2017 Geyerhof Riesling Kirchensteig

Kremstal, Austria

400 Years in wine. Ilse Maier’s mother’s family has lived in the hilltop village of Oberfucha since the 16th century where the family began in agriculture and brickworks. In the 17th century, Maria Theresia, archduchess of Austria, granted the property owner, whose name was Geyer, a concession to transport wine on the Danube in trade with Hungary and other regions along the river. The ship on the wine label refers to this trade. Today, the winery is housed in a 16th-century structure built of brick, with cellars beneath it constructed between the early 1300’s and the late 1700’s. Among these, the “French cellar” where Napoleon’s army stored their wine rations during a battle in nearby Wagram. The room’s perfect temperature and humidity make it an ideal place to archive the best of each vintage. In 1986, after studying agriculture in Vienna and spending time in San Rapael, Argentina, Ilse joined her father in wine production. Today she works in the vineyards and the cellar, aided by her son Josef to produce wines reflective of their site.

VINEYARDS

Geyerhof organically farms roughly 20 hectares located on the hillsides around the winery. Promotion of beneficial species, sowing of nitrogen-absorbing plants, use of compost and rock flour for plant nutrition, and abstaining from the use of all pesticides, insecticides, botrytis and weed control substances as well as soluble mineral fertilizer are all standard practices. Loess and alluvial soil east of the winery (Gaisberg and Rosensteig), primary rock to the northwest (Steinleithn and Kirchensteig), and loamy soil to the south (Hoher Rain). 60% of the vineyard area is planted to Grüner Veltliner, 20% to Riesling, and the balance to Zweigelt, Weissburgunder, Chardonnay, and Gelber Muskateller. Recent clonal selections came from the famous Knoll vineyards. Asked if biodynamic viticulture has ever seemed to be a next step, Ilse says she doesn’t believe it to be necessary—bio is not a “step up” from organic, just a different approach.

WINE MAKING

Fruit is handpicked and strictly sorted in the vineyard. Healthy clusters are pressed whole, and the must is intentionally oxidized in the press tray resulting in deeper flavors and greater age-ability. Wines are fermented and aged in 3,000 liter temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The slow, even fermentation never exceeds 22 °C. A small percentage of whites and the red wine are aged in neutral oak tanks or barrels. Spontaneous fermentation is preferred, but never at the expense of quality. Malolactic fermentation is avoided in the whites. No other additions are used except for sulfur post fermentation. Wines remain on the lees until just before gentle filtration and bottling.

2017 Geyerhof Riesling Kirchensteig

NOTES & PAIRINGS

This vineyard is the first impression you get when pulling up to the property. The soil is mostly granite which you can see flicker in the light and results in wines with lower alcohol and a kiss of residual Sugar to balance out the intense acidity. The Kirchensteig was a part of the first 2010 Erste Lage (Frist Growth) classification where for nearly twenty years, the Association of Austrian Traditionsweingüter has been classifying the very best vineyards in Austria. Hand picked, slowly pressed whole bunches, fermented in stainless steel and aged for 2 years on the lees. Still structured and just under 13% alcohol and the nearly 7 g/l RS adds creaminess and balance rather than sweetness.

ANALYTICS & PRONUNCIATION

PRODUCER: Geyerhof (Geyerhof (Guy-er-hof))
APPELLATION: Kremstal (Kremstal)
VINTAGE: 2017
GRAPE COMPOSITION: 100% Riesling
CLIMATE: Cool Pannonian
SOILS: Primary Rock
EXPOSURE: Southeast
MACERATION & AGING: Steel fermented with extended lees contact.
ALCOHOL: 12.3%
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 6.6 g/l
ACIDITY: 6.1 g/l