Weingut Tegernseerhof

The Story

Martin Mittelbach is a Wachau insider with an outsider’s perspective. He is the fifth generation of Mittelbachs to run the historical Tegernseerhof, an estate that goes further back than 1000 years. Despite the estate’s historical merit you couldn’t find a much more progressive winemaker with his own set of standards and way of thinking in this region. Martin took over the estate at a very young age and immediately changed the way things were done. As you could imagine, there was some friction with his father who preferred to make wines more on the sweeter side. Today, you would be hard pressed to find a more dry and straight style in the Wachau. The grapes are harvested and sorted rigorously to take out any botrytis grapes and then vinified and raised in stainless steel. They are harvested with no botrytis to keep the wines focused and tense. His wines are like his personality: intense, focused and highly intellectual. These laser beams are as far away from the often baroque style that can be found in this region. In every level his wines excel and can stand tall next to any of the greatest producers in Austria.

Lay of the Land

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Austria’s Wachau gorge is home to arguably the most prestigious winegrowing region in the country, and its most visually stunning. The eastern border is west of Vienna by about an hour drive and begins in a town called Unterloiben. It runs through the river gorge thirteen or so kilometers ending in Spitz, a town that marks the far western end of the winegrowing areas along the river.

Though one of the coolest winegrowing regions in Austria (not only in temperature, but also in vibe), the Wachau is located in an area strongly affected by opposing climatic influences. Warm Pannonian winds move in from the east and collide with colder Atlantic and Alpine winds insulated by the wilderness surrounding the gorge, which creates a tug-of-war of extremes between day and nighttime temperatures during the summer and fall. Much less than in the past, before the hydroelectric dams were installed and slowed its vigorous pace, the Danube River regulates temperatures and mitigates some risk of spring frost. Tegernseerhof’s vineyards are all located on the far eastern end of the Wachau gorge in its most warm zone, however still considered a cold climate wine region.

On the steeply terraced hills principally composed of Gföhler gneiss (orthogneiss) and other ancient igneous and metamorphic bedrock formations with a thin, gravelly decomposition of the bedrock itself is the kind of stressful environment where Riesling thrives best. By contrast, Austria’s most popular (and common) white wine grape, Gruner Veltliner, typically grows lower down the slopes on more löss (also spelled loess, or löess) dominated soils mixed with river sand and alluvium. Grüner Veltliner needs to be coddled to find its glory, and the nutrient rich and high water retentive qualities of löss are perfect.

Kellerberg Riesling
Kellerberg Riesling

Weingut Tegernseerhof - 2016 Riesling, Smaragd, “Kellerberg”

Price: $47.00
Size: 750ml
Availability:

11 in stock

Type of Wine: White
Grape(s): Riesling
Style: High acid, Mineral

The Wine

Inside the bottle: If one were to ask a knowledgable wine professional about the greatest vineyards in Austria, the Wachau's Kellerberg would likely be mentioned in their first breath.

Kellerberg, or "Cellar Mountain," is without a doubt one of the Wachau's greatest vineyards. Regal and profound in nearly every aspect, from structural elements, to the balance of power and subtlety, this wine has no notable weakness. To attempt to describe all the nuances of this wine would be a paragraph with no end. However, to better understand the wine's nature it would be easier to demonstrate it by an explanation of its terroir. The hill faces southeast, giving it good morning sun but giving it an earlier sunset than its neighboring top reisling vineyards, Loibenberg and Steinertal. The hill is exposed to an open ravine that brings in a rush of cool air during the night. The aspect and exposure to this ravine allows the fruit to mature to ripeness without giving it with excessive fruitiness. The fruits range from yellow apple, pair, yellow and white stone fruit, dried citrus and far into fruity tea notes; the list goes on. It has a deep range of soils, from volcanic, loess and gneiss; Tegernseerhof has six parcels that cover all the soil types. The loess gives richness while the gneiss, tension and focus. More important than the specifics detailed nuances is the way this wine makes you feel: the energy, the profound reservation and at the same time, it's generosity. The Kellerberg is a formidable wine and comfortably sits amongst the world's greatest.

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: Regal and profound in nearly every aspect, from structural elements, to the balance of power and subtlety, this wine has no notable weakness. The hill faces south to southeast. It’s exposed to an open ravine that brings in a rush of cool air during the night and also allows the fruit to mature to ripeness without giving it excessive fruitiness. Tegernseerhof has six different parcels with a deep range of soils between loess and orthogneiss; the loess gives richness while the gneiss, tension and focus. More important than the specific detailed nuances is the way this wine makes you feel: the energy, the profound reservation and at the same time, it’s generosity.

Vinification: Grapes are harvested by hand in small bins. They are whole cluster macerated between 6-36 hours depending on the vintage (higher acid vintages longer, warm years less). The first sulfur addition rarely happens before fermentation but is dependent on the quality of the fruit—perfect fruit may not be sulfured until after primary fermentation. On average about 2/3 of the fermentation is natural and about 1/3 neutral yeasts (used if not naturally started after 10-12 days). Primary fermentation lasts between 1-2 months and is kept below 23 degrees C. The wines sometimes make natural malolactic fermentation.

Aging: Stainless steel for 6-9 months on the lees, filtered but not fined before bottling.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Powerful, Dense, Textured, Elegant, Tea Notes, Mineral, Stony, Peach, Spicy, Long Finish

Mineral Impressions:

Lightly SaltySaltyMetalMineralWet StoneFlintGraphiteReductivePetrol

Ageability:

Drink YoungShort-Term BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsUnknown

Technical Precision:

NatureModerateNurture

Intensity:

SubtleVigorousElectric

Core:

LitheMediumDense

Acidity:

LightMediumFullElectric

Texture:

LitheMediumDense

Body:

LightMediumFull

Tannin:

NoneLightMediumFull

Finish:

FrontMiddleBack

Wood Presence:

NoneSubtleNoticeable

The Vineyard

Soil:

A mix of metamorphic bedrock of Gföhl gneiss (orthogneiss) and loess, a wind deposited fine-grained sedimentary soil with some quantity of calcium carbonate.

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

20 years old (2019)

Altitude (meters):

204-336

Aspect:

South/South East

Slope:

Extremely Steep (up to 65%)
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfur Dioxide. Yeast (please read the vinification).

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

13-13.5

Titratable Acidity:

6.0-7.0

Residual Sugar:

>4

Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Martin Mittelbach (Tegernseerhof) with some technical details from Vinea-Wachau.at

About The Wine

Inside the bottle: If one were to ask a knowledgable wine professional about the greatest vineyards in Austria, the Wachau’s Kellerberg would likely be mentioned in their first breath.

Kellerberg, or “Cellar Mountain,” is without a doubt one of the Wachau’s greatest vineyards. Regal and profound in nearly every aspect, from structural elements, to the balance of power and subtlety, this wine has no notable weakness. To attempt to describe all the nuances of this wine would be a paragraph with no end. However, to better understand the wine’s nature it would be easier to demonstrate it by an explanation of its terroir. The hill faces southeast, giving it good morning sun but giving it an earlier sunset than its neighboring top reisling vineyards, Loibenberg and Steinertal. The hill is exposed to an open ravine that brings in a rush of cool air during the night. The aspect and exposure to this ravine allows the fruit to mature to ripeness without giving it with excessive fruitiness. The fruits range from yellow apple, pair, yellow and white stone fruit, dried citrus and far into fruity tea notes; the list goes on. It has a deep range of soils, from volcanic, loess and gneiss; Tegernseerhof has six parcels that cover all the soil types. The loess gives richness while the gneiss, tension and focus. More important than the specifics detailed nuances is the way this wine makes you feel: the energy, the profound reservation and at the same time, it’s generosity. The Kellerberg is a formidable wine and comfortably sits amongst the world’s greatest.