Vines in the City of Wien
Vienna, or Wien as the locals call it, is the only city in the world where vineyards flourish inside city limits. Steeped in history, the Nussberg vineyard sites are situated near the Grinzing suburb above the city center and are the homes to some of the oldest vines in Austria if not the most storied. From the times of Marie Theresa these vineyards have produced a unique style of wine called Gemischter Satz. A few winemakers in Wien were determined to bring Wiener Gemischter Satz back and reclaim their cultural wine from obscurity, lifting it to cult status. Among these pioneers was Stefan Hajszan, who after acquiring some 20 hectares of vineyards on the Nussberg was the first winemaker to cultivate his Wiener Gemischter Satz vineyards biodynamically. With his financial partner Neumann, Stefan continued to experiment and produce Wiener Gemischter Satz in a refined and elegant style. Today, the winery and vineyards have come under the control of imminent winemaker and well-known Wiener Gemischter Satz producer Fritz Wieninger. Taking over the 20 hectares of Hajszan Neumann, Fritz aims to continue his friend and mentor’s dedication to producing top quality, terroir driven, Wiener Gemischter Satz.
Wein Wine Region
At the intersection of several different climate zones, Vienna is blessed with unique viticultural conditions. The Pannonian climate contributes to the maturity in the wine while cool winds from the north give the wine fresh and fruity notes. It’s a perfect combination of forces to produce fruity, elegant wines fun for drinking. The temperate Mediterranean climate and the diverse soil content consisting of slate, loam, marl, loess and pure sand, are ideal conditions for white grape varietals. In fact, 85% of plantings are dedicated to white varieties.
Gemischter Satz, most often described as a field blend of different varieties, cultivated and vinified together has been a traditional wine of Viennese buschenschank and heurigen. Winemakers in former times made this style of wine as an easy cure all, in that different types of varieties planted together would be impervious to the unpredictability of mother nature. Where one variety may ripen early and others later, cultivating and vinifying this cornucopia of grapes together helped to insure the resulting wine was balanced and drinkable no matter the growing or harvest conditions. Conversely, Gemischter Satz may have fallen out of favor in the intervening years as monoculture of single varieties expressing terrior gained popularity. Gemischter Satz was looked down upon as a base wine suitable only for mass consumption. In the late eighties many Gemischter Satz vineyards were dug up, left fallow, or replanted with a single variety. In the intervening years, Viennese winemakers, eager to reconnect with a bygone era began to take another look at Gemischter Satz. Historic vineyards above the city center upon the famed Nussberg were once again harvested. Winemakers, such as Fritz and Stefan began to craft more complex Gemischter Satz styles, a far cry from the simpler wines characteristic of the past. Through their persistence and hard work, along with dedicated work coming from other Viennese producers, Wiener Gemischter Satz garnered DAC status in 2013. Guidelines of the DAC, or Districtus Austriae Controllatus, include: At least three quality white varieties grown in a Viennese vineyard, then harvested and pressed together. The blend must be composed of no more than 50% of the first varietal and no less than 10% of the third largest portion, and there must be no expression of oak. Further guidelines cover single vineyard plantings. Unlike most DAC designations, this is the first time a wine style as well as a growing region has been codified.
Nussberg Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC 2014
This fragrant and fresh wine shows plenty of complexity as well. The palate is elegant, light and tasty, and exudes a vibrant acidity structure. This wine delivers pure pleasure with its spicy, fresh character and makes an ideal companion for light cuisine.
Varieties: 30% Grüner Veltliner, 26% Pinot Blanc, 22% Riesling, 15% Welschriesling, 5% Sauvignon Blanc, and 2% Traminer
Alc. 12.5%; Acidity 5.9 g/l; Residual sugar 1.8 g/l
Your Neighborhood Heuringer and Buschenshank
Gemischter Satz is commonly associated with Vienna’s heuriger or buschenshank, culture. An early example of the now popular “farm to table” concept, the family heuriger or wine tavern traces its roots to 1794, when Enlightenment era Emperor, Joseph II passed an edict allowing producers to sell their own wines. It gave winemakers the opportunity to share their latest creations to the public from their own home, and is now an integral part of Austrian culture. Typically, these heurigers, can be found near the winery or nestled within the vineyards with long wooden community tables indicative of the traditional, social nature of these institutions. Patrons are able to purchase Austrian delicacies like cheeses and house made charcuterie platters, served with sliced bread and various spreads to compliment the wine and good company. A real heuriger is not allowed to serve any hot foods. Traditional Viennese music played by a local band is also a customary highlight and adds to the charm of these cultural gathering places. In Austria this warm, friendly character and atmosphere of the heuriger is referred to as Gemütlichkeit. A smaller version of a heuriger is called a “buschenschank,” often times hidden amongst the vineyards serving food and wine for only a few weeks per year. The name derives from the classic bundle of pine boughs, known as a “buschen,” found at the entrance as a signal that the wine is ready and as a welcome for guests to come in.
Presenting Amador’s Wirtshaus & Greißlerei
Hajszan Neumann and Fritz Wieninger are proud to announce the renovation of the winery’s restaurant. Now led by three Michelin star chef, Juan Amador, patrons are treated to an amazing six course meal in the newly remodeled cellar dining room. Amador’s modern cuisine pairs well with an extensive selection of wine from not only Hajszan Neumann but world wide offerings curated by Fritz. A boon to the local foodie scene, Amador’s Wirsthaus & Greißlerei, will fast become a destination for epicures everywhere.
A Divine Dynamic Line
Fritz Wieninger and Hajszan Neumann’s story is one of transformation and self-discovery. Fritz’s path to enlightenment began with his own vineyards. He eschewed conventional practices of the time, embracing his historic Gemischter Satz vineyards rather than ripping them up to replant with a single variety. Wholeheartedly convinced of the potential for Gemischter Satz, Fritz became one of its most vocal proponents. He helped found the Wien Wein group in 2006, of which he is still the chairman. Wien Wein is a dedicated group of Viennese wineries whose mission is to, “. . . set new measures of quality for Vienna wine; to show wine lovers both in Vienna and beyond the Austrian borders, that wine from Vienna has its own unique character; to enhance every wine list and to claim a place in the international wine world.” Through their efforts Wiener Gemischter Satz has become more well known by the wine cognoscenti and those wine lovers eager to discover Old World gems. 2006 was a seminal year for Fritz, marking his transition to biodynamic farming, a practice taught to him by Stefan Hajszan, the original practitioner of the method in Vienna. Fritz witnessed the gradual improvement and health of his vineyards and resultant wines year by year. So convinced of the importance of this method of farming, Fritz is also a member of Respekt, the most important biodynamic vintners organization in Austria. Upon the acquisition of Stefan Hajszan’s vineyards in 2014, Fritz is now able to fully embrace his winemaking evolution. For someone whose wine school dissertation was on the uses of sulphur in winemaking, he has come a long way to now crafting complex, extended skin contact, fermented in concrete egg, white wines, from Hajszan Neumann fruit. The introduction of these orange wines under the Natural name, debuted at Vie Vinum 2016. They include a Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC and a Traminer, marking a new beginning for the winery and, indeed, for Fritz, as he is able to mold the character of Hajszan Neumann in new and dynamic ways.