This refreshing gem of an Austrian Pinot Noir comes from young vines grown on loess and river deposits. It gushes with rugged alpine berries like blackberry, raspberry, and black cassis, as well as earthy notes of bramble, forest floor, and smoke. The palate is fresh with soft yet bright acidity, while refreshing notes of crisp red fruit and pine-scented forest rest on the soft tannic finish.
Many red wines in Austria reveal too many outside modernities, but such is not the case with this charmer. It spends its fermentation in stainless steel followed by a medium length élevage in a very old 1,500-liter foudre. The wine is not so much as nicked by any nuance of wood, which keeps this Alpine-fresh wine pure and thoroughly enjoyable.
Terroir: Malat’s vineyards are located on the right bank (south side) of the Danube. Despite large topographical differences on the two sides of the river, all of the Kremstal is similarly influenced by the cold winds of the Waldviertel from the north and forests from the south, which creates a tug-of-war with the warm Pannonian climate from the east. These grapes come from two vineyards close to Danube which were flooding zones before the hydroelectric dams were installed; the result is a fertile topsoil with limestone cobbles and a mix of various gravels.
Vinification: The grapes are hand picked and selected without botrytis. The berries are gently destemmed, depending on the vintage there is a small amount of whole clusters used. The first sulfite addition is done before the spontaneous fermentation with natural yeast. After fermentation the young wine is racked into a stainless steel tank for sedimentation, then put in used barrels as well as in bigger wood casks where malolactic takes place after several month.
Aging: 18 months in old 300l – 2,500l wood barrels
It is never easy to fill the shoes of a powerful and polarizing figure, like Gerald Malat. Gerald’s tall, handsome and forever smiling son, is doing just that. In fact, the shoe size seems to have gotten even bigger under Michael’s direction. The previous level has been elevating under Michael’s eagle-like eyes which have set him on his upward climb. There is something extraordinary and unique about the expression of these vineyards under Michael’s direction. Even the entry-level wines find absolute deliciousness and express enough intellect to enamor us wine geeks. There is a range of yellow fruits and spiciness that walks you through a stone fruit grove and into a baker’s shop first thing in the morning. These wines seem to be born with a natural gravitation towards the highest level and each vintage seems to trump the previous one. The limit of the quality this estate is churning out has not yet been established.
Kremstal is one of the most recent DAC to be added to Austria. Founded in 2007, just west of the Wachau, this large appellation is divided into three significant zones. The most western part of the valley, near Stein, is primarily rocky soils, ideal for the elegant, yet intense, Riesling varietal. As you move east towards the historic town of Krems, deep loess soils cover the vineyards allowing Gruner Veltliner to express its highly aromatic and fresh nature. The third zone of the Kremstal is located on the southern banks of the Danube River, where some of the most pleasant wine villages are found. The deep valley is protected by the northern cool winds, though the warm Pannonian winds from the east are still strikingly present, resulting in a riper style wine.