Navigating Off-Piste in Austria ~ Weingut Karl Schnabel Morillon 2014, Steirerland… 

Weingut Schnabel is a new one for me. A wine estate located in southern Styria on Sausal, a mountainous “island terroir” consisting of primary rock, free of limestone, resulting in especially mineral wines. 

Made from 100% Morillon, the local name for Chardonnay, from vines grown at 550 meters, this wine was fermented in open vats with indigenous yeasts for ten days, prior to ageing for one year in used Burgundy barrels.  No fining or filtration was employed and also zero sulphur was added during the vinification process. Coming in at a fresh 11.5 Abv, this biodynamic certified wine represents an intriguing, complex glassful of natural, minimalist wine making.

Tasting Note: The colour of honey and dried apricots, this is a more funky version of Chardonnay and a total style departure from anything found in Burgundy. The nose is loaded with white pepper, orange citrus, hints of dried herbs, oregano, thyme, and herbal infused vermouth. Palate is cool, fresh but elegantly textured with a pithy bite of grape skins, almond and hazelnuts bitterness, dried yellow stone fruits and a long, pithy, energetic finish laced with dried peaches and wild herb garrigue spice. This is a lovely food orientated wine with a real authenticity and eccentric character. Very unique but perhaps not for novices. 

(Wine Safari Score: 91/100 Greg Sherwood MW) 

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