Alwin Jurtschitsch is the best young producer in Austria. In a tasting, Jurtschitsch's wines blew us away. His Rieslings from Loiserberg and Heiligenstein are penetrating, lasting, and intense. Thrilling in their edge and precision, they vibrate on the tongue and sides of the mouth. The Heiligenstein Riesling is a showstopper, but we have to call out the brilliant Grüner Veltliners at this estate, too. —Rajat Parr, Atlas of Taste
...strikingly delicious, complex, and compulsively drinkable. —David Schildknecht
This Article Contains
Alwin Jurtschitsch & Stephanie Hasselbach (of the Gunderloch family)
Most famous site in Kamptal and one of the great vineyards of Austria. This terraced hill is an outcropping of 270 million year old unique formation of red sandstone and conglomerate with volcanic permian rocks. Superb Riesling is to be found here. Some plots are up to 60 years old.
The soils are variable, with different underlying bedrock: within a small area one can find crystalline rocks such as amphibolite, gneiss, and mica schist, alternating with much younger clay marl, sands, and rare gravels that were deposited in the ancient Paratethys Sea 16 million years ago.
Southeast of the Heiligenstein vineyard is the Ried Lamm. The deep loess-loam formation is interspersed with volcanic rock with a distinctive silt component. Grüner Veltliner finds ideal conditions on these deep, south-facing loess-loam terraces, to produce a particularly complex and expressive wine.
The old-style of classic Kamptal and its vineyards, from before the rise of Parker points and alcohol levels.
- Conversion started in 2006.
- Replanting happens more densely.
- Whey instead of copper sulfate for mildew.
- Experimenting with new pruning methods
Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Zweigelt, Pinot Noir, Sankt Laurent, Weissburgunder, Gelber Muskateller
- Spontaneous fermentation
- Stay out of the say so the site can speak for itself.
- Entry level wines made in stainless steel tanks
- Single vineyard are in old, large fuder (oak barrel)
- Minimal sulfur at bottling
After tasting through at least 50 producers and over 300 wines at last year’s vieVinum wine fair in Austria, I can unequivocally say that Jurtschitsch is one of Austria's greatest wine estates. If you already appreciate the wines of Hirsch, Bründlmayer, Knoll, Alzinger, Bernhard Ott, Prager, and the rest of Austria's elite forces, but haven’t stumbled on Jurtschitsch, you, my friend, are missing out. And if you don't know anything about Austrian wines or those names I just mentioned, then this is the perfect place to start.
Vanguards of the natural wine scene in the Kamptal, an Austrian region known for elegant and aromatic wines. The young couple took over Alwin’s family estate, the oldest in the Kamptal with a cellar dating back 700 years, in 2006. They are committed to protecting the biodiversity of the forests around them. Eschewing chemicals in the vineyard (even copper-sulfate), employing cover crops and compost, their vineyards are home to copious flora and fauna.
All of that would be for naught if they didn’t also produce some of the most elegant, traditionally-classic wines in the region.
Rieslings, especially, are high acid, elegant and aromatic and still so fairly priced. These are hands down some of the best wines you will find anywhere.
That isn’t to say you should ignore their chiseled Grüner Veltliner, in a country filled with GV, there’s is not to miss. Neither should you pass on their fresh rosés, delicious bubbles, or juicy reds. All these are wines of finesse, achieved by a perfect balance between just-ripe fruit and thrilling acidity levels.
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Amour Fou, 2019 ( 3-btl min.) $36.99 $32.55
The hand-picked grapes for the Amour Fou come from the Loiserberg. Made in search of the wide variety of flavors found in Gruner, and the idea of exploring its potential. Fermented the just-ripe berries on the skins, partly in wooden barrels and a ceramic egg. Every day it was tasted until the optimum level of complexity, aroma and depth was reached. After two weeks it was racked and matured on its lees for 18 more months. Not overloaded with tannins, but rather an alternative story of the variety, Kamptal fruit and its origin through elegance.
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Belle Naturelle, 2021 $25.99 $22.87
From terraced vineyards in Langenlois with a gneiss and granite terroir. Macerated for ten days on skins in open top red wine fermenters, then the free run juice is racked into 600L barrels for aging. Bottled unfiltered and unfined with 10 mg/L of sulfur at bottling. Elderflower and chamomile on the nose with floral and black tea notes on the palate. Alwin calls it, "a wine in its birthday suit."
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Grosse Reserve Brut Nature, 2017 ( 3-btl min.) $41.99 $36.95
Sparkling wine production has a long tradition at the Jurtschitsch Winery. The oldest, historical bottles in the family vinotheque are sparkling wines made by Alwin's great-grandfather. In 2007 they revived this tradition. After a few trips to the Champagne region, Stefanie and Alwin set off in search of a suitable sparkling vineyards in the Kamptal valley and found a Grüner Veltliner vineyard high above Langenlois, at an altitude of almost 400 m, in the village of Mittelberg. Finesse, elegance and precision are important and for this they need a lively acidity structure and slowly developing aromas in the berries. They get both there by cultivating the vineyard with about 50-year-old vines for sparkling wine.
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Kaferberg Erste Lage, 2021 $62.99 $55.43
The Käferberg vineyard overlooks Langenlois and is to Grüner Veltliner what the Heiligenstein vineyard is to Riesling - A Godsend. Their vineyard occupies a warm, sheltered site between 300 and 345 meters above sea level, with a southern and southeastern exposure. The roots of the 62-year-old vines grow deep in a very rocky soil and bring a special saltiness in the wine. It is a sunny vineyard, but also very windy. The character of the wine is always a bit richer without being fat. This wine sees two days of maceration on the skins, followed by two months of slow spontaneous fermentation and ten months of aging on the full lees.
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Lamm Erste Lage, 2021 $65.99 $58.07
Calcareous loess characterizes the topsoil in the Kammern Lamm vineyard, before the vine roots meet reddish perm rock after a few meters. Every year, the Lamm vineyard inspires the producers with its extraordinary and particularly expressive Grüner Veltliner wines. On the palate, this wine shows a full body and depth with ripe pome fruit aromas, multi-layered. It is elegant with juiciness and fine minerally notes in the finish - a Veltliner with a lot of aging potential.
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Loiserberg Erste Lage, 2021 $37.99 $33.43
“...shows prominent lactic notes, and in the background, orange aromas appear. The palate seems quite quaffable at first, but then it turns out to be powerful and distinctive, even a bit phenolic, but without being bitter. Overall, it's a juicy, quite complex and persistent Veltliner from the loess-covered crystalline rocks of the rather cool Loiserberg. 12.5% stated alcohol. Screw-cap closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. 92+ pts” --Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Schenkenbichl Erste Lage, 2021 ( 3-btl min.) $49.99 $43.99
Amphibolites meet limestone in the terraces of the south-exposed Langenlois Schenkenbichl. The name Schenkenbichl derives from "Geschenk", which means "present", and Stef and Alwin are grateful to savor the gifts of this vineyard. Fermented in 1000-liter wooden barrels made of local oak with natural yeasts.
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Terrassen, 2022 $18.99 $16.71
A blend of different vineyards around the Kamptal valley, primarily from loess soils. The fruit is hand-harvested, with some sorting done in the vineyard. The grapes are macerated on the skins for a short time before fermentation in stainless steel. Grüner Veltliner is a wonderful food companion, and this goes well with light starters but also with heavier main dishes, fish, or cheese. Intense aroma of fruit and blossoms, this is fresh and spicy, at the same time complex and mouth-filling with a lively acidity. A fantastic everyday Grüner!
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Urgestein, 2022 $23.99 $21.11
Jurtschitsch's focus is always to make wines that show the cool climate of Austria, emphasizing finesse over power. The "Urgestein" is a blend of two different vineyards, the Loiserberg and Steinmassl, more of the latter. It's spontaneously fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks.
Jurtschitsch, Mon Blanc, 2021 $25.99 $22.87
Blend of Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Weissburgunder, and Muskateller - all from the Loiserberg vineyard. Made in the same way as the Belle Naturelle - ten days on skins in open top red wine fermenters. Must goes into 600 L oak barrels. Unfined, unfiltered with just 10g of sulfur at bottling. Total production = 500 cases.
Jurtschitsch, Pinot Noir Langenlois, 2019 ( 3-btl min.) $30.99 $27.27
The grapes were crushed, filled into open fermentation tanks with stalks and stems and left to spontaneously ferment without temperature control. After 14 days it was pressed and racked into 300-500-liter wooden barrels.
Jurtschitsch, Riesling Loiserberg Erste Lage, 2021 ( 3-btl min.) $38.99 $34.30
"...shows prominent lactic notes, and in the background, orange aromas appear. The palate seems quite quaffable at first, but then it turns out to be powerful and distinctive, even a bit phenolic, but without being bitter. Overall, it's a juicy, quite complex and persistent Veltliner from the loess-covered crystalline rocks of the rather cool Loiserberg. 12.5% stated alcohol. Screw-cap closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. 92+ pts" --Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Jurtschitsch, Riesling Quelle, 2019 $71.99 $63.35
A few years ago it was discovered through careful observation that the flora and geology in a small plot on the east side of Ried Heiligenstein is different from the rest of the site. In old records and through information from the previous owner they found that a small water source rises here, which has a decisive influence on the vineyard. There was once a stone hut with a basin fed by the water, where winegrowers used to soak the straw to tie up the vines. The vegetation here is exceptional: water-loving plants thrive, such as reeds, which are not found elsewhere on Heiligenstein. There is an optimal supply of water even in dry, warm years and releases essential minerals, chalk and nutrients from the depths of the 250 million year old Permian rock, which are absorbed by the fine vine roots for a totally unique expression of Riesling.
Jurtschitsch, Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein Erste Lage, 2021 $41.99 $36.95
“Aged on its lees in 2,000-liter native oak barrels until summer, the 2021 Ried Heiligenstein 1ÖTW Riesling shows depth as well as ripe, elegant fruit with notes of stone fruits and weathered rock. Juicy, elegant and dense in the mouth, this is a powerful, mouthfilling, intense and complex Riesling that is somewhat lactic on the finish. It shows plenty of substance but still little pleasure. Give it time! 13% stated alcohol. Screw-cap closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. 93 pts” -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Jurtschitsch, Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein Erste Lage Alte Reben, 2019 $67.99 $59.83
“...the old-vines selection of the iconic cru in Zöbing and offers an intense and very complex bouquet with a concentrated mix of crushed flowers, herbs and fully ripe and healthy golden-colored Riesling berries yet luckily without those stereotypical stone fruit aromas of far too many Austrian Rieslings. Crystalline, fresh and elegant on the palate, this is a full-bodied, complex and juicy but most of all mineral and stimulating Heiligenstein that reveals a tight tannin structure to balance the richness and concentration. Great aging potential. This wine should be served form a big glass. 13% alcohol. Tasted at Schloss Gobelsburg in June 2021. 95+ pts” -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Jurtschitsch, Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein Erste Lage Alte Reben, 2021 $68.99 $60.71
Heiligenstein, the most famous vineyard in the Kamptal, is legendary for Riesling. The terraced south and southwest facing slope has a unique geological history and it's unusual that soil this old is at the surface of the earth. The outcropping bedrock consists of a reddish-brown sandstone with a high feldspar content, coarse conglomerates, and minor siltstone. These sediments formed approximately 250-280 million years ago under arid conditions, in lakes, ponds, and ephemeral rivers. The rocks contain fossilized plants and gravel with clasts of volcanic rhyolite. Loess is only preserved in a few locations, within shallow depressions. For the Alte (old) Reben (vines), the vines naturally have very low yields. Grapes are gently pressed and macerated cold for a few hours before being fermented spontaneously and matured on the fine lees in 1,000 liter wooden casks. The deep roots in the meager rock result in a very elegant, tightly woven, tension-filled riesling, which particularly shows the beauty of this special site and the vintage.
Jurtschitsch, Rosé Belle Naturelle, 2022 $27.99 $24.63
Hand-picked grapes of Zweigelt and Pinot Noir were pressed whole bunch like a ""blanc de noir"". The bright juice fermented spontaneously with destemmed grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon in neutral Austrian oak barrels. The skin fermented Cabernet-Sauvignon grapes bring color and structure to the wine. After two weeks, the wine is racked into used oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and then spends about six months on the lees. Fermentation with a combination of berries gives a unique and complex natural wine with a high diversity of flavors.
Jurtschitsch, Rose Brut, NV $37.99 $33.43
“This offers a lovely balance, with finely detailed texture and delicate acidity that focuses subtle flavors of ripe plum, wild strawberry and a hint of almond. The finish is marked by a savory mineral element. 90 pts” — Aleks Zecevic, Wine Enthusiast
Jurtschitsch, Rosé vom Zweigelt, 2022 $20.99 $18.47
“...lifts up with a compelling mix of crushed rocks and citrus zest, complimenting the dried apricot and peach aromas. It's zesty and energetic, sizzling upon the senses with mineral-tinged orchard fruits and sour melon tones. A bump of residual acidity maintains a lovely freshness as the 2022 finishes with a salty flourish. 91 pts” -- Eric Guido, Vinous Media
Sonnhof Social Club, Grüner Veltliner, NV (1L) $18.99 $16.71
Made by Alwin and Stef Jurtschitsch in their winery in the Kamptal. All fruit comes from four growers in the Kamptal, all handpicked, all following organic agriculture. Bright, white peach with a crisp finish.