The Lucian family invited guests to the Burg Hotel in Oberlech for the Young Winegrowers’ Gathering for the seventh time this year. This time, the focus was on the use of wood in the pressing of the grapes.
Every year, an enthusiastic and growing fan community meets at the Burg Hotel at the start of July to sample the wines of the young winegrowers. This always involves a blind tasting and assessment. This time, the host came up with an even more difficult task. The wines served in carafes had to be assigned points as well as allocated to the correct bottles.
It is difficult enough to identify a wine’s grape variety and region of origin. But making distinctions within a region or between neighbouring regions is an even greater challenge. Lorenz Haas, the jun- ior from the Allram vineyard in Strass im Strassertale, was the only one to manage it successfully.
He was also successful with his own wines. The Grauburgunder Hasel 2012 from Allram landed in 5 th place. Some of the wines are aged in a barrique and the remainder in a steel tank. A wine which is still very young and has a long future. The most points went to the Riesling Kollmitz Smaragd 2012 from Franz Pichler (not the FX) in Wösendorf. A fruity and rounded Riesling which is not lacking in acidity, despite the warm year.
The right use of wood
Chardonnay Hasel 2013 from the Topf vine- yard ranked in second place. A very elegant Burgundy which proves yet again just how important the right use of wood can be. Maximilian and Hans-Peter Topf also im- pressed with their Grüner Veltliner Hans Topf 2008 which is powerful, diverse, very youthful and a great representative of this variety all at the same time.
The best red wine of the day, the Blaufränkisch Bodigraben 2012 Güterweg from the Wellanschitz vineyard, came in not even a tenth of a point lower. The same wine from 2014 is even more impressive but did not feature in the competition. Stefan-David Wellanschitz also served up the Well 2014 for comparison. This once lavish wine has a much fruitier and lively nature thanks to the subtle use of wood. These are two great examples of the possibilities of the very challenging 2014 vintage.
Less wood with white wines
While the winning wine did not involve the use of wood, some of these wines had at least come into contact with wood. Even white wines can benefit from wood and there are even some exceptional examples of Rieslings aged in wood. The Germans in particular are experienced at this.
“Wooden casks have always been used in wine preparation,” says Gerhard Lucian. The Lech-based hotelier is an experienced wine connoisseur with some 50,000 bot- tles stored in his cellar. His insight: “The exuberant years with intensive use of bar- riques are over in Austria. Fruity wines are in demand. So more and more used casks are involved. With white wines, consumers prefer less wood but a wood taste is pref- erable with red wines. The Californians in- troduced a significant use of wood 20 years ago but these wines have no flow”.