It was a real pleasure to meet Gerhard Pittnauer and taste his wines at the WineMason tasting earlier this year. Weingut Pittnauer is based in Austria’s Burgenland, at the north east corner of Lake Neusiedl (the Neusiedlersee: area 9 in the map below); the body of water prevents winters being too harsh so it’s great for producing red wines.
These are the wines which impressed me most:
Pitt Nat is a pun on Pét-Nat, the trendy slang for Pétillant-Naturel, a naturally sparkling style of wine that predates Champagne, Prosecco and the rest. Rather than sugar and yeast being added to an already fully fermented wine, the wine is bottled before it has finished its primary fermentation, and thus the carbon dioxide produced is dissolved into the liquid.
2016 is only Pittnauer’s second vintage of this wine but it’s so successful I hope they retain it in their range. It’s a light rosé made from 90% Zweigelt and 10% Blaufrankisch, slightly cloudy from remaining yeast. Fruity with a touch of pleasant sourness, it finishes dry (as their is no dosage, of course). Very nice drinking!
Pittnauer Pitti 2015 (13.5%, RRP €19 at Baggot St Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Mitchells, Redmonds & SIYPS)
Pitti is the all-rounder red of the range, made of 50% Zweigelt, 40% Blaufränkisch and 10% Merlot. It shows a little red but mainly black fruit – blackberries in particular. There’s also something of the other in there – pepper and black olive – which add savoury notes to the fruit. A great introduction to red Austrian wine.
Pittnauer Zweigelt Heideboden 2015 (13.5%, RRP €21 at Red Island, The Corkscrew, 1601 Kinsale & SIYPS)
Zweigelt is an Austrian-born cross of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch which is now the country’s most widely grown black grape. It’s not the only varietal Zweigelt made by Pittnauer, but it’s from a single village and is more intensely fruity and structured. A mixture of new and old oak was used to add a little heft, but it doesn’t obscure the delicious black fruit – nor the hint of liquorice. Acidity is present and correct; this is a great food wine.
Pittnauer St Laurent Dorflagen 2015 (12.0%, RRP €25 at 1601 Kinsale, The Corkscrew & Redmonds)
Saint or Sankt Laurent is the most widely plated black grape in the Czech Republic, second in Slovakia and third in Austria. Its origins are uncertain but it can be loosely thought of as Pinot Noir with a bit more oomph! Compared to the other Pittnauer reds this is a lighter wine – the 12.0% abv gives a clue – with red and black fruit sharing the stage. Fresh acidity and light, crunchy tannins complete the picture
Another Brick in the Wall series: