Limestone soil, spontaneous fermentation in opened top-tanks (20% whole bunch, 20% carbonic), crushed and de-stemmed, punching down once a day by hand, no remontage, pressed after 20 days, aged 18 months in large neutral Austrian oak casks (1,300 L). Unfiltered. Minimal Suphur. The Blaufrankisch grapes for this wine came from three different vineyards from the flatter parts of the chain of hills near the town of Rust (pronounced "roost".) Weathered limestone with loam layers in the surface-soil. Michael Wenzel has created an elegant, Burgundian style of Blaufrankisch while utilizing very little sulphur (total sulphur: 35 mg/l).
Wenzel's transition was not one from good to great,- he started from great. In fact Wenzel's wines were as highly regarded then as they are now, and Michael's decision to throw out a successful model and venture off onto new and unproven terrain was certainly not an easy one. Michael had found himself at a crossroads, realizing that his somewhat traditional approach to the varieties of his region and the winemaking practices he had employed up until then, was becoming stale and boring to him. It was the autochthonous variety Furmint that had really captured Michael's imagination and interest. Almost simultaneously producers in Friuli, Styria and the Loire started to experiment with long-forgotten winemaking techniques that would soon be referred to as "natural" and later become a household name of the more adventurous crowd of wine consumers. This too had grabbed Michael's attention and he saw the potential to marry the two ideas into a new, entirely different Wenzel winery.
And so it began: using many decades of experience and employing the same attention to detail, Michael started to make wines that were a far departure from his former self. Autochthonous varieties, low sulfur, native yeast, and organic farming became the hallmarks of Wenzel's wines, while he experimented with skin contact in his line of natural wines called Wild&Free.