100 Most Iconic Wine Estates:
Germany, Austria and Hungary

Karthauserhof Mosel
The simple premise at this estate is that they hand-tend, hand pick, hand-make and hand-bottle every single bottle themselves. The team knows all of the disciplines of their colleagues and they are a well drilled and faithful unit. The vineyard is owned exclusively by the family and it is made up of weathered Devonian slate at an angle of up to 45 degrees. This slate retains the heat during the day and the clay deposits in the soil retains the water., so this vineyard has the perfect makeup for performing at the highest level in even the most challenging vintages. The rose-red coloured slate is responsible for imbuing the most extraordinary minerality in the range of Rieslings and Pinot Blancs made here.
A Weissburgunder Trocken (dry Pinot Blanc) kicks off the range and is as pure as can be. All of the other wines are from Riesling and there are masses of them across all styles. From Kabinett, to Kabinett Feinherb (with more ripeness, similar to an old Halbtroken), to Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese and Eiswein, this is a sliding scale of sweetness and rarity is utterly compelling. You will see that on some of the very sweet wines there is a Fuder number and this relates to the barrel from which the wines came. While the forward drinking dry Kabinett wines are eminently affordable, at everyday prices, the Eiswein’s can reach several hundred pounds a bottle, such is their rarity.
The main difference between all of these wines is their level of sweetness; they come from slightly different parts of the vineyard and were picked at different times. All are fermented in stainless steel and the forward styles are bottled straight away. , while the very sweet styles lounge in old oak barrels (fuder) until bottling. So, unlike traditional winemaking, this single vineyard experiences innumerable passages through the vineyard by the pickers; harvesting exactly the right bunches for each specific style of wine and then waiting a few more days and doing the same for another style. The image of a vineyard being used over and over again to make such a large range of wines is baffling and fascinating in equal measure. That all of the wines have exactly the same intense slate-y notes and pristine purity of fruit is not surprising but it is the sheer beauty and length of flavour that sets this estate apart from the rest. The other remarkable point about this winery is that they use the smallest labels you have ever seen. In fact they are neck labels and when a bottle is served you might think that the real label has fallen off in the ice bucket. However, on closer inspection you can see that all of the information is neatly included on the neck label.
Karthauserhof celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2011 and with a recent archaeological find proving that the Romans also made wine here it is more than conceivable that this extraordinary hill will continue to yield some of the finest Riesling in the world for centuries to come.

Joh. Jos. Prum Mosel

This estate is 100 years ols and is widely regarded as the finest in the country. Almost singularly famous for the wines from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard across all sweetness levels including the rare goldkapsel ( literally gold capsule) wines, these are celestial, highly sophisticated Rieslings. The 13.5HA estate, with nearly 70% ungrafted vines, also includes holdings in Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Graacher, Himmelreich, Graacher Domprobst, Bernkasteler Lay and Bernkastler Badstube and all these wines last for Aeons.
Dr. Lossen Mosel
Ernst Loosen runs one of the greatest estates in Germany. Based just outside Bernkastel, with a large collection of old vines over 12HA, he makes some of the most intriguing and mesmerising wines in the country. Watch out for the following wines (listed village first, vineyard second) Erdener Trepchen, Erdener Pralat, Urziger Wurzgarten, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Bernkasteler Lay and Graacher Himmelreich at a full range of sweetness levels. With encouragingly low yields and mercurial winemaking, Erni manages to imbue more strength of character and bravado into his wines, making the sweeter cuvees less cloying and more mineral-soaked than those of his peers. The sweet spot of value, complexity and drinkability has to be the Auslese level, between 5 and 10 years of age.
Franz Hirtzberger Wachau
This 12HA estate is situated in the south-western end of the Wachau on excruciatingly steep terraces., looking down the Danube. The wines made here sing of their precise site and their incomparable work done in the vineyard by their guardians, the Hirtzbergers. Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel is the pinnacle of production wine here, but the portfolio is star-studded. Rieslings Hochrainand Setzberg also perform with balletic and power, and Gruners Axpoint and Honivogl redefine the upper echelons of potential and complexity for this wistful variety.
Moric Burgenland
Roland Velich started his Moric project in 2001. He doesn’t own any vines, preferring to enter into contracts with growers who own very old(alte reben ) Blaufrankisch vines. His intention is to reflect their soil and site in his profound wines. Velich’s shamanic mastery leaves you flabbergasted. His wines have all of the elements of the classic grape varieties all rolled into one – Pinot Noir fruit purity and majesty, Nebbiolo finesse and tannin structure, and Syrah spice and presence. His Neckenmarkt Alte Reben and Lutzmannsburg Alte Reben wines are works of pure genius with souring fruit flavours underpinned with debauched, musky notes.

Oremus Tokaj

In 1616, Prince Gyorgy Rakoczi I bought the Oremus vineyards which remained in this family until 1711. During this period Mate Szepsi Lacko, a Calvinist preacher, made Tokaj Aszu, for the first time, using botrytis-affected grapes as a present for Princess Zsuzsanna, Gyorgy’s wife. In the 18th century, the wines of Tokaj were enjoyed as far as Vienna, Prague, London and St Petersburg. Since then, the Oremus vineyards have been through massive upheavals including phylloxera and fragmentation of the vineyards themselves. In 1991 the Alvarez family, owners of the most revered of all Spanish estates, Vega Sicilia started discussions with the Hungarian government. Two years later Vega Sicilia founded Tokaj Oremus. Pablo Alvarez studied the history and wines of the region in great detail and, the revival of the estate and the wines started in earnest. With immense respect for the traditions and the laborious winemaking processes, the sole objective of this impassioned man has been to restore the vineyard to its former 17th and 18th grandeur. Tokaj-Hegyalia region, in the northeast of Hungary. The property has 115HA of vines and both the dry and sweet wines are utterly scintillating. Mandolas, the dry wine, is made from the Furmint grape and it is aged for a breif period in Hungarian oak barrels. Oremus was the first producer to use the Furmint variety for dry wines and the result is sensational. With touches of orange blossom and lime and a freshness which lifts the palate, it is a very special creation indeed. The key to this wine is the stunningly rapier sharp acidity also found in the epic sweet wines of Oremus, too. The Late Harvest wine is made with bunches sleected at the end of the picking season including 40% of aszu grapes, affected with noble not. With six months of barrel aging, this is a lighter style of sweet wine and one that acts as the perfect springboard between the Oremus dry style and the range of Tokaj proper.
Tokaj itself is made in a time-honoured and incredibly labour-intensive manner. Aszu grapes are hand-picked one by one and collected in vats whereupon they are crushed to make a paste. Grape must is then added to the extremely sweet paste of different intensity levels called puttonyos. Three puttonyos is moderately sweet and the scale rises to six puttonyos which is very sweet indeed. The wine containing the the pre-determined level of puttonyos sweetness is then fermented and matured very slowly in oak barrels. There is also one more level of Tokaj above the six puttonyos level called Ezsencia, which is made from the free run juice which exudes from the aszu-affected grapes. The alcohol level never rises above 6% in this wine because of the massive level of sweetness and the fermentation itself could take up to four years to complete. The sugar levels are somewhere between 500-700g/l, so it is the sweetest of all styles of wine in the world. Not surprisingly these wines last for centuries. All of the Oremus Tokaj are luscious, pure and exceptionally well made, but it is the bright acidity and golden thread of freshness which sets them apart from other wines and also refreshes the palate after every sip. Typically served in 50cl bottles, Tokaj can concieveably serve a dinner party of eight guests. If you would like to join the ranks of Peter the Great, Voltaire, Queen Victoria, Bram Stoker, Joseph Hatden, Liszt and Beethoven by becoming a Tokaj fan, you cannot do better than Oremus.
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