Schloss Gobelsburg Eiswein Gruner Veltliner 2007
The Zwettl Monastery was founded in 1074 and in 1171 the Monks of Zwettl were granted their first vineyards: Heiligenstein & Gaisberg–the oldest documented sites in the Kamptal. The estate and Castle Gobelsburg was controlled by as many as 19 different families between 1074 and 1740, and in 1786 absorbed the famous Kammern Winery and vineyards. Two hundred years later Eva and Michael Moosbrugger were granted the winemaking and viticulural contract in 1996, and with the help and guidance of Michael’s mentor Willi Bründlmayer, the winery has regained its prestige and considered to be a leader in quality and innovation. In 2006 Michael Moosbrugger was awarded as ‘WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR’ by the Austrian magazine Falstaff, the highest award given to an Austrian winemaker, and in 2009 and 2010 the estate was acknowledged as ‘ONE OF THE TOP 100 WINERIES OF THE YEAR’ by Wine & Spirits Magazine.
Schloss Gobelsburg maintains a large number of parcels in Erste Lagen, or 1st Growth, vineyards in the Kamptal, including the mineral-rich, crystalline slopes of the Gaisberg and Heiligenstein planted to Riesling, and the deep loess soils of Renner, Grub, and Lamm planted to Grüner Veltliner. The winery continues to utilize organic winegrowing and has benefited from the fact that the monks of Zwettl Monastery began these practices as early as 1958.
While many international cellars are attempting to produce clean, uniform wines, Moosbrugger is convinced that the future Gobelsburg lies in individuality and character. As a high level of technology is necessary to warrant uniformity, Moosbrugger believes that individuality can only be achieved through the reduction of machines. Moosbrugger developed the ‘Dynamic Cellar Concept’ for Gobelsburg in which wines are no longer pumped from one location to the other, but transported in ‘barrels on wheels’ from one section of the cellar to the other.
A hallmark of the estate are the ‘Tradition’ bottlings of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. Having read the meticulous notations of the Cistercians at the estate over the past 150 years, Michi pays homage in his role as cellar master, responsible for the ‘education’ of his ‘pupils’ –wine- while leading them through elevage; as opposed to acting as ‘winemaker,’ whose decisions in present day Austria are generally to preserve aromatics and fruit through extremely reductive methods.
Climbing north and slightly east of the Kremstal region, Kamptal has very little vineyard area bordering the Danube River (unlike Wachau and Kremstal, whose vineyards run along it). The region takes its name from the river called Kamp, which traverses it north and south. Kamptal’s densely planted vineyards represent eight percent of Austria’s total.
The area experiences wide diurnal temperature variations like the Wachau but with less rain and more frost. Its vast geologic diversity makes it suitable for various experimentations with other varieties besides Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder), Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, St. Laurent and Zweigelt.
But the region is probably most noted for the beautiful and expansive terraced Heiligenstein, arguably one of the world’s top Riesling sites, as well as some of Austria’s most extraordinary Grüner Veltliner vineyards. Kamptal’s soils, which are mostly loess and sand with some gravel and rocks, make it suitable for Grüner Veltliner, so much so that actually half of the zone is planted to that grape.
Fun to say and delightfully easy to drink, Grüner Veltliner calls Austria its homeland. While some easily quaffable Grüners come in a one-liter—a convenient size—many high caliber single vineyard bottlings can benefit from cellar aging. Somm Secret—About 75% of the world’s Grüner Veltliner comes from Austria but the variety is gaining ground in other countries, namely Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the United States.