Site & Soil
The grapes for this Merlot grow on the Spitzerberg, in the vineyards Ried Roterd & Ried Spitzerberg, both on the southern slope of the hill. It is a pure and very dry limestone soil, which scarcely retains the meagre rainfall. The naturally early maturity of the Merlot is retarded somewhat by the modest water supply during the summer weeks, so that the grapes can be harvested in late September with their full fruit flavours while retaining refreshing acidity. Monovarietal Merlot does not meet the specifications for CarnuntumDAC (2/3 Zweigelt and/or Blaufränkisch) and therefore bears the designation of origin Niederösterreich on the label.
Harvest & Vinification
The clusters are harvested by hand, and any overripe berry is carefully removed. In the cellar, the grapes are lightly crushed and macerated partly with the stems in open fermentation vats. This extraction is very gentle and occurs completely without pumping, and fermentation begins after a few days thanks to the wild yeasts. The spontaneous fermentation proceeds very slowly and at room temperature; the must is neither heated nor cooled. This guarantees wines that are very precise & aromatic. After about twenty days, the wine is pressed and then matured in large
old wooden casks for some twenty months. During this time, the wine is racked only once and ultimately bottled without filtration.
Finally, some water!, the vines sighed, because during the summer of 2016 we had some nice little bits of rainfall now and then, which helped the vines to relax after the stressful dry and extremely hot year 2015. For our work in the vineyards, the rain sometimes offered complications. Even greater, since 2016 was our first year of working with organic treatments! But the vines and the grapes really enjoyed the water. Maturing was slow but very steady, the sugar content grew very slowly and stayed moderate, so that we could wait with the harvest until the second half of September and profit from a full aromatic maturation. The acidity was very fine and elegant, the grapes were healthy, nicely balanced and showed a very relaxed sense of flavour.
“The 2016 Carnuntum Rote Erde is deep, fresh and fleshy on the well-concentrated but elegant and refined nose. This is more or less pure Merlot with remarkable precision and freshness on the nose. Full-bodied, lush and intense on the palate, this is a well-structured, fresh and pithy, quite powerful and persistent red with remarkable intensity and tension.” – Stephan Reinhardt, Robert Parker
Robert Parker: 90 points