Paul Achs Lust and Leben 2017
Well-drained soil and the warm Pannonian climate gives Lust & Leben a ripe and generous fruit character while also being approachable and easy to drink. The wine is both ripe and savory with ripe cherry fruit and refreshing profile with no taste of wood despite 18 months aging in used barrels.
Paul's vineyards of are found in two main areas near Gols, a small winemaking village located in the Neusiedlersee district of Austria’s Burgenland region. Heideboden, a flat and gravelly area between Gols and the lake, is a consistent source of fresh and easy-drinking red wines. The second area is the Parndorfer Platte, a south-facing escarpment of complex soils situated near the villages of Gols and Mönchoff. The Parndorfer Platte is the source of three single-vineyard Blaufränkisch: Ungerberg, Altenberg, and Spiegel. Here, the diversity of soil combines with a southern exposure to give wines of profound expression and longevity. Paul Achs joined the Respekt biodynamic group in 2006 and farms all 25 hectares biodynamically. Yields are limited to 35 hectoliters per hectare, and the wines age in small and large oak barrels. Heideboden, the basic Blaufränkisch, and Edelgrund, a single-vineyard Blaufränkisch from the Heideboden area with 30-year-old vines, are aged in used oak barrels. The Blaufränkisch single vineyards typically see between 10-30% new oak. Ungerberg is a 3-hectare site on sandy loam. Altenberg is made only in top vintages and is from gravel and fossil limestone. Spiegel, a flatter vineyard with chalky soils, gives a particularly powerful Blaufränkisch.
The source of Austria’s finest botrytized sweet wines, Burgenland covers a lofty portion of Austria's wine producing real estate. It encompasses the smaller regions of Neusiedlersee, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, Mittelburgenland and Südburgenland. The latter two are most associated with their exceptional red wines. The region as a whole produces no shortage of important whites.
Neusiedlersee, named for the lake that it surrounds to the east, is home to a great diversity of grape varieties. The region’s most notable wines, however, are the botrytis-infected, sweet versions.
Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, which wraps the lake on its western side, includes the town of Rust, a historically esteemed wine community. Its close proximity to the lake’s fog and mist make it another source of some of the more prestigious botrytized wines. Neusiedlersee-Hügelland also produces fine Blaufränkisch, Pinot Blanc, Neuburger and Grüner Veltliner, though a label will usually name the more general, Burgenland, so as not to confuse it with its eastern cousin, Neusiedlersee, across the lake.
Blaufränkisch is well suited to and makes up over half of the vineyard area in Mittelburgenland. The region’s hills and plateaus, which are composed of variations in schist, loess and clay-limestone, produce high quality reds with interesting diversity.
Südburgenland, also known for its deep, complex and age-worthy Blaufränkisch, is beginning to turn out some alluring whites from Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc).
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.