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The wines of Schloss Gobelsburg, Langenlois, Kamptal, Austria

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.

Most of these wines are from 2002, which was an odd but surprisingly successful vintage. A hot June and July were followed by floods in August. This was followed by a cool September, but then a hot October really helped save quality. In the end, it turned out to be a very balanced vintage.

Michael considers that Grüner Veltliner is a good all-rounder with food. It’s spicier than Chardonnay. 5–10 years ago it was less expensive than Riesling: now it’s about the same, indicating that it’s popularity is rising. It’s a late harvested variety, picked in November after the Riesling.

One of Michael’s goals is to show Grüner Veltliner in its different facets and personalities. The vineyards have quite different geologies and this is something that he’s keen to see expressed in the wines.

He thinks that cloned vine material – such a common feature in modern vineyards – is generally a bad thing. Instead, Michael takes cuttings from the mixed old vine vineyards which he then uses to make new plantings. 

It's hard to fault these wines, which show impressive concentration and lots of character. UK availability: represented by Lance Foyster's FWW and some are stocked by Noel Young (including the impressive Tradition GV), with the GV Lamm a recent listing by Waitrose for its flagship Kingston and Canary Wharf branches. 

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Renner 2002
From 55 year old vines grown on Loess, this has a savoury, fresh nose with some subtle grassy notes together with sweet peppery richness. The palate is light, peppery and fresh; complex and minerally. A very expressive wine. Very good/excellent 91/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz 2002
This gravelly vineyard is the last to be harvested: in 2002 it was picked on November 20th. Subtle, peppery, herby nose leads to an intense, expressive, complex palate with a spicy finish. It’s quite rounded. Lovely full flavoured savoury character showing great weight and balance. Very good/excellent 90/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Lamm 2002
From a vineyard of loess with clay. Fresh limey, spicy, herby nose. Lovely richness on the palate: peppery and spicy with some fruit sweetness, backed up by good acidity. Rounded. Very good/excellent 91/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Tradition 2001
This is a fascinating wine, because Michael has been working with old winemaking techniques: his idea was to recreate a wine as it would have been made in the 19th century, from the Renner vineyard. He’s been tremendously successful. This has a lovely rich peppery nose which is very expressive, with a herby edge. The palate is complex, with savoury straw-like flavours and rounded peppery notes. Great weight and structure. Very good/excellent 93/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Urgestein 2002
From a selection of young vines. Expressive limey, fruity, spicy nose. The palate is rich with good acidity and a spicy finish. Lots of limey fruit. Great concentration and intensity. Very good/excellent 90/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Heiligenstein 2002
Taut limey, fresh nose is quite perfumed. The palate is rich and dense with lots of herby, limey fruit. Good weight and balance with a lovely herbal character. Very good/excellent 91/100

Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Gaisberg Alte Reben 2002
Intense, taut herby nose with some complexity. The palate is richly textured with concentrated limey fruit and a rich herby character. A big wine that is quite a bit richer than the other Rieslings. Good acidity. Very good/excellent 92/100

see also: tasting notes of Austrian wines
wines tasted March 2004
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