2019 Johannes Zillinger 'Velue' Zweigelt
Region: Niederösterreich < Austria
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Demeter certified biodynamic + organic farming; 97-year-old vineyard on loess and lime sandstone soils; partial whole cluster fermentation in open vats, with slow and gentle pressing, then fermentation in big open steel vats for 5 days on the skins. The wines are matured for 9 months in old 700L and 500L oak barrels on the lees then bottled unfined/unfiltered with zero added So2; 11.5% ABV; 66 cases
Winemaker: Johannes Zillinger
Johannes Zillinger learned early on from his father about the importance of organic winemaking, about viewing the vineyard as a habitat and protecting the environment instead of poisoning it. His father Hans turned to organic viticulture in 1983, two years before the Austrian Anti-freeze Scandal, and was one of its pioneers in Austria. When Johannes took over the 350-year-old winery in 2013, he transitioned to biodynamic farming in a big way -- he even grows his own herbs for tea tinctures to use as vineyard treatments. I mean, serious magic stuff. Johannes uses Demeter treatments 500 (horn manure), 501 (horn kiesel mountain crystal) and 507 (herbs and valerian to help with frost and vine relaxation), as well as fermented manure (yes, really) produced by a small group of local winemakers.
"Velue" is the old name for Velm-Goetzendorf, the name of the old willow trees which grow near the river in a cold, windy part of the estate. Which is actually good, because it gives you the advantage of late harvesting, thus the grapes get ripe enough but maintain a low alcohol concentration. His Velue bottling is is a field blend from 3 vineyards (one northern slope, one southern slope and one hill top) that is a great representation of cold climate Zweigelt without oak influence. Bright and lean with fresh cherries, red berries and some nice spice on the finish, this is the perfect everyday red with soft tannins and friendly fruit. Super versatile with all sorts of food, even BBQ, but also nice on it's own. We like it slightly chilled, but chilling is not required.