Carnuntum is a small historic Roman town located east of Vienna. What most people don’t know is that it is also a wine region, where Muhr-van der Niepoort is based. It is a collaboration between PR queen Dorli Muhr and Portuguese winemaker Dirk Niepoort. Although the couple parted ways in their marriage, their winemaking relations continues. Dorli revived traditional vineyards in Spitzerberg where Blaufränkisch thrives over ideal soils composing of sand, loess, and clay and its climate influenced by the Pannonian microclimate and the Danube. As everyone expects from a wine where Dirk Niepoort is involved, the emphasis is on elegance rather than power. There is some foot treading, which gives softer extraction, and some stems are used.
Dirk comes over to Austria two or three times a year to taste the wines and eventually decides the blends. Dorli runs Austria’s leading wine PR agency and has a young daughter. For this, she claims “‘I did the winemaking on my own in 2006 and 2007, but soon I realized that it is too much”, “So I was looking for a person to look after winemaking. And a fantastic guy came over from South Africa”. This was Craig Hawkins, who she describes as an “angel”. Craig used to work for Eben Sadie, and is now the winemaker at Lammershoek in the Swartland. “It is kind of a luxury to have a full time winemaker for only 20 000 bottles, even if it is only for 3 months, says Dorli. “But thanks to the time he has, he really help us achieve our dreams. So, for example, in 2009 we did not use the pump at all for the whole time. Everything is made either by hand or by foot. And we have a small basket press. Our "winery" is very archaic. Everything is very basic”. But the results are wonderful.