2012 Muhr-van der Niepoort ‘Samt & Seide’
Region: Carnuntum < Austria
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, granite/limestone soil, fermented in oak and aged on lees for two years, then bottled unfined/unfiltered; 20ppm SO2
Winemaker: Dorli Muhr
New vintage on this wine, another Rock Juice repeat, and bearing a new name this round: ‘Samt & Seide’, which means velvet & silk, apt descriptors for this sexy wine. Together with Portuguese Dirk Niepoort, famous for his Port and Douro wines, Austrian Dorli Muhr resuscitated her family vineyards in a protected nature preserve to produce some of Austria’s very finest Blaufränkisch. The Romans planted vines in the easternmost Austrian winemaking region, Carnuntum, many ages ago, but it had fallen into wine oblivion. Blaufränkisch sits somewhere flavor and weight-wise between Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Syrah, but remains distinctively Austrian. Soils are limestone-rich, all work is done by hand, and the cellar – actually more of a shed – is like a mad scientist’s lab with different potions brewing. Some grapes are foot-trodden, some whole cluster fermentation, some with extended periods of maceration, then all the juice is combined to age in neutral barrel. You get sour cherry, plum and plush tannins, with lively acidity and a warm, spicy finish. This vintage has a little more grip and structure than the previous one.