Vienna is known for many things: fantastic opera, the Sound of Music, and stunning architecture. But just south of Vienna lies one of the most exciting natural wine regions in Europe.
Burgenland is hot, so hot that the Neusiedlersee lake almost completely evaporates on warmer years. With this in mind, Claus Preisinger manages to make incredibly vibrant, high-energy wines out of the area.
Born and bred Austrian Claus Preisinger spent years cutting his teeth at vineyards around the world, from California to his native Austria working for Anita and Hans Nittnaus. They taught him honest winemaking that respects the land it comes from, and he took that knowledge and started his own namesake vineyard.
All his wines are made with ambient yeasts and no sulfites—certified biodynamic! He also grows his grapes with organic compost and sprays them with herbal sprays, all while following the astronomical calendar.
The Zweigelt is one of the best iterations of mentality—dark purple and almost blue in color, the wine drinks with bold acidity and blackberry, blueberry and herbaceousness. Fun fact: The name, Kieselstein, refers to the small pebbles that dot the parcel of land Preisinger harvests these grapes from, adding a mineral undertone to the wine.
Though these processes sound laborious, every wine Preisinger produced manages to perfectly balance complexity with vibrant freshness: low-alcohol, mineral, and super drinkable. Keep an eye out for his Puszta Libre: a super-affordable wild child of a red wine made with Saint Laurent and Zweigelt.
Check out last week’s pick – Tbilvino’s Qvevris Rkatsiteli.