 7.5g/L. The bouquet is complex with scents of hay, flowers, blossom nectar, fresh green apples and ripe lime together with a note of lightly toasted brioche. The persistent perlage and elegant acidity, full of salty freshness, provides a vibrant entry on the palate and forms the backbone. Very dense and compact with, again, hints of ripe green apples and an appealing zesty touch. Rich, yet with a fine structure, this wine is clean and straight with a lingering, refreshing lemony-mineral finish. – Weingut Bründlmayer
The 2017 Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Langenlois Grosse Reserve shows an intense yet vibrant golden-yellow colour as well as a deep, rich and pure yet still completely closed bouquet that reveals great complexity with stony, iodine and chalky notes that are reminiscent of Chablis. On the palate, the wine is light yet intense, dense and tensioned, tight, bone dry, saline and nicely reductive, so pretty much Burgundian. The finish is pure, tight, fresh and iodine-tinged, with flint stone notes and mineral grip. This is a spectacular Blanc de Blancs. Highly delicate on the refreshing and tensioned finish. There is no fruit but chalk, tension and a lot of music! Remarkably fine. Disgorged at the end of October 2020 and tasted in December.95+ points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
2020 Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Kamptal Terrassen $40
This Grüner Veltliner is a blend of wines sourced from different terraced vineyards at altitudes of 260m to 380m. The elevated terraces consist of stonier soils (schisted granite). The vines there show aromatic expression, good acidity, elegant stone fruit and lots of minerals. The lower-sited terraces mostly of layered fertile loess show more body and ripeness. By combining those two characteristics we produce a classic Grüner Veltliner with both finesse and a certain vigour.
Well matured, green walnut, elder flowers and citrus fruit, some cereals, nuts and cornflakes, very dry and fresh with quite some body and structure, also hints of leafy and peppery spice, rye bread and malt. A light bouquet of fresh green grapes, pome and stone fruit, classic Kamptal loss type with some mineral backbone mouthwatering finish. – Weingut Bründlmayer
The perfect introduction to the Grüner Veltliner grape! Brimming with lime, yellow grapefruit, herbs and fresh cucumber, this is an extremely expressive and very friendly dry white. Lovely balance of on the finely etched, medium-bodied palate with elegant acidity underlining the wide spectrum of flavours. Invigorating, long finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold. Screw cap.93 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com
2019 Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Loiser Berg $54
This wine derives from a vineyard on the Loiserberg wherein one also finds the site Berg Vogelsang. The difference is that the Grüner Veltliner from Loiserberg grows on a south to southeast facing slope, which is less exposed to the winds. The soil stems from primary rock geologically defined as zoisite-amphibolite, which is decomposing granite consisting of gneiss, mica-schist, and some clay and loess.
As with the Berg Vogelsang, the grapes are harvested when they are physiologically ripe at the end of October. The wine is fermented at a moderate 15 to 20°C before being racked into large wooden casks for further maturing. Actually, the only difference to Berg Vogelsang is the exposition with slightly higher soil fertility and a marginally warmer, more protected microclimate. Alcohol 13%; RS dry; acidity 6g/L.
Delicate bouquet of pome and stone fruit enriched by flowery aspects (acacia) with a whiff of spice and yeast, dry, refreshing and stimulating, very sappy and with good body. Frequent joyful bursts of fruit flavour, perfectly balanced, as it also shows a strong backbone and good length. – Weingut Bründlmayer
Lots of smoke, licorice and mineral with almost no fruit, but so much expression. There’s also mountain freshness to this that gives it another kind of energy. So much mineral drive at the finish that you have to hold onto your seat! Great aging potential. Drink or hold.97 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com
2019 Bründlmayer Riesling Heiligenstein Lyra $132
The Bründlmayer family owns 12 hectares right in the centre of the Zöbinger Heiligenstein. 10.5 hectares are planted with Riesling, the remainder for experimental purposes with Cabernet (mostly Cabernet Franc). From a geological point of view the Zöbinger Heiligenstein site is not only the oldest but probably also the most interesting on our estate: the soil consists of approximately 270 million-year-old Permian desert sandstone.
The sediments contain volcanic inclusions and carbonised remains of primeval vegetation. The uniqueness of this soil, its perfect gradient and position (SW to SE in a climatic borderland) provide ideal conditions for growing outstanding wines. During the day warm winds (often due to the effects of the Pannonian climate) climb the site, whereas by nightfall cool gusts from the north start blowing through the Kamp Valley and bring forward the aromatic expression of the grapes.
About 20% of our Heiligenstein vineyards are trained in a Lyre trellis system. The vine bifurcates in a way that the branches seem to reach to the heavens like sun-worshippers. This method doubles canopy exposure and favours aeration which improves photosynthesis and prevents dreaded fungus diseases. Yields are restricted by rigorous thinning and although harvest started late only healthy berries without botrytis were brought in. These techniques result in increasing the quality of grapes to show a similar intensity as those deriving from old vines.
We ferment the must in stainless steel at a temperature of 15 to 20° C. After fermentation the wine matures on the lees till bottling in summer. Alcohol 13%; RS dry; acidity 7.3g/L.
A deep fragrance of passion fruit, yuzu citrus and peppermint radiates freshness and vitality and yet immediately drives deep. Highly elegant and distinguished, full of fruit charm and esprit, fills the mouth with bright aromas. Focused and complex all the way into the long finish. Extraordinary ageing potential. – Weingut Bründlmayer
Faint notes of ripe Mirabelle come with a notions of crushed lemon leaf while a certain citrus headiness makes its way to the pleasure centre of the brain. The palate is bundled and compact, offering continuous bursts of citrus freshness. The effect is both exciting and cooling, invigorating and calming. Drink by 2050.98 points. Anne Krebiehl MW, Wine Enthusiast