Grape(s): Gelber Muskateller, Riesling, Scheurebe/Sämling
Localization: Niederösterreich, Austria
Tasting Notes: Intense scent of pineapples and grapefruit with a touch of peppermint and other herbs. Very juicy, inviting, and multifaceted, yet still with very precise structure. Slightly grassy with delicate acidity on the long finish. A versatile and extremely refreshing wine.
The Domain: MG: Michael Gindl. SOL: The name of an ancient vineyard in Michaels home village Hohenruppersdorf. SOL can also be taken as a synonym for the sun but also for the soul in his wines. Wines with extraordinary mineral character, picked from organic treated vineyards, minimally processed and unfiltered. Wines for individualists – made by an individualist.
Hohenruppersdorf, about 30 km northeast of Vienna, is embedded in gently rolling hills and forests at an elevation of 240m above sea level. The first vineyard ever documented in the 14th century bore the name “Sol”. The inhabitants of Hohenruppersdorf have always been freedom loving and only accepted God and the emperor above them. Growing vines has always been very important for them. With 220 hectares (530 acres) under vines, Hohenruppersdorf is the biggest wine-growing municipality in southern Weinviertel.
Like the residents of Hohenruppersdorf, Michael Gindl’s wines also enjoy the freedom to develop at their own pace and in their own style. The buzzard (lat. “Buteo”) on the labels symbolizes this. Michael Gindl says, “Buzzards populate my vineyards during harvest time – to me they are like sentinels of the vineyards and they embody power, wildness and freedom – attributes that suitably describe my wines."
The only single-vineyard wine in Michael Gindl’s portfolio is named SOL: a Grüner Veltliner from 45-year-old vines growing in the oldest vineyard ever documented in Hohenruppersdorf. “Single-vineyard wines from various sites aren’t really our specialty. Our focus is on the planting density and the actual cultivation of the vineyards”, Michael explains.
While 3000 vines per hectare are average in the Weinviertel region, he plants 7000 vines per hectare and even 9000–10000 in premium sites. “I am convinced that the competition between the vines makes them stronger in the long term. I can’t expect high yields, but I can depend on healthy plants!”
“I want to further enhance my vineyards. Since we work biodynamically, they are vital and robust, but the yields are very low. The reason is they have yielded too much for a long time. Old vines are a good marketing term, but they don’t help if they do not give reasonable harvest quantities. Their advantage is to be more robust, less sensitive to different weather conditions, but they don’t deliver more terroir. Of course a certain vine maturity is important; a Pinot Noir allows good quality only when at least 10 years old. Despite this, old vines per se do not necessarily yield better wines.”
“Every 4–5 years I plant new cover between the vines. Despite this, I am not convinced that seeding really makes sense, because those plants that survive are those that already suit the place best. I will sow again in 2014, but with less clover and legumes and more blooming flowers. Due to biodynamic cultivation, there are more insects and more diversity in the vineyards - they are also more beautiful in appearance. In the newly planted vineyards we will design retreats for birds, insects, etc. This is not necessary for vineyards surrounded by hedgerows or near a forest. I have noticed that those vineyards are more robust and suffer less from pests because beneficial insects are present. So I want to have bushes and trees where they are yet absent. It used to be traditional to have cherry, nut and peach trees among the vines in old vineyards. I don’t have to use each single square foot for vines. I prefer to plant them denser to create more competition between them.”