From within one of the oldest, most globally recognized “fine-wine” regions of Austria, and from two of the more prominent winemaking families, have emerged Martin and Anna Arndorfer of Weingut Arndorfer whose enterprise carries with it the legacy of Kamptal’s elegant and powerful Grüners & Rieslings though on markedly more modern, experimental, and oftentimes playful terms. The Kamptal is a region of Austria within Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) and is, despite the name, in the northeast of the country. It is a region defined by river valleys and complex geologic fans of ancient volcanic deposits and a topsoil of decomposed loess. The main river of the region is the one after which it is named: the Kamp. Distinguishing the appellation into halves, west of the river is Langenlois and east of the river is Straß im Straßertale, the two principal growing areas of Kamptal. In the latter, the Arndorfer wines stand out for their clarity in conjunction with experimentation – that is, they marry whimsy and curiosity with expertise and precision. The kind of wines that hit the rare sweetspot, where from the biggest ‘natty’ drinkers to the most ‘classical’ you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t fall hopelessly in love with a bottle of Arndorfer.
Vinification: Mostly Zweigelt with a touch of Pinot Noir. 70% of the fruit is kept whole cluster, 10% is destemmed but kept whole berry, and the final 20% is destemmed and crushed. Fermentation takes place in old wood for 10 days before pressing. The wine is aged for six months neutral barrels. Unfined, unfiltered, with just a touch of SO2.
Tasting: A medium-bodied red with some spice. On the nose: dark red and blue fruits, winter spices and the piney woods. On the palate: brambly blackberry, coffee-rubbed roast and black pepper. A soifable, winter red perfect for a fireside chat.