Pichler-Krutzler Klostersatz Pinot Blanc 2008
In the vinification, Erich and Elisabeth use indigenous yeasts for all cuvées except in an occasional year for the spring-bottled wines. For all of the top wines, like Supperin, Loibenberg, Pfaffenberg, Kellerberg, fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts in wood foudre from Stockinger of varying sizes up to 1500l., between 1 and 8 years, no toast. Because Erich has a vineyard of Blaufrankisch in the sudburgenland, they are not members of Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus. This gives Erich the flexibility to do things in vinification that he feels are more natural, and indeed he is very proud that they use no additives like finings in their wines and keeping their wines sometimes on the fine lees with very low SO2 for up to a year.
As Austria’s most prestigious wine growing region, the landscape of the Wachau is—not surprisingly—one of its most dramatic. Millions of years ago, the Danube River chiseled its way through the earth, creating steep terraces of decomposed volcanic and metamorphic rock. Harsh Ice Age winds brought deposits of ancient glacial dust and loess to the terrace’s eastern faces. Today these steep surfaces of nutrient-poor and fast draining soil are home to some of Austria’s very best sites for both Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
Wachau is small, comprising a mere three percent of Austria’s vine surface and, considering relatively low yields, represents a miniscule proportion of total wine production. Diurnal temperature shifts in Wachau facilitate great balance of sugar and phenolic ripeness in its grapes. At night cold air from the Alps and forests in the northwest displace warm afternoon air, which gets sucked upstream along the Danube.
Its sites are actually so varied and distinct that more emphasis is going into vineyard-designated offerings even despite grape variety. Grüner Veltliner and Riesling are most prominent, but the region produces Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder), Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Zweigelt among other local variants.
Approachable, aromatic and pleasantly plush on the palate, Pinot Blanc is a white grape variety most associated with the Alsace region of France. Although its heritage is Burgundian, today it is rarely found there and instead thrives throughout central Europe, namely Germany and Austria, where it is known as Weissburgunder and Alto Adige where it is called Pinot Bianco. Interestingly, Pinot Blanc was born out of a mutation of the pink-skinned Pinot Gris. Somm Secret—Chardonnay fans looking to try something new would benefit from giving Pinot Blanc a try.