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Ried Spitzerberg 2016 – The finest rendition to date
22 February 2019

We are delighted today to offer the new single vineyard Ried Spitzerberg 2016 from leading Carnuntum estate, Muhr-Van der Niepoort. Once again the team have produced a supremely elegant, complex expression of Blaufrankisch that is mightily-deserving of attention. In fact, attention it has been getting and, thanks to Dorli Muhr’s leading example, the Spitzerberg is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the very finest terroirs in Austria. Indeed, Anne Krebiehl MW in The World of Fine Wine Issue 62 recounts how, in 2002, Dorli “kissed this sleeping beauty of a site awake” with her then husband, Dirk Niepoort. At that time, following extensive travel and time living abroad, she decided to head home and vinify a small plot of vines she had inherited from her grandmother in the then unknown region of Carnuntum. The first vintage yielded just 500L of juice, but it sparked something! In the intervening years the Muhr-Van der Niepoort estate has slowly grown to twelve hectares thanks to new plantings and the careful nurturing of old, formerly abandoned plots. A small cellar was built in 2007 and a full time winemaker, Lukas Brandstatter, was brought on in 2014. With him on board the wines have never been better. 2016 is perhaps their finest and most graceful rendition of Ried Spitzerberg to date. Moreover, Dorli’s example has inspired their neighbours, and today winemaking on the Spitzerberg has been totally reinvigorated as local producers take a more collaborative approach to showcasing this exceptional site. In Krebiehl’s words, winemakers on the Spitzerberg “are totally behind it. They are a united group with a singular focus, working in a pared back style that tries to eschew all extraneous flavours and textures of extraction and wood, a style that tries to show off the site. They constitute what the Spitzerberg never had: strong advocates who make a uniquely elegant, peppery, long-lived, and above all, totally convincing style of Austrian Blaufranksich.”

The Spitzerberg is extraordinary insofar as it is dry, steep, and planted on almost pure limestone and calcareous sandy soils, where most Blaufrankisch is planted on heavier, loamy soils that tend to produce wines of richness and power. In our mind, these lack the finesse and fine boned structure of those on the Spitzerberg – and Dorli’s is surely the finest example. Muhr’s Spitzerberg is always imbued with a gentle texture, bright aromatics and ravishing acidity. The climate in Carnuntum is very cold in the winter but hot and dry in the summer, with regular breezes, which helps to protect the vineyard from disease pressure and produces small, concentrated berries of excellent health. Yields have decreased following complete conversion to organic viticulture and only the best and oldest parcels, totalling around a hectare, make their way in to the single vineyard designate Ried Spitzerberg. The remainder of the Blaufrankisch plots are blended to produce the delicious, entry-level Samt & Seide; the calling card of the estate.

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