Once an important Jewish community. Deutschkreutz. After the expulsion, ordered by the Emperor Leopold I, ended in 1671, many Jews settled again in the Hungarian kingdom. The village of Deutschkreutz, back then named Németkeresztúr, became a haven for Jews. But then, after the world war I, the community, or rather the whole area, was given to Austria in 1921 and the number of jews were gradually reduced. Not because of the handing over but for reasons we all now happened a decade and two later. Today, there are some outposts left that testifies the once flourishing jewish society, but that’s basically it.
Deutschkreutz of today is mostly about wine. Located in Blaufränkischland, in Mittelburgenland, it is logical one makes a stop in the charming little village. We’re on our way to the Vinothek at Vinatrium to taste our way through two dozens of Blaufränkisch wines. Again it is a beautiful morning and all is set for a day closing in at 27-28 C. The flowering is close, a day or two away, which is just as exciting to experience as the harvest time. The buds are so fragile and a lot is determined already now what we can expect later in the end of the summer – or early fall.
Deutschkreutz. Sopronkeresztúr in Hungarian. Can’t come much closer to Hungary. Something that the road signs also reveal. And since the opening of the borders, it also makes life a bit easier, being able to pass through Hungary without the rigorous controls anymore. Hoorah for EU. Not everything about this union is a bad idea afterall, if it is not all about money, interest rates and blaiming each other for not handling their economies. Open borders. How great isn’t that?
Kékfrankos in Hungary. However, now we are in Austria and then it’s Blaufränkisch. It strikes me when tasting yet a bunch of Blaufränkisch wines from Mittelburgenland, that here you can, roughly speaking, divide the producers in two groups. The ones that prefers the more red berries, sour cherries style. In other words, an acidity driven Blaufränkisch. The other half prefers a darker cherry style with more rounded character. Or as Herr und Frau Österreicher perhaps would say: less ‘sour’. Still, what impresses is the consensus in not overdoing the oak aging. Where perhaps Eisenberg and Carnuntum still are in a try-out phase, Mittelburgenland has found their way. And it’s a good path they’ve chosen, focusing primarily on the grape character.
Not a memorable wine but well made and with the classic sour cherries style and fine mouth-watering acidity and fruit, is the 2008 Hochberg from Hans Igler. A wine to serve slightly chilled with pork dishes. Built in the same way is the 2008 Mitterberg from Neubauer. Slightly sweeter berries but not reaching up to the Hochberg’s concentration, it is still a nice glass and a typical Mittelburgenland Blaufränkisch. The 2009 Classic from Grenzlandhof Familie Reumann shows more potential. Blind tasted this could be mistaken for a classic Valpolicella. Bitter almonds and cherries. Will probably need some time to settle. A step up in quality and adding a touch of oak is the 2009 Vitikult Ried Sonnensteig from Rotweine Lang. Thanks to the higher concentration it handles the oak very well but stays in the red sour cherries section. Elegance and fine balance. 2009 is a year to buy here. At least if you wish the sometimes green notes of Blaufränkisch should stay in the peripheral background.
A wine that shows a lot for being an entry wine, is the 2009 Hochberg from Wellanschitz. Quite dense, fine structure and ripe cherries. Should attract many wine consumers that wants to get acquainted with Blaufränkisch. At step up in price and a bit in quality as well, is the 2009 Sonnberg from Prickler. Dense, lovely acidity and ripe fruit. Good glass. Also the 2008 Reserve Platinum from United Vineyards Pfneisl Family shows potential. Leaning towards a more modern style, it still manages to stay elegant and keep the regional style. Riper cherries and no dominating green notes. For a 2008 it is a fine effort.
Amongst the Blaufränkisch wines preferring the dark side, that is, less sour cherries, a denser style, more oak and ripe fruit (not necessarily all these components in the wines), one will find the premium wines and also a style more approachable without food. Dense and with ripe berry notes, is the 2008 Hochacker from Gesellmann. More evident tannin structure as well. Good glass. Built in the same way is the 2008 Fabian from Reumann. Modern approach with some toasted oak and ripe fruit. Dry taste with dense structure. Feels quite approachable already. The 2008 Steineche from Lehrner OG shows more oak than the previous one, but also aging potential. Elegant. Again, the difference between 2008 and 2009 becomes evident when the 2009 Reserve Weisses Kreuz from Strehn is poured. The oak is better suited by the ripe fruit of the vintage and this wine shows a darker cherry style with spices and a good tannin structure.
Amongst the most concentrated wines tasted this morning, the 2008 Reserve Dürrau from IBY Rotweingut catches my attention. Built for aging with darker fruit, plums and cherries, and a toasted oak feel. Some green notes but in this case it only adds depth. Dense and long. A wine to follow the coming years. Two other wines worth checking out are the 2008 Reserve Goldberg from K+K Kirnbauer and the 2007 Reserve Alte Reben from Weninger. Both shows a sweet ripe berry nose with good concentration. While the Goldberg shows more oak, the Weninger wine adds some maturity and more funk in the nose. There’s a slight sweetness in the taste in both of the wines (2,5 respectively 2,4 grams of residual sugar) but not as a disturbing component. Au contraire, this probably will just help the wines in their aging.
Next part handles the DAC of Eisenberg.
PS.2. Said it before, saying it again; I was invited by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board to visit Burgenland and Carnuntum.