If you made a list of the world’s most vertiginous wine regions, Southern Styria would certainly be amongst them. Vineyards sprawl up and down extraordinary gradients, at unlikely angles to each other. It’s a breathtaking, individual landscape, and therefore quite fitting that the area is home to some of Austria’s most unconventional wines and producers.
The production methods for Tscheppe’s Erdfass (“earth barrel”), also known as Hirschkäfer (Stag beetle), seem bizarre at first glance. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnary ferments on the skins for two weeks, and is then transferred into a 600 litre oak barrel which is buried in the ground over the winter months. After the winter, the barrel is dug up, the wine continues to mature and is then bottled after 24 months.
I employ a crude rating system when I’m jotting down tasting notes in the field. A wine gets either no stars (anything from terrible to quite good), one star (very good/excellent), or very rarely two stars (outstanding). 2015’s first two star wine was Josko Renčel’s stunning white blend, simply called “cuvée”.
I made many discoveries at last Friday’s Orange Wines Festival, in gorgeous Izola, Slovenia (full report coming soon) – but none more pleasurable than the wines of Ronco Severo, based in Friuli Colli Orientali. Having twice visited the village of Prepotto, where Schioppettino is king, I wondered how I’d managed to miss such a great producer.
Ronco Severo is Stefan Novello, who started on his winemaking journey in 1998. Novello makes a delicious skin macerated Ribolla Gialla, and an aromatic, creamy Friulano, but the pick of the bunch for me was his white blend “Severo Bianco 2012”
Orange wines have been on my mind lately, having spent the last few weeks writing an article for Decanter. Needing inspiration, I pulled the cork on two rather fine examples of the genre. They were so good, they deserve some blog love here… Radikon Oslavje First up was Radikon’s Oslavje 2003 – a blend of Chardonnay, […]
A few days before the end of 2013, I said goodbye to Eisenstadt, the tiny Austrian town that has been my home for most of the year. New adventures in Amsterdam are calling – but this blog isn’t supposed to be autobiographical, so let’s get back to the wine. Eisenstadt may be small, but it’s […]
There’s an almost reactionary view that winemakers who practice organic or biodynamic viticulture end up having to be more, rather than less interventionist in the vineyard. The theory goes that instead of a single (noxious) spraying to knock out mildew/pests/anything else living, the organic or biodynamic vigneron will have to tramp through their vineyard countless […]
Technology can be a double-edged sword. Always-on internet and social media allow us to network and broadcast as never before, but that immediacy can sometimes be problematic. At last year’s European Wine Bloggers Conference, the organisers went to great pains to ensure that we delegates had a near-constant wifi connection, enabling us to blog, tweet, […]
Friuli-Venezia Giulia is Italy’s most North-Easterly region. Like many European border areas, Friuli has a composite identity made up of Italian, Slovenian and Teutonic cultures. Those borders, which can seem so trivial now (on our visit, we drifted into Slovenia and back, with nary a battered sign to remind us), have been hard fought over […]