Bründlmayer – Kamptal finesse in vineyards and in restaurant

Willi Brundlmayer
Bründlmayer Riesling Steinmassel was crowned the best white wine of 2013 by Wine magazine in Finland. Here’s a look at where this and other top wines from the estate come from. Also a visit to their own top restaurant.

History of Bründlmayer

The Bründlmayer estate has been in the family for centuries, but it was not until the 1950′ that they gave up other agricultural activities and concentrated solely on wine. Willi Bründlmayer’s mother, the current manager of the winery, had once asked his father if he had a dream? Willi’s father had replied:” Yes, I wanted to concentrate solely on making quality wines”. He also asked the same question to his wife, who replied: “My dream would be to be able to have a holiday one day!” So they decided to combine these two goals and the current Bründlmayer was born.

Bründlmayer landscape

Bründlmayer estate in a nutshell

  • Location Kamptal/Langenlois, Austria
  • 75 hectares, average 4000L/hectare
  • 420,000 bottles per year
  • Grapes: 33% Grüner Veltliner, 25% Riesling, 12% Pinot Noir, 7% Zweigelt.

Kamptal is Austria’s coolest wine-growing region

In the 1950s, when Willi Bründlmayer’s parents set out with their new dream, Kamptal was cold for viticulture and they could only grow a few varieties with mixed success.

As a result of global warming, the Kamptal today is “only” a cool region, so Bründlmayer has so far merely benefited from global warming, as they can now put more varieties in the ground.

– The Kamptal Valley and its vineyards are on hills where it is always windy. That’s an advantage for us when it comes to rainy autumns. In the close by Wachau river valley you have to be very careful that the Danube doesn’t mist the grapes too much and cause mold. This happens easily, especially in autumn during the harvesting season. It can be cool here, but not so cool that it causes major problems. We can easily move the picking time by a week to get the grapes to optimum ripeness,” says the winegrower himself.

Ecology before certificates

There are a few dozen winegrowers in Langenlois and all are very ecologically oriented. Everywhere is green, open land is nowhere to be seen, as row fields are planted with plants that improve the soil. Despite his ecological mindset, Willi Bründlmayer has been reluctant to switch to organic or Biodynamic certification because he wants to keep in his hands the chance to save the harvest in a disastrous year.

Bründlmayer flowers

Soil is the key to top wines

Bründlmayer has many old vines “Alte Reben” with roots deep in the soil. The old vines produce few grapes, but they are the best at extracting minerals from the soil and the little wine they produce is unmatched in its complexity. Bründlmayer also spends a lot of time researching which grape variety is best suited to which soil. They use four very different varieties on different vineyards.

Bründlmayer soils
The aim is to find the best variety for each soil.

Lyre method

In the traditional method of viticulture the vine shoots are supported vertically along the trellises, giving the grapes maximum exposure to the sun, even at midday when the sun is at its hottest.

With the Lyre system, or V-shaped support, the wine grows the leaves on the grapes as a sort of parasol, so that they only receive direct sunlight in the morning and evening. Willi compares the grape skin to skin. If you sunbathe at midday, your skin will burn quickly. The same happens to the skin of grapes and they are then more susceptible to disease. Lyre shoots also have more airy stems, so they dry out faster in the wind.

Bründlmayer lyre
The lyre was invented as early as the 1800s in France, but Bründlmayer has been the first to use it in Austria since the 1970s.

The cellar favours wood – even the local Acacia

At harvest time, the vines are hand-picked up to three times to ensure that only grapes at just the right stage of ripeness are brought to the cellar for processing. The white wines are pressed very slowly in cool conditions to extract the aromas of the skins as much as possible.

Bründlmayer cellar
The soil and the wood of the barrel must be just right for each grape variety. Indeed, Bründlmayer ages its Grüner Veltliner in nearby Acacia barrels for its gentle touch, which preserves the Grüner Veltliner’s spiciness and doesn’t introduce a vanilla taste to the wine.

Bründlmayer barrels
Depending on the type of wine, the wine ages in large or small wooden barrels for 3-18 months. A year and a half is a long time for a white wine, but a master knows what he’s doing.

– In a few decades you learn all sorts of things about the winemaking process, Willi says. Even something as unimportant as water is extremely important in a wine cellar.
– The best cellars have their own well. Chlorine in tap water is the worst thing that can happen to wine – and you have to wash those barrels with something, Willi advises.

Bründlmayer sparkling wines
Craftsmanship characterises the entire production of the farm. Even the sparkling wines are still “danced” by hand.
The Brut 1989 vintage is already starting to have a chess record ready.
The uncorked Brut 1989 vintage is already starting to have a chess record ready.

The restaurant is the place to taste the wines

A stone’s throw from the Langenlois Wine Museum Loisium is the Bründlmayer restaurant Heurigenhof. The menus are specially constructed to suit the wines of the estate and the food is artful and delicious, as you might expect. By Finnish standards, the prices are comfortably affordable – especially for the wines.

Bründlmayer terrace
Bründlmayer menu
Bründlmayer kala
Bründlmayer peura

Bründlmayer wine tasting

Accompanied by an exceptional menu, we were treated to a spectacular sampling of the estate’s wines which left an unforgettable impression. No wonder the 90+ point ratings are raining down from around the world. The Grüner Veltliners in particular are surprisingly interesting. Read also the verdict on Alko’s wine of the year.

Bründlmayer wines

Brut Rosé
Rich nose. A bit of lime and flowers. Orange peel. Small bubbles. Light but intense acidity. Great mousse. Crisp. Clean.

Brut 2010
Exquisitely roasted. Elegant. Petrollic. Ripe apple. Good acidity. Balance. A truly stunning package.

Grüner Veltliner Kamptaler Terrassen 2013
A clean, pear-like nose. Fruit. Subdued acidity. Elegant. Firm.

Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2012
Intense and mineral. Lets the earth through nicely. Spices. Ripe apple. Harmonious taste. Optimal acidity and intensity. Absolutely sensational.

Grüner Veltliner Käferberg 2012
As above, but slightly more pear-like and rounded. Apricot.

Grüner Veltliner Loiser Berg 2010
Rip and lush apricot. Nutty. Rhubarb. Minerals. Developed. Balanced fruit. Muscular but fresh.

Riesling Steinmassel Reserve 2012
Pear. Lime. Fresh and youthful. Residual sugar. Acidic and fruity. Balanced. Long finish, with a hint of spice.

Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein Alte Reben 2012
Mineral and developed. Multidimensional. Less sugar than above, so acidity is accentuated. Long. Finesse. Bite of grapefruit.

Vincent Cabernet Franc 2004
An elegantly evolved nose. Blackcurrant, cinnamon. Medium-bodied. Like velvet. Punchy tannins cling to the wine. Absolutely stunning Franc.

Gelber Muskateller Auslese 2012
Tropic, honey. Flowers and pine forest. Acidic. Sweet. Balanced. Clean. Perfecto.

Text: Janne Suomi
Photos: Janne Suomi and Sami Issakainen

Last Updated on June 5, 2022 by Flavorado

This post is also available in: Suomi

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Janne Suomi

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