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Heiligenstein, the most famous vineyard in the Kamptal, is legendary for Riesling. The terraced south and southwest facing slope has a unique geological history and it's unusual that soil this old is at the surface of the earth. The outcropping bedrock consists of a reddish-brown sandstone with a high feldspar content, coarse conglomerates, and minor siltstone. These sediments formed approximately 250-280 million years ago under arid conditions, in lakes, ponds, and ephemeral rivers. The rocks contain fossilized plants and gravel with clasts of volcanic rhyolite. Loess is only preserved in a few locations, within shallow depressions. Grapes that have achieved perfect ripeness and are botrytis-free are selected by hand and brought to the winery in small crates. The grapes are gently pressed and macerated cold for a few hours before being fermented spontaneously and then matured on the fine lees in 2000 liter wooden casks. Vines are 27 - 62 years-old and are planted between 300 - 340 meters above sea-level.
Weingut Jurtschitsch is one of the most prestigious wineries in Austria. Having previously been run by the three brothers Edwin, Paul and Karl Jurtschitsch, the family-owned winery has now been in the hands of Alwin Jurtschitsch and his wife, Stefanie Hasselbach (of Gunderloch fame in the Rheinhessen) for more than ten years.
Alwin and Stef are leaders of the natural wine movement in the Kamptal. When Alwin and Stef started working in 2006, they insisted with Alwin’s father and uncles on converting all the vineyards to organic viticulture. In the vineyards, they are continually improving how they work: replanting more densely, using whey to treat for mildew instead of using copper sulphate, and working with new pruning methods. All the vineyards are certified organic and protecting biodiversity has always been a priority. Jurtschitsch explains that, “The more life you have in the vineyard, the more stable the entire system is.” Wild life is abundant in the Jurtschitsch vineyards, with many fruit trees, grass, garlic, wildflowers and butterflies fluttering amongst the vines.
Jurtschitsch aims for a classic style of Kamptal wines, but more like an old-style of classic, that was made by their grandparents. This means, emphasizing the cool climate of Austria and making wines with finesse that strike a balance of ripe fruit and fresh acidity. Stefanie Jurtschitsch manages the winemaking and she is making wines which let the vineyards and soils speak for themselves. They only use spontaneous fermentations and work without any additions, aside from minimal sulfur. The entry-level wines are made in stainless steel, but all the single vineyard Erste Lagen wines are aged in large oak foudres. As of 2016, they have started a second line of wines called, 'Discoveries of Langenlois' which are bottled under "Alwin und Stefanie Jurtschitsch". These wines push boundaries and allow them to play outside of the classic style, opting for skin contact, and low to no sulfur. Although the two lines show different expressions, the essential is that the farming is the same and both are low intervention in the cellar; they are two sides to the same coin. The wines shine in multi-faceted elegance, offering drinking pleasure at highest level without being baroque and heavy.
Denny & Katie
Your friendly neighborhood wine shop and tiny bar, focused on small production wines and conservas. Connect with us on Instagram for suggestions on your next bottle and to follow along in our downtown Lafayette wine journey.
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210 EAST VERMILION STREET LAFAYETTE, LA 70501
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