Today’s Story: Gut Oggau
Gut Oggau is an exciting, relatively new winery in the small town of Oggau in Burgenland, Austria and it was established in 2007 by Eduard and Stephanie Tscheppe. Eduard comes from a winemaking background, having helped his father make conventional wines in Styria. Meanwhile Stephanie has a culinary background, with her family owning the Michelin-starred restaurant Taubenkobel. The couple purchased an abandoned 17th century winery and about 20 hectares (~49 acres) of vineyards, working tirelessly to restore and renovate the facilities which included a 200-year-old screw press. The vineyards were abandoned for about 20 years, so Eduard and Stephanie commenced their venture with biodynamic viticulture without having to worry about any lingering chemicals or treatments that may have been used before. Working with the varieties of Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), and Gewürztraminer, Eduard and Stephanie craft wines in a minimally invasive and “natural” manner. All wines ferment spontaneously with natural yeasts, age in used barrels, and are bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with zero or minimal added sulfur.
I would be remiss if I did not discuss the interesting labels on these wines. As Eduard and Stephanie crafted their wines adhering to their biodynamic and natural philosophies, they realized that each bottling and each vineyard plot offered differing characteristics and personalities but still had a common thread to show they are “family.” Therefore the Gut Oggau wines are all part of a family tree, with Atanasius, Theodora, and Winifred making up the “young generation” and being more bold and energetic in style. The prior generation, or “the parents,” consists of Joschuari, Wiltrude, Emmeram, Timotheus, and Josephine with these wines characterized by riper notes and more body. Lastly the “grandparents” consist of Mechthild and Bertholdi, with the wines produced from vines up to 60 years of age and they are more traditional in style. Each label has a unique sketch for each fictional family member, and all have their own unique stories to share.
Today’s Wine: 2019 Timotheus
70% Grüner Veltliner, 30% Weissburgunder; 12% ABV
The 2019 Timotheus is medium gold in color and somewhat hazy. Aromas are of medium intensity, showcasing notes of tangerine, peach, apricot, mandarin orange, white wildflower, and slate. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity, with the palate displaying notes of peach, apricot, dried green herbs, seashell, honey, white pepper, and saline mineral. This is dry and medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, light tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Very fun and different, but also very, very good. One-third of the grapes ferment on the skins for about three weeks and the rest are directly pressed before they’re blended. The wine ages for about 12 months in used barrels before it’s bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with zero added sulfur.
Price: $60. Wines of this style are difficult to discuss in terms of value for me, for one thing because they are not “traditional” and two I haven’t had enough of the “natural” wines with some skin contact for comparison sake yet. However, I find this to be an incredibly fun, enjoyable, high quality, and intriguing wine and for these reasons it was worth the price paid for me.