As Amber Revolution approches its second stretch goal on Kickstarter, what better way to celebrate than by reviewing another orange wine? This time we’re heading to Austria to revisit a producer already mentioned briefly on this site: The Rennersistas Chardonnay 2015.
I first encountered this wine blind, at a jovial drinking session in Dalston’s Newcomer Wines, an Austrian wine specialist. Naturally, I thought that I was tasting an Austrian orange wine made using Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, in the spirit of Weingut Werlitsch. So I was surprised to discover that the wine was 100% Chardonnay. I was even more surprised to find out that this was the first vintage made by sisters Susanne and Stefanie,
In 1988, the sisters’ parents Birgit and Helmuth took over the 13-hectare estate in Gols, an Austrian town close to the border with Hungary. When it came to choosing careers, the sisters went their own ways. Elder sister Susanne studied Fashion and hat-making. The younger Stefanie initially studied technical mathematics, then switched over to Culture Techniques and Water Management. Before returning home to the family estate, Stefanie worked with names probably familiar to the readers of the Morning Claret: Tom Lubbe of Domaine Matassa in Roussillon, Johan Hermann Meyer in Swartland/Elgin, and Tom Shobrook in Barossa Valley. Stefanie works in the cellar and Susanne heads up the business and communication side. Although the sisters’ winemaking is less conventional than their father Helmuth‘s, the estate has always taken a minimalistic approach in the cellar, and has been farming organically since 2009.
From 2016, Susanne and Stefanie took over full winemaking responsibilities at the estate, including the RENNER label. 2016 was also the year that they started biodynamic preparations. They are set to be Demeter certified from their 2018 vintage.
Hand-picked Chardonnay on 28 Aug and 3 Sep 2015. Destemmed 100%. Spontaneous fermentation after 7-8 days of skin maceration. Aged 8 months on lees in used French oak barrels. No fining or filtration, with only gravity used during the vinification and bottling process. No added sulphur. 11.5% ABV.
Initially marked by smokey gun flint and burnt tyre reduction. An aromatic orange is joined by honey and pineapple. A hint of vegetal gooseberry is another element that is atypical of Chardonnay. In some ways evocative of Alexandre Bain‘s ripe, often oxidative Sauvignon Blanc.
Very clean, despite the lack of added sulphur. Starts off with a pinch of salt, apple and lime. The acidity cuts through nicely, until richer fruits like apricot and orange come forward mid-palate. The overall impression is that of a margarita with subtle hints of umami. Or depending on your culinary orientation, a light kobucha kelp tea with umeboshi plum flakes. The minimal tannins and the light body makes this a very drinkable orange wine. The finish is elegant, with the lime notes lingering in the mouth for a considerable amount of time. I am still shocked that this is 100% Chardonnay!
Residual Sugar: 1.1g/l
Like the label? It was designed by Barbara Emberger of bsigned, a friend of Susanne’s from Vienna. Susanne explained “I think Barbara is doing a really good job and I wanted to give the project to somebody who is not in the label-making process or in the wine industry, but sees it differently or more from the outside. She’s like Steffi and me because we never went to wine school… So you work differently. The idea of a pictogram came from our side and Barbara made the final design. We also wanted to have a label family. So each label is the same but in different colours – [depending on] how we think they fit the wine.
Rennersistas wines are imported to the UK by Austrian wine specialists, Newcomer Wines.
In Continental Europe, Weinskandal offer shipping, but I was unable to find this Chardonnay.