Prieler 2017 Blaufrankisch Ried Johanneshöhe, Burgenland, Austria
Prieler 2017 Blaufrankisch, Ried Johanneshöhe, Burgenland, Austria
Winemaker: Silvia Prieler
Varieties: 100% Blaufränkisch
Terroir: The Blaufrankisch Ried Johanneshöhe is sourced from 9 different parcels in Schützen that are dominated by limestone, mica schist, and portions of slate. Fermented in stainless steel before being racked into used stockinger barrels, "It shows a lovely Vino Nobile aroma, round, barky, rugged but not rustic, focused but analog; it has warmth but also shape and outline, and a really articulate pepperiness," according to importer Terry Thiese.
The Prieler estate is located in Schützen, on the western side of the Lake Neusiedl. It is a historic old farm once dedicated to many types of agriculture, but now specializes only in grape growing. Two generations of the Prieler family now run the estate: Engelbert and Irmgard, who in 1972 focused the estate on quality production of several grape varieties, mainly Blaufränkisch and Burgundian grapes. Their son, Georg, now heads the estate and continues working to best express the unique terroir of the Leithagebirge. Prieler’s 20 hectares are currently cultivated in vineyards between the Leithagebirge, the last outpost of the eastern Alps that protect the vines from the western winds, and the Lake Neusiedl, which tempers the hot climate of the Pannonian plain. Basking in 2000 hours of sunshine annually, North Burgenland is the sunniest region in all of central Europe, with far below-average rainfall.
Prieler’s focus on Blaufränkisch as well as Burgundian varieties such as chardonnay, pinot blanc, and pinot noir, which have a long history of cultivation in this part of Burgenland. The area around Vienna was cultivated by Cistercian and Franciscan monks, who founded monasteries along the Danube and brought these varieties from France and Germany. Silvia Prieler, with a PhD in biochemistry, brings international experience to the cellar including an interim at Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.
Tasting Notes: The red “Prieler Classic”: a typical Blaufränkisch vinified in large wooden casks. Dark berry fruit and a touch of orange zest over a background of subtle herbal spice. Juicy, refreshing red berry nuances, fine-grained tannin.
May 2020 Bottle Club Feature!
Eastern Austria, on to the border of Hungary, is an interesting and dynamic winegrowing region that a lot of people don’t know about (but should). Mainly built out around the banks of Lake Neusiedl, Central Europe’s largest and most shallow lake, Burgenland sits at the eastern-most edge of the Alps. These dramatic mountains protect the vines from the harsh cold winds from the North, while the shallow lake’s constant evaporation helps to temper warmth in the area during hot summer days. (Notable fact: the lake’s constant evaporation provides a nice stream of humidity that makes great conditions for sweet wine production, of which Burgenland is famous for!) Burgenland actually sees over 2,000 hours of sunshine in a year, making it the sunniest winegrowing region in all of Central Europe!
The Prieler family dates back several centuries as an agricultural family in the village of Schutzen, on the western banks of the lake, but only in the last century did they begin to focus exclusively on wine grapes. Seeing the amiable climate of Burgenland, Engelbert and Irmgard decided to focus on only a handful of varieties in 1972: Blaufränkisch and Burgundian grapes like Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.
As a grape, Blaufränkisch is a dynamic one; it can be light-bodied or full-bodied, jammy or tart, all depending on the winemaker’s hand. Luckily, the Prieler’s strive to showcase their fruit in the best light possible, not shying away from oak or extended aging to bring depth and complexity to a grape that takes well to it. The Blaufränkisch ‘Ried Johanneshöhe’ can be considered an introduction to their top red wines. This bottling is sourced from 9 different parcels in Schützen that are dominated by limestone, mica schist and portions of slate, lending minerality and edge to the brambly ripe fruit notes in the wine. The juice is fermented in stainless steel before being racked into used stockinger barrels, to give added earthiness and a bit of smoke.
We like this wine on its own, sure, but why not enjoy it with something straight off the grill? Summer sausage, a little bbq chicken, or a burger? Yes, please!