Just a few hundred meters from the Hungarian border and just East of lake Neusiedl, lies the small town of Pamhagen. Brothers Erich and Michael Andert have been Demeter Certified since 2003 and their whole property is buzzing with life. Nearly everything on the property seems edible. Walking around the vineyard you can find large glass jars of fermenting vegetables or open a random door by a shed and find meats smoking and curing. Herbs of all sorts (Michael is a certified herb educator) hang from the rafters and there are countless tinctures littering the cellar floor. Erich and Michael are also consummate hosts. The dinner salad from exclusively from their cover crops, local pumpkin seed oil for dressing, and every following dish comes with simple preparation done to perfection. There’s an attention to detail, not overworked or made too complicated, and always with the best ingredients. The joy of sharing a table with them is the same as sharing a bottle of wine. Upon our last visit they were gearing up to host children from the Vienna International School to promote Demeter certified products, harvest and cook with the children, and ultimately raise awareness and money for charity. This mindset speaks to everything that they do. As Michael told us, “We go inside the life.”
Right out in the middle of their 4.5 hectares is giant chicken, goose, and duck coop. Just a few meters from there, there’s an area devoted to sheep. All are used for bolster the biodiversity of the property, supply fertilizer, and of course add to future dinner menus. Horns from years of biodynamic preparations are fixed along the fence line and hides of wild boars hang nearby to deter the deer. Depending on the year, the most potent spraying they have to do is horsetail tea.
All wines are hand harvested, sometimes destemmed, open vat fermentation, always native yeast, no temperature control, little to no racking, and everything is aged in oak barrels. Wines are bottled without filtration and total SO2 is about 15-20ppm. No other additions are made. Inside their traditional underground stone cellar, there is no electricity. The wines are free to evolve and develop without interference.
We have a limited amount of the 2013, but we wanted to show how well these wines age. Erich and Michael were happy to open one of their liters of 2006 Zweigelt recently, essentially a table wine style, that tasted absolutely stunning. The winemaking is similar to the 2015: Hand harvested, destemmed, open vat fermentation with native yeast, 10 days skin contact, zero racking, and then aged two years min in oak before bottling. The main difference is that 2015 had more of extreme heat whereas 2013 was a more gradual warming vintage. It needs more air than the 2015 to come fully around, but it’s a treat.
GRAPE COMPOSITION: Zweigelt, St. Laurent,and Cabernet Sauvignon
CLIMATE: Continental (hot summers & cold winters)
SOILS: Loess and loam
MACERATION & AGING: Open vat fermentation with native yeast
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 5.4 g/l
ACIDITY: 7.4 g/l