Austria’s easternmost wine region
Burgenland is situated south of Niederösterreich and north of Steiermark, and borders Hungary along its entire eastern flank. Its 28% share of Austria’s vineyard area produces the country’s best and most respected red wines, from vineyards whose proximity to Hungary’s warm Pannonian plains ensures proper ripening for the indigenous Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt.
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.
These regions more or less followed suit with Provence in 2022, experiencing high temperatures and borderline drought conditions, yet producing rosés of greater freshness and lift than in recent years.
In Bandol, Etienne Portalis of Château Pradeaux reported his earliest harvest ever in 2022 (September 7th to September 24th), yet his rosés in ’22 are higher in acidity than either 2020 or 2019. Domaine du Bagnol in Cassis reported a similarly scorching-hot and dry growing season, with only 250 milliliters of rain for all of calendar year 2022, but their rosé ended up fresher and saltier than the 2020 and the 2019.
One begins to feel like a broken record describing French growing seasons in this era of climate change. Yet, while the 2022 vintage—which comprises the bulk of our offering this year—was broadly similar weather-wise to recent vintages like 2019 and 2020 (very hot and very dry, with early flowering and an early harvest), the overall character of the 2022 rosés is different: nimbler in feel, less weighty on the palate, and slightly lower in alcohol across the board.
Our travels led us recently to Pessac-Léognan, the tranquil and heavily forested northern sector of the larger Graves subregion, and one of the few pockets of Bordeaux where we had never before worked. The appellation, famously, is home to Château Haut-Brion, the only estate in the original 1855 classification outside of the Haut-Médoc, and its gravelly soils—less sandy than those of Graves proper—yield age-worthy wines that combine silkiness and spinal fortitude.