Grüner Veltliner Weinzierlberg
This cuvée is from a very old and well known vineyard in Krems, from which Rainer Wess acquired a parcel in 2013. He now cultivates just under one half a hectare of un-grafted, 60 year old Gruner Veltliner vines in the Weinzierlberg. The site is located between the town of Krems and the Wess winery.
The top soil is pure sand; that is how vines could survive ungrafted (wurzelecht). Geologically, it is the easternmost “Wachau” site because it’s the first cru in Krems which has Gneiss as its subsoil. Other Krems vineyards to the east have a gravel, slate or other soil type, but no primary rock. Due to the age of the vines and also because the vineyard is not irrigated, the roots penetrate deeply to the rocks and yields are lower than in other Krems vineyards.
The 2015 Weinzierlberg Gruner Veltliner was picked on October 23rd by hand. The grapes were healthy and fully ripe. After maceration with the stems (cold soak) over 10 hours, the grapes were gently pressed and fermented in a 1200 liter acacia and oak wood cask. The wine was aged on its fine lees for 8 months before bottling, about one half in the wood cask, and half in a stainless steel tank. Wess bottled 125 cases in June, 2016.
The combination of two soil types – sand over primary rock – and the low-yielding old Gruner Veltliner vines give this wine a silky texture and expressively generous fruit (from the sand) underpinned by structure and minerality (from the Gneiss subsoil).
About the Producer
Rainer Wess founded his own winery in 2003 after many years of diverse experience in the wine trade in both his native Austria and internationally. Rainer’s goal was to produce Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines that would not only be among the best of the region, but also express his very personal style and philosophy. He aims to produce the purest, freshest and most elegant wines possible, with clear expressions of the varietal and site. In 2010, Wess moved his operations to Krems where he renovated a 300-year-old building that once was the wine cellar of a monastery. His 2010 vintage was the first to be vinified in the new gravity-feed winery. He then began to acquire new vineyards around the towns of Krems and Stein.
Today, he owns or rents 7 hectares of exceptionally old and densely planted vines (6000 per hectare) on the south-facing slopes of this region. Wess has created new Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines from these sites which he calls simply “Krems.” The 2019 vintage saw the launch of Rainer Wess’s field blend, called Gemischter Satz (mixed planting). The pinnacles of the Rainer Wess line are the Grüners and Rieslings from the great Loibenberg and Pfaffenberg vineyards. All benefit from several years of cellaring to bring their power and concentration into harmony. Rainer's daughter Christina joined in 2016.
Climate: Throughout the growing season, cool air descends from the top of the slopes. This moderates the warmth at the bottom of the slope which is further enhanced by sunlight reflecting off the Danube. The interplay of temperatures adds complexity and freshness to the wines.
Farming/vinification practices: in the winter of 2020, Rainer Wess began the 3 years transition period to organic certification. In practice, nothing has changed as he has been working his own vineyards in Krems (many with 50 to 100 year-old vines) organically over the last few years. As harvest approaches, usually early October and running through November, Wess ensures that the grapes have an optimal balance of physiological ripeness and acidity, with no botrytis. As he explains, “my main goal is ripe and healthy fruit which can have extended hang-time on the vine.” The fruit is picked by hand and brought to the winery in small plastic crates. Wess vinifies in small batches to ensure full control over the process and the full, individual expression of each varietal and site. When necessary, he fines with Bentonite clay, and then lightly filters before bottling. The wines are vegan.
Click here: Interview of Christina Wess
Click here: Rainer Wess talks about his winery, vineyards and Grüner Veltliner wines.