Wachau | Rossatz

Located in the heart of the Wachau in the village of Rossatz, Georg Frischengruber farms 10 hectares of vines on the slightly obscure right bank of the Danube.  Since taking over the family estate Georg has begun to incorporate organic viticulture, spontaneous fermentation, and long lees aging to capture wines of freshness, focus, and elegance.

Like many great Austrian wine estates, the history at this domaine has deep roots with the earliest written records dating back to 1563.  The Frischengruber family took over the estate around 200 years ago and today, Georg is the fifth generation of his family to make wine here.  He always knew he wanted to follow the family path.  Even at 8 years old, when asked at school what he wanted to be when he grew up, Georg presciently responded “I want to be a winzer.”

Rossatz is on the right bank of the Danube directly across from Dürnstein. The right bank of the Danube is not as well known as the left bank, and the microclimate is very different.  Mautern, where Stagård has some sites (and also home to Nikolaihof), is upriver from Frischengruber’s home village of Rossatz.  The vineyards in this bend in the Danube are not as steep as those around Weissenkirchen, and the soils are also more varied with primary rock (urgestein) as the main subsoil with gravel, gneiss, mica-schist and loess on top.

Frischengruber’s main vineyards are Zanzl, Steiger, Kirnberg and Goldberg.  Riesling is planted exclusively in the Goldberg where the soil is primary rock.  The Kirnberg has varying soils and both riesling and grüner veltliner are planted there.  Steiger and Zanzl are mostly loess over urgestein, so grüner veltliner is the variety in these sites.  In his vines, Georg completely eschews the use of pesticides and herbicides and works to, as he explains, “give the soil and the vineyards what they need, working softly by hand to reduce as much mechanical work as possible.”

Stylistically, the wines are very precise and focused and not in the vein of many Wachau producers who embrace botrytis and full-bodied expressions of their wines.  Georg is more interested in wines of purity and vineyard expression than wines of power. All of the wines are fermented spontaneously and aged on the fine lees until late summer when they are bottled adding extra texture, complexity, and clarity.

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