This is evident with the wines in the Circo Vino portfolio. Anne Zakin and Sariya Jarasviroj Brown (bios) tasting their portfolio with us about two months ago, and it was a done deal. Superb wines from talented producers of long family traditions. The Circo Vino Austrian portfolio is a fantastic new addition to Cream!
Emmerich Knoll III, an exhuberent spokesperson for the Wachau region, farms the family’s 15 hectares of land and crafts wines that clearly express the Unterloiben terroir where some of Austria’s most famous vineyards live. This family run winery is a treasure that has been estate owned and operated for over three generations. The majority of the Knoll’s vineyard plantings are dedicated to Gruner Veltliner and Riesling, but the family also farms small amounts of Rivaner, Gelber Traminer, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A member of “Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus,” an association of Wachau winemakers who follow strict quality control rules, the Knoll Winery upholds stringent farming and winemaking standards that vintage after vintage propel their wines to the top of restaurant, collector and critic’s lists.
A brief 30-minute drive south of Vienna will bring you to the door of Johanneshof Reinisch. Located in Austria’s historic Thermenrgion, the Reinisch family is producing wine in the fourth generation with the current winemaking team comprised of three brothers: Hannes, Christian and Michael. With a 2,000 year legacy of wine growing in the region, the Reinisch’s maintain Thermenregion traditions with vineyards planted to 65% red and 35% white vines. Best known for their excellent Pinot Noir and St. Laurent, there is a particular focus at Johanneshof Reinisch on the Burgundy varieties. Their Pinot Noir vines grow in vineyards from both the stony, alluvial gravel soils of Tattnedorf near the winery and the elevated, nutrient rich soils of Gumpoldskirchen. As a family that tends its own vine nursery, local grapes and traditions are important, and in their Gumpoldskirchen vineyards the indigenous grape varieties Rotgipfler and Zierfandler are cultivated. There are roughly 100 hectares (247 acres) remaining in the world of these two indigenous white varieties making the Reinisch’s offerings an unusual glimpse into Austria’s wine roots. The Reinisch family farms organically and takes their thoughtful approach from vineyard to cellar to bottle.
Willi Sattler has been responsible for the cultivation of wine in the village of Sernau since the age of 22. The farm on which the winery stands has been in the family since 1887. Thanks to his skill, Sattlerhof has earned the respect of wine-lovers and the international media and is considered one of the top estates in Austria. His goal as a winemaker and representative of Styria is to remind the world that Austria is not only the land of Gruner Veltliner, but also, in Styria, Sauvignon Blanc is Queen of the court of Austrian white varietals. Together with his wife, Maria, Willi was instrumental in developing the STK seal of quality that stands for “Styrian Terroir and Classic Wine Estate” to ensure that wines bearing this designate show authentic characteristics of Styria and are of the highest quality.
Fred Loimer is reinterpreting the Thermenregion tradition. While his outlook on wine seems straightforward enough, the creativity with which he approaches one of Austria’s historically lauded regions is anything but old-fashioned. For Loimer, an ideal wine must be completely dry, complex and elegant, rich in aromas and flavors, intense yet not heavy, and embedded in refreshing acidity. Here this means crafting blends with regional varietals like white grapes, Rotgipfler and Zierfandler, as well as more known red grapes such as Zweigelt, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir. Biodynamically farmed, the vineyard sites of Schellmann are some of the oldest and most distinct in the region. Fred’s interest in working in the Thermenregion began through his friendship with Gottfried Schellmann who led winemaking innovations in the Theremregion for over 40 years. Upon Gottfried’s death in 2005, Fred Loimer decided to roll-up his sleeves and take the challenge of wine growing in a region outside his own. He wanted to ensure that the Schellmann name lived on and the efforts of his friend and the historic vineyards he farmed continued to bear fruit. The Thermenregion has its own style and for Fred this has been both rewarding and challenging.