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Austrian wines part 11
Schloss Gobelsburg

Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg, A-3550 Langenlois, Austria
Tel: +43 2734 2422 Fax: +43 2734 2422-20
E-mail: schloss@gobelsburg.at Website: www.schloss-gobelsburg.at


Schloss Gobelsburg is a historic winery, owned by a Cistercian monastery and possessing wonderful old vineyards in the Kamptal region. This is one of the three top quality Danube areas of Austria and altogether has just 2500 hectares of vines. Gobelsburg have around 40 of these. It’s the oldest winery in the region, founded in 1171, and it was run by the monks themselves until 1995. In 1996 winemaking and management responsibilities were taken over by Michael Moosbrugger (right), who was showing these wines. He took a soft-revisionist approach, changing the winemaking process and restructuring the vineyards, but only where necessary. The leap in quality has been dramatic.

In terms of varietal composition, the vineyards are split three ways, with half devoted to Grüner Veltliner, 25% to Riesling and the rest to red varieties. The relatively high proportion of red grapes stems from the history of the winery: the Cistercians here had a close connection with their brothers in Burgundy, and were responsible for bringing Pinot Noir to the region.

‘In the future, there will be two sides to wine,’ says Moosbrugger. ‘On one side, industrial wine, and on the other side smaller wineries that work in a more personal way.’ While he is firmly in the latter camp, he doesn’t look down on mass produced wine. ‘The industrial side is doing an important job for us, bringing a lot of people to wine: maybe 1, 2 or 3% of people will go further and deeper into wine. They will be the people who come to us’. He continues, ‘for the industrial side it is important to have standardized wines with clear definition of what they are. The more technology you use in the cellar, the more standardized the wines. The less you use the more personal the wines get.’

Michael Moosbrugger has been developing a new (or should I say old) wine called ‘Tradition’, an attempt to make Grüner Veltliner the way it would have been made a century ago. ‘One reason I am doing Tradition is that I’m trying to learn from people of the past,’ he says.

In the cellar he has developed an ingenious wheel system for his larger casks (left). Because the cellar is 200 years old he didn’t want loads of pipes everywhere. So he’s making different zones in the cellar and moving the casks from one room to another according to its needs. Moosbrugger did an apprenticeship in machinery, which has helped with projects such as this.

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz 2003
From the Gobelsbug area, which is more suited to reds, and from a very vineyard. This has a pronounced minerally, peppery nose which is bright, fresh and full. The palate shows expressive bold fruit with crispness, intensity and good acid. A lovely fresh wine. Very good/excellent 90/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Renner 2003
From the hills, and soils dominated by Gneiss. Quite a rich, perfumed nose but still quite focused. Some lemony notes and subtle peppery spice. The palate is quite rich and bold, but backed up with lovely bright acidity. Finishes fresh and peppery. A clean, precise wine. Very good/excellent 91/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Grub 2003
In between the Heiligenstein and Gaisberg vineyard. 25 000 years ago this was a small village of deer and mammoth hunters. Spicy, focused, expressive nose is distinctive with a peppery edge. The palate is really distinctive and spicy with lots of expressive fruit. Lovely broad palate. A more forward, complex style. Very good/excellent 92/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Lamm 2003
Lamm is the footslope of the Heiligenstein. It has a fantastic open nose with some creamy richness to the focused, minerally expressive fruit. There's a real freshness to it together with the richness. Lovely breadth on the palate. Very sophisticated bright, creamy, nicely textured fruit finishing off with spicy, minerally acidity. Elegant and expressive.  Very good/excellent 93/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Tradition 2002
This is the wine made in a traditional, more oxidative way with racking every three months, building up a more complex and stable aroma profile and reducing the primary fruit and fermentation aromas. Lovely complexity on the nose, with rich herbal and lemon notes. Quite rich and creamy. The palate is complex with good acidity and a nice herbal character. Full and complex: this is really interesting. Very good/excellent 94/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Lamm 2000
Open herby nose is expressive with notes of straw. Quite rich. The palate is soft and ripe with nice herby, peppery, straw-like fruit. Smooth and plump, drinking well now. Very good+ 89/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Lamm 1999
Yellow/gold colour. Full, ripe nose with some distinctive peppery herb character. Smooth and rich. The palate has bracing acidity with lovely freshness and elegance. Distinctive with a herby twist and a peppery finish. Hints of oxidation on the palate. Very good/excellent 90/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Renner 1973
Deep yellow/gold colour. Fantastic nose reminds me of a Riesling: evolved, petrolly and limey. Fresh and alluring. The palate is clean and long with lovely delicate limey fruit. Some richness of texture still and nice minerally acidity. Delicious. Very good/excellent 92/100


Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Urgenstein 2003
A selection from young vineyards. Vivid, fresh, fruity and focused with lovely liminess. Crisp, fresh and youthful. Some savoury spicy character. Very good+ 87/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Gaisberg 2003
Focused and fresh with a lovely mineral streak and good acidity. Fresh citrus fruits dominate here. Savoury and taut. Very good/excellent 90/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Heiligenstein 2003
Great concentration of pure, tight, mineralic fruit with a taut lemony character. Some richness and depth underneath. A bold, concentrated, dark wine that needs lots of time. It’s quite serious. Very good/excellent 92/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Alte Reben 2003
Different genetic material in this vineyard: Gobelsburg has a precious resource of very old Grüner Veltliner and Riesling selections done by the monks over generations. In the 1970s and 1980s clonal planting material became popular, but it isn’t as good. This has a breathtaking, almost exotic nose of deep, ripe melon and lime fruit. Complex and slightly sweet. The palate is explosive and rich with ripe fruit. Very expressive with good acidity. Very good/excellent 93/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Heiligenstein 1991
Very open, precise lemony nose with a hint of lifted acidity raising the fruit, and waxy, petrolly notes. The palate is lemony and crisp with good acid. Very savoury and intense. Crisp, bone dry and lemony. Very good+ 88/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Alte Reben 1997
Open, complex lemony nose with notes of dried fruits and herbs. The palate is bright and fresh with complex herby, lemony fruit. Bone dry with tangy acidity. Needs food. Very good/excellent 90/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling 1977
The first bottle is weird and oxidised, the second quite nice. Fresh, petrolly limey nose. The palate is crisp and bright with good liminess. Crisp and elegant showing nice balance. Very good/excellent 91/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Eiswein 2003
Lovely rich almost exotic nose with a striking herb-tinged peach aroma. Very rich and full on the palate with massive sweetness countered by explosive acidity. Peach and apricot finish is very long: a fantastic wine. Very good/excellent 93/100

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