Markus Altenburger is not only a dear friend but one of the most talented winemakers in Burgenland. I took the change for a short catch up with him in Jois on my way to Rust today. We just had an hour to exchange stories and gossips and to taste some of his wines.
It has been a while I tasted his collection, and I was amazed by how complex and individual his wines became over the last years. They reflect even clearer their Leithaberg terroir with its schist and distinctive limestone soils than in the past. This is because Markus works organically and has minimised overall interventions in the cellar and the vineyard towards a more “natural “style. Every wine of Markus range has its character. Four of the most exciting picks:
Neuburger “betont “2019 – made from the indigenous Austrian Neuburger variety with 72 hours maceration on skins and spontaneous fermentation in concrete eggs with minimal SO2, no fining and no filtration. Deep yellow colour with bruised apple, lemon tart, Curcuma, wet stone and herbal finish. Very textural with refined tannic grip on the palate.
Chardonnay Jungenberg 2017 – grapes from schist dominated plot with limestone influence spontaneously fermented in 1000 l oak barrels and concrete egg. Minimal SO2, unfined and unfiltered. Refined style with white peach and pear, lime and an intense mineral and salty finish.
Blaufränkisch Gritschenberg 2017 – This wine screams its origin from the limestone soil. Linear acidity, precise cherry, plum and boysenberry fruit with loads of Xmas spice. Layers of fine-grained tannins with fantastic length and depth.
Markus also produced just 500 bottles Zero Dosage Brut Nature sparkling, called “Blank 2015”. This wine grabbed me immediately with its “natural wine meets traditional method” approach: Spontaneously fermented base wines from Neuburger, Welschriesling and Chardonnay. Very earthy, with bruised apple, quince, liquorice – a touch Jura style. Elegant bubbles with a creamy texture and great length.