Producer Profile: A 350 year-old winery gets a metaphysical makeover. And a little physical as well – the dictates of a farming philosophy have to be put into practice! This is how it went for Johannes Zillinger when, in 2013, he’d inherited the reins of his family’s estate in the Weinviertel of Lower Austria. It was his father who converted the vines to a practice of organic viticulture back in the early ‘80s, embarking on a separate path than most of the rest of Austria, which was just about to undergo the infamous Anti-Freeze scandal, spawning a sea-change in both vineyard and cellar practices nationwide. In this way, the Zillinger estate has served for nearly forty years as an object example of what Austria writ large has grown into, with respect to enriching the environment in order to protect it, rather than wreaking havoc on it and destroying an entire soil’s health. And so, in 2013, a new philosophy had been adopted and put into practice when Johannes converted the estate to biodynamics – the essence of something metaphysical as well wanders throughout the wines of Johannes Zillinger, due in no small part to this biodynamic approach. Onesuch small example would be the common use of solera method in his cellar: crafting a harmonious snapshot of a place across vintages expresses a truly biodynamic intensity and emotion, at once broad and precise, static and in-motion. Inimitable wines from a cerebral winemaker with a flair for the mysterious and incantatory.
Vinification: The vinification on this one is for the real nerds out there. In order to not over-simplify the genius of Zillinger, I'll leave it to the importer: "This release is 50% Chardonnay, partially fermented carbonically in amphora, followed by co-fermentation with Scheurebe, and finally blended with Riesling from a solera of vintages 2013-2015. Aged in used wood. Unfined, unfiltered with no sulfur added. The Solera-system of Riesling, which has been built up since 2013, gives character to this wine. Structure comes out of the Chardonnay from selected berries and grapes, which is done in amphoras of 500 liters. The revolutionary taste of this wine is the result of nothing added nothing removed winemaking."
Tasting Notes: Soft, cloudy, pale-yellow in the glass. Aromatics galore: lemon, pineapple and a bounty of other tropical fruits. Fuller-bodied but fresh and zippy nonetheless, tropical fruits dance with singing acidity. Such a freaky little wine! Zillinger is a true boundary-pusher when it comes to unconventional winemaking. We're hooked.