Crisp and Incredibly Fun Austrian Amber Wine

Today’s Story: Weingut Werlitsch

Weingut Werlitsch is a relatively small family-owned and operated wine estate and farm located in southern Styria in Austria. Viticulture and winemaking are spearheaded by Ewald Tscheppe, who took over this family property at the age of 26. Though the Tscheppe family had been involved in winemaking and farming for generations, Ewald is part of a newer generation making exciting, complex, and long-lived wines while advocating for biodynamic viticulture and minimally invasive winemaking. The estate consists of about 18 hectares (44 acres) with roughly 12.5 hectares (31 acres) planted to vineyards and the balance dedicated to the winery, forests, pastures, and gardens. Weingut Werlitsch is certified biodynamic, and practically all of the vineyard work is done by hand thanks to the very steep slopes that make up the property. The vineyards are planted predominantly to Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon (a biotype of Chardonnay), though Ewald also grows Welschriesling. All fruit is hand-harvested, experiences slow pressing, and goes through fermentation only with native yeasts. Élevage is in large barrels and Austrian foudres, and the wines age typically for a minimum of 18 months but may see as long as 36 months. Bottling is accomplished with the wines unfiltered, and no SO2 is added unless absolutely necessary.

I recently reviewed two other bottlings from Weingut Werlitsch, first the 2017 Glück which is similar in profile to the wine I’m reviewing today and then the 2017 Ex Vero I.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Freude

70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV

The 2017 Freude is pale to medium amber in color and slightly hazy. Given some time to warm up from cellar temperature and breathe, this blossoms into a gorgeous and complex wine. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, and the nose showcases aromas of orange marmalade, dried apricot, dried orange peel, honeysuckle, oregano, wet slate, brine, slightly under-baked bread, honey, and toasted almond. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity and the palate displays notes of peach, mandarin orange, dried apricot, marzipan, dill, chamomile, honey, chalk, toasted almond, and unsweetened vanilla yogurt. This dry amber wine is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Absolutely outstanding.

Price: $55. I know this is not an inexpensive bottle, particularly for an amber/orange wine, though I think this offers tremendous value. Not only is this incredibly complex, well-balanced, and of extreme quality, it’s a very fun wine and I prefer this to the Glück I had recently.

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