It should no longer be a secret by now that I buy wine here and there just because I like the bottles and I find these two bottles pretty chic. Matthias Warnung has been making wine in Kamptal in Lower Austria since 2011. Before that, he was working as an intern at Tom Lubbe of Matassa in the south of France and at Craig Hawkins of Testalonga in South Africa after attending wine school. I just realized that we haven’t had any Testalonga here on the blog yet and I urgently need to change that. What Matthias brought back from these stations is the knowledge and the desire to make wine as close to nature as possible with minimal intervention in the cellar. The Grüner Veltliner Espere 2020 lies in used large wooden barrels in the cellar for over two years before it is filled with little sulfur. It goes without saying that spontaneous fermentation takes place here and that neither filtering nor fining is done when filling. The Welschriesling Feldstück 2018 is also aged for two years in used wood.
At first glance, there’s not much going on in the nose with the Espere. That’s quiet and reserved and smells a bit like mirabelle and very light plums and that’s how it tastes then too. Very fresh, bright and somehow like plum that was picked a bit too early directly from the tree. In the nose, a small note of glue is added and a bit of quince. Despite all the restraint in the smell, there is a lot of momentum on the tongue. That’s really very fresh, has a fine structure at the back of the tongue, pulls again and then sticks to the palate and stays there. With air, the wine becomes creamier and now has more pome fruit than stone fruit.
Due to lack of time and other plans, only a very short tasting sip was possible on the second evening. That is more intense and at the same time more difficult to classify. I still find that it reminds me of the light flesh of plums. The better half smells much more quince. It has definitely become more complex though.
And that’s how it stays then. The fruit is pretty indefinable on the third evening with a wild mix of canned fruit salad, minimal smoke, mirabelles, pears and plums with a touch of glue. But that sounds much wilder than the wine actually is, because clean it is in any case and the acid pull on the tongue also brings a lot of fun. Only I would have never guessed Grüner Veltliner without knowing it. But that doesn’t bother me at all and I’m quite impressed by the wine.
With the Feldstück Welschriesling I briefly wonder if this is even more restrained than the Veltliner. But it is not, it is just even harder to grasp. The wine is herbal, has almost no fruit and a bit of smoke. The acidity is just as fresh as in the Espere, but it feels very different. It reminds me more of the acidity in orange juice, very citrusy, very juicy and with less structure but with just as much length. But that lenght is also very different and happens more on the tongue than on the palate.
Here I’m also glad that it disappears back into the fridge after a sip on the second day. There’s still the orange freshness, but otherwise it now seems really very closed.
The wine then becomes a bit more open on the third evening and I really like this mix of wonderfully fruity orange juice acidity, the resulting juiciness and the herbal elusive nose. Nevertheless, I had a little bit of hope that there would be more development. Not because I think it needs it. As I said, it tastes really good, but just out of interest where it wants to go. But maybe it’s already there where it wants to go. What I can’t say is how typical Welschriesling this Welschriesling is. I have the grape variety much too rarely in the glass. I drink Grüner Veltliner relatively rarely, but Welschrieslings I can count on one hand. The two wines are somehow different and yet very similar. In what they do on the tongue, how they work, how fresh they are. Certainly in need of attention, maybe too much for some days, but at the same time it is more than rewarded when you give them this attention.