As you can imagine, working in the wine trade can have many perks – one being visiting our producers! Our most recent trip was Austria, which included meeting the faces behind the bottle. The highlight of the trip for me was Weingut Johann Topf, a small family producer in the middle of Strass in the Kamptal wine region just north of the Danube to the west of Vienna.
An interesting lesson I took from tasting the wine was the significant difference in the taste of two wines - same grape variety only planted in different vineyards. We tasted Grüner Veltliner (a white grape and the most widely planted variety in Austria). For the first wine the grapes come from vines planted in different sites around the town while the second wine is from a single site: Wechselberg. The main difference between these vineyards is the soil, Strassertal is a mixture of sandy gravel and primary rock whereas the Wechselberg vineyard has schist soil which includes volcanic slate. As you can imagine, both were delicious! But I was amazed by how two bottles from the same grape variety could produce such different tasting wines. Strassertal produced a typical Veltliner which was crisp and dry with grapefruit and white pepper notes on the palate while the Wechselberg although similar was a lot fuller, rounder and had greater depth and power to go with food. We found this difference with the Rieslings they planted in both vineyards too!
Another great experience in the winery was visiting their crazy cellar. You definitely don’t imagine from the picture on the label that you will be taken on a tour of a cellar with a history up to 400 years! Down here they had the beginning of the future of the vineyard where their two eldest sons have started to embark on their own wine journey and their names and dates of birth are carved into their very own wine barrels. After trying Maximillan’s Riesling, I can definitely tell you that the future of the vineyard is safe with them.
Gwin Dylanwad Wine
26th April 2018