Bernhard Stadlmann and Neal Rosenthal at the Stadlmann estate
TRINK is a digital publication devoted to the “German-speaking wines” of Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Their February volume features a piece by Nils Kevin Puls on the Thermenregion including our grower Bernhard Stadlmann.
Excerpt from The Thermenregion: Between Tradition and Tomorrow by Nils Kevin Puls in TRINK
“To mark a recent milestone anniversary, Austria’s association of traditional wine estates (ÖTW) invited into its fold a region that is in many regards the epitome of Herkunft, or origins. The Thermenregion, often held up as Austria’s Burgundy, brings a suitably deep and glorious wine tradition.
Bernhard Stadlmann is one of nine Thermenregion producers who have opted to join the ÖTW. His family estate in Traiskirchen has roots that reach back to the Napoleonic era, when the French recognized Stadlmann wines for their excellence. His familiarity with Burgundy stems from his days as an enology student there. But the most important lesson he took from that experience is: “In wine regions that are rich in tradition, you learn how strong the traditions of your own region are.” The Thermenregion might not seem so sexy at ﬁrst glance, he says, but the conditions it offers should be alluring to young growers.
BEYOND GRÜNER AND ZWEIGELT
“Austria naturally calls to mind Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt,” Stadlmann acknowledges. But in the Thermenregion, it is small quantities of other Austrian originals that thrive. Most notable are the white varieties Rotgipﬂer, with 113 hectares planted, and Zierfandler, at just 72 hectares. The red grape St. Laurent isn’t a trendy one (yet), but Austria’s renowned viticultural research center Klosterneuburg selected the Thermenregion as the ﬁrst place to establish it. In the 1950s, viticulturists at the abbey, well-versed in ampelography, selected a vineyard in Tattendorf. Since then, ﬁve hectares of St. Laurent on the barren limestone gravel soils of Ried Stiftsbreite have grown to 40, which fans of the grape will be glad to know makes this the largest contiguous St. Laurent planting. Rounding out the quartet is acclaimed is Pinot Noir, which the Cistercians are thought to have brought from hallowed Burgundian ground.
Stadlmann tends vines that date to the 1960s, when Thermenregion vineyards were widely being converted to single-stake or wire trellising. He likes to explain his ﬂagship varieties, Zierfandler and Rotgipﬂer, in terms of more familiar varieties: Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Zierfandler, like Riesling, prefers shallower soils and drier sites. The ripening process is also similar: late, with good potential acidity. Rotgipﬂer, by contrast, likes deeper, clay-enriched soils with better water retention. The climate crisis prompts an insight from Stadlmann that draws on his own experiences: “Things are all the more challenging when you don’t have the right variety in the right location.”TRINK Magazine February 2023, The Thermenregion: Between Tradition and Tomorrow by Nils Kevin Puls