Rotgipfler (Rot-GIP-fler) is one of Austria’s most treasured grape varieties, not to mention the most rare. A natural crossing of Traminer and Roter Veltliner, Rotgipfler is indigenous to the Thermenregion of Austria, however some evidence suggests it may have originated further south in Styria. Though a white grape, the variety got its name (“rot” is the German word for red) for the red veins of its leaves and its reddish-bronze vine shoots. The terroir of the Thermenregion is uniquely suited for the needs of this grape. The vines benefit from the effects of the Pannonian climate, with its hot summer and dry autumns, and an average of 1,800 hours of sunshine during the year.
The Auslese moniker is given to relatively sweet, late-harvest wines. Generally hand-picked and only made in exceptionally good harvest years, the over-ripe fruit produces a sweet wine with rigid acid structure and exotic fruit aromas. Often, the late harvest allows the Botrytis fungus to produce Noble Rot on the fruit, adding even more depth.