Producer Profile: “Our family has been making natural wine for 500 years and now it is our turn to continue with this tradition.” This is the introductory dictum to the Koppitsch wines and one that would make you think they wear the weight of those centuries heavily; however, what becomes very quickly clear in reading more about Alex & Maria Koppitsch – and in tasting their wines – is the joy endemic to this project, the sense of curiosity and fun. Notice that choice of words as well in the mission statement: “turn” rather than “duty.” Winemaking then is a chosen thing which makes it a living concept to them, one animated by the succession of decisions to choose to do this. It sparks the right kinds of irreverence and glee in their inimitably delicious bottlings. Weingut Koppitsch operates in the very small town of Neusiedl am See, on the northern limits of the freshwater and marshlands of Lake Neusiedl in far eastern Austria, a region known as Burgenland that borders Hungary, set in the midst of the Pannonian Steppe, the Puszta. Not far north of town – erecting the topographic-climatic arena in which the grapes are grown – are the gently undulating hills of the Leitha Mountain Range. This is a picturesque, windswept place of (now) wintry verdancy, and the biodynamic wines of Alex and Maria Koppitsch reflect the very specific feeling inspired by such a setting.
Vinification: Zweigelt and St. Laurent. Grapes are hand-harvested and fermented on the skins using native yeasts for about 10 days. The grapes are then pressed and the juice goes in stainless steel tanks and acacia barrels for 14 months of elevage. The wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, with a small dash of SO2.
Tasting Notes: The name of this cuvée translates to “grassy meadow” in English, due to the fact that the land where the St. Laurent and Zweigelt grapes that go into this bottling, was once an open, grassy meadow where livestock would ruminate. The story here with ‘Rét’ is all about freshness and smashability. The nose’s reduction is well-integrated with the rest of the bouquet, rounding out a vivid, dynamic portrait of fresh, wet bramble and dark-berries before a palate (with a really light body) full of underripe cranberries, a kind of pithy pomegranate vibe and maitake teriyaki mushrooms. A perfect chillable red to pair with heartier winter fare, like a chargrilled neapolitan pizza or duck breast with a cacophony of roasted winter root vegetables.