[Gerhard Pittnauer] offers a versatile range of subtle and elegant wines…

Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate May 2021

A new shipment has just come in from the inimitable Gerhard Pittnauer of Gols in Burgenland.

As befits a creative genius, it’s a set of wines brimming with vibrancy, colour and surprises.

As always, the excellent rosé and Pitti red lead the way – everyday sippers full of pleasure.

We have varietal reds from indigenous varieties Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt, as well as a very pleasing Pinot Noir.

The St Laurent Vom Dorf is a step up, doing justice to the enigmatic charms of this tricky variety.

And at the more avant garde end of the spectrum is the Pitt Nat méthode ancestrale rosé and the R&B Grüner Veltliner/St Laurent blend.

Just because Pittnauer peddles pleasure at every step, it shouldn’t be forgotten that he’s hugely excited by the top-end potential of his Pannonian paradise. He showcases this exceptionally well with his Pittnauski and Pannobile bottlings.

We’re really proud to present this eclectic, electric range to you.

2020 Pittnauer Pitt Nat Rosé $57

Like other ground-breaking 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

2020 Pittnauer Rosé $29

The king’s crown has slipped. Which is not really surprising. After all, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Merlot and Cabernet have come together to form a deeply democratic pink-red cuvée, based on the motto “Rosé for everyone”. The principle of égalité is not followed literally, but the lion’s share is granted to the Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt grapes – but no revolution is to be proclaimed either.

Rather, the “König” is about a rosé that can be drunk on any occasion and at any time of the day or night, that is inviting and stimulating, ensures a good mood, combines fluidity with substance and is welcome on the terrace, while picnicking and at business dinners.

To do this, we handpicked organically grown grapes from different vineyards on the right bank of Lake Neusiedl, pressed them after a few hours of maceration, fermented them spontaneously and then matured them in steel tanks for a few months.

The result is a wine that is waiting to be drunk outdoors and with friends. Under the last rays of sunshine of the day, by the lake or in the mountains or – if everything goes well – by the sea. It is light as a feather, smells of strawberries and roses, is crystal clear, slightly spicy, juicy and invigorating and flows fresh, fruity and without dangling over the palate. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2018 Pittnauer Pitti $28

The Pitti is quite simply a quintessential wine from the east bank of the Neusiedlersee. It reproduces almost all the attributes that characterise the lake, its micro- and macroclimate and the geology of its surrounding landscapes using fermented Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch grapes.

In terms of climate, the cool winds on the Parndorfer Platte play just as important a role as the often dry and hot conditions on the Heideboden and the constant regulating influence of Lake Neusiedl. The subsoil is also diverse: some vines are rooted in loess, others in loamy sand, and still others in lime-rich black-earth soils.

All vineyards are cultivated either organically or biodynamically – not all by ourselves, but all according to our principles. The picking dates, vinification of the different batches, élevage and assemblage is entirely our responsibility. In short, this means that crisp but perfectly ripe grapes are harvested relatively early and then fermented spontaneously, the maceration is not too long and the maturation takes place in large, used wooden barrels.

Pitti is carefree, inviting, fresh and fruity, juicy and dynamic. Red berries, cherries and a fine spice characterise the aroma profile. The texture is juicy and compact, the acidity and tannin are in balance and give the Pitti temperament, balance and energy al the way through. It also uplifting on the finish with good fruit and vitality. – Gerhard Pittnauer

NV Pittnauer R&B RRP $43

R&B = rosso e bianco, rouge et blanc, a lot of rhythm and a little blues – or to get to the heart of it ampelographically: 75% Grüner Veltliner + 25% St Laurent. The fruit comes from the Goldberg and Neuberg vineyards. The St Laurent grows on light, gravelly soils and the Grüner on limestone and slate.

In some wine circles this mixing ratio is regarded as highly heretical and contradicts the canon of how wine is usually made, but ultimately the result justifies the means.

Our R&B is made from red and white grapes as an answer to social conditions in which concepts of purity are constantly brought to the fore. We mix and unite and show that this can also result in a harmonious whole.
The grapes were picked, vinified and aged separately and only then blended. Both wines were fermented spontaneously and the maturation took place in large wooden barrels. There was no filtering or fining, and minimal sulphuring.

The open and inviting nose shows crystal-clear red berries. Currants, cherries and tangerines. It’s structured, a little rough, which is definitely fun. Not a soft-brushed everyday wine, rather a real wine with rough edges, character, dynamism, energy and aromas, which are always red and fresh, even further down the palate. The wine will withstand a few years in the cellar without any problems. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2019 Pittnauer Pinot Noir $40

The fruit grows on the gravelly brown soils of the Goldberg, Zwickelacker and Holzacker vineyards. Pinot Noir stands in big letters on the label and Pinot Noir takes centre stage in this wine. Origin is – as always – important but backs down in favour of the variety. Since Pinot Noir is one of the great translators of terroir, this might come as a surprise. But what is true for Burgundy and other lime-based regions – the calcareous soils of the Leithaberg, for example – does not apply to our vineyards: our grapes come from the plains of the Parndorfer Platte, and its flat, sandy and windy plots. It is no terroir for subtle and complex, soil-driven Pinot Noir but one where the tender, radiant, vivid, precise, immediate and captivating delicacy of the fruit gets all the glory. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, maturation in 500-litre wooden barrels.

This is velvety and smooth, with red fruit everywhere. Cherries and strawberries. Ripe and juicy. Initially round and soft, it tapers along its way through the mouth and runs straight as a train over the palate. It combines substance with drinkability and levity with depth. It’s one of the few red wines which goes perfectly well with fish. – 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

Black cherry, sour cherry, marzipan, dried herb and game meat. Medium-bodied, sour cherry and orange rind, juniper, brisk acidity and fine chalky tannin, tart blackberry and spice on a juicy and pan-juicy finish of solid length. A distinctly ‘mineral’ feel here, and while it’s a little ‘off road’ in character, it’s a lovely thing to drink.

90 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

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

2019 Pittnauer St Laurent Vom Dorf $43

The fruit for Pittnauer St. Laurent Vom Dorf comes from the iron-rich, broken stone-strewn Goldberg,  Salzbergacker, Zwickelacker and Jungäcker vineyard.

So here we have St. Laurent in top form from perhaps the best vintage of the last decade. It was warm but never too hot and, thanks to a rainy May, completely stress-free for the vines. The autumn was golden, the sky blue, and the grapes ripe and pristine. Nothing stood in the way of a smooth vinification.

Most of the vineyards in which our St. Laurent is rooted are located on the Parndorfer Platte. It is a relic of the original Danube, as manifested in soils comprising gravel and alluvial sand. A few dozen wind turbines also clearly point out what else characterises the Parndorfer Platte: somewhat cooler conditions and consequently longer vegetative periods, which is extremely noticeable in an early-ripening variety like St. Laurent.

In the cellar we did what had to be done. The fermentation started spontaneously as always, and the wine’s expansion took place in used 500-litre wooden barrels. It was not fined or filtered, and only minimally sulphured.

This wine is playful, elegant and yet emphatic. It has vigour and power. The nose shows deep, clear, cool, red-berry fruit. It’s mineral, powerful and vital on the palate. The tannins are very fine, the structure juicy and light-footed, yet noticeably compact. The wine has superb drinking flow and makes you want a second bottle. – Gerhard Pittnauer

2015 Pittnauer ‘Pittnauski’ $49

The Pittnauski is a very personal wine to Gerhard Pittnauer, one that he has longed to create. Using his decades of knowledge and experience, Gerhard has created a wine that isn’t driven by tannin and alcohol but subtlety, all the while expressive and complex. Fruit for the blend comes from Gerhard and Brigitte’s best vineyards Rosenberg (sandy), Altenberg (clay) and Ungerberg (loam), located in Austria’s northern Burgenland. It’s composed of Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent (roughly 40:40:20). Separately fermented and vinified, the wines are aged individually in barrel. Once combined the blend is bottled without filtration.
The 2015 Pittnauer Pittnauski is juicy and vibrant. Dark fruits, red petals with pepper and earth tones fill the palate. Firm tannin creates structure and balance. Delicious.

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

Certified biodynamic blend of Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt from the Ungerberg. Rosenberg, Altenberg and Setz vineyards. Soils are sandy and clay with some chalk. Matured for 20 months in used barrique barrels.
Pannobile is the individual interpretation of a mutual brainchild. Created by the nine members of the eponymous winemaker-collective, Pannobile is an idea which has stood the test of time. Sense of place and grape variety – or better grape varieties – of the region take centre stage. And – an unwritten rule of our group – it is at least a couple of them; in our special case Blaufränkisch & Zweigelt make up equal parts. However, depending on the vintage, this emphasis can change. We choose our grapes from separately fermented batches of our best vineyards between Weiden and Gols which we taste meticulously before we combine them. Zweigelt provides a broad and succulent body which is balanced by the muscles and dynamics of the Blaufränkisch. Ageing takes place on the lees in used barriques and 500-litre wooden barrels for around 18 months.

The new Pannobile is evidence that 2016 was a brilliant year for blithe, subtle and invigorating wines. The flavours are precise: red-berried and gently highlighted by herbal insinuations. The mouthfeel is cool and delicate, shaped by a fresh and vital acidity and firm tannins. The body unifies elegance and energy and gives way to a focused and multi-layered finish.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *