Site & soil
The grapes for this Merlot grow on the Spitzerberg, in the vineyards Ried Roterd & Ried Spitzer, 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.
2018 was a year of extremes: very fast flowering, then a cooler period with some rains until end of June. Followed by a very dry and very hot summer. We had to cut off grapes from young vines to prevent them from dying. The old vines with their deep roots, though, were less impressed by the heat. Begin of september, just before harvest, we had big rains which caused some problems in flat vineyards. But on the stony and dry vineyards on the higher Spitzerberg, those rains even were beneficial, as they reduced the stress and helped to soften the tannins. Cool nights during autumn brought charming aroma and freshness.
The result is a beautiful complex and dense wine.