Christoph Wachter is a leading producer in the Eisenberg DAC and handcrafts very fine wines of great purity and elegance. The 2015 Blaufränkisch bottlings are fabulous in their perfect ripeness and balance. Without a doubt, these are great Austrian red wines. — Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Precise, mineral driven Blaufränkisch that clearly shows a sense of place. And that place, Eisenberg, is like no other.
Sub Region |
Eisenberg (formerly Sub Burgenland), villages of Eisenberg and Deutsch Schützen
- Even though this is the furthest southern region of Burgenland, it is actually the coolest, with harvest 2-3 weeks later than the rest. This is because it sits in the hills of the pre-Alps, surrounded by forest, which keeps cool air circulating and wines very fresh.
Eisenberg is the name of the region, after its most famous hill the Eisenberg or Iron Mountain. There have been iron mines here since the iron age and that mineral component has a huge effect on the wines.
- Saybritz: The crown-jewel of Eisenberg. A super steep site with rare ancient green slate from the Penninic period with varying degrees of humus and clay on top. Think Cornas, wild, gamey, but excellent structure.
- Reihburg: The top of the Eisenberg hill at about 900 feet elevation. Soils are sandy loam, sandy-gravelly with a high proportion of quartz and mica, over the green, iron rich slate. Earlier drinking, a very complex version of the Saybritz. Think Saint Joseph with sausages.
- Ratschen: A north-east facing plot in Deutsch Schützen. Soils are iron rich, with sandy loam, sand and gravel subsoil. Think Cabernet Sauvignon with blood.
- Weinberg: The family’s oldest vines, 60+ years, from the village of Deutsch Schützen. The soil is a humus-rich, deep-iron-rich loam. Elevation of 700-900 feet. The wines are denser with very plush tannin. Think blue Pomerol.
Grape Varieties |
Blaufränkisch. What else do you need?
- Started conversion in 2010
- Certified in 2018
- Studied biodynamics for 2 years and applies some techniques
- No weeding, lets them grow and die to replenish the soil naturally
- No fertilizer
Cellar Work |
Natural, with a classic bent.
- Native yeast fermentation
- 20-30% whole cluster
- Aging in large, neutral oak barrels
- Entry-level, Bela-Joska, ages for 18 months
- Single vineyard & village bottlings age 22-34 months
About the winery |
Running into Christoph at VieVinum in 2022, we reminisced about our first meeting: An unforgettable evening with the greatest food pairing either of us could remember: Peking duck from Pinch Chinese with Reid Saybritz. Oddly our second experience with a delicate Japanese meal managed to be nearly as captivating.
Christoph Wachter, who took over his family estate at the tender age of 20, manages to capture the essence of the place, across his whole line up from entry level regional blend to top, single-vineyard bottles.
Like many of the vignerons of his generation his first step was to eschew traditional farming. Once he got that under control he reverted back to more traditional ways of winemaking, with no additives, natural yeast, large barrels and time.
Christoph is a real talent, only getting more capable with each passing vintage.
What do the wines taste like?
As the least populated sub-region of Burgenland, filled with poly-cultural farms and brooding ancient forests. It is actually cooler than its northern counterparts, leading to wines with higher acid with signature spicy, violet and lilac toned, black-fruited, and intense minerality.
The sanguine, blue and green slate minerality of Eisenberg make some of the very best Blaufränkisch anywhere. The current releases are all in top form. These are some of the best red wines you've probably never had.
Wines on Offer |
Wachter Wiesler, Blaufränkisch Béla-Jóska, 2020 $23.99 $21.11
Wine Enthusiast 90 Points (reviews in the August issue): The sanguine, blue and green slate minerality of Eisenberg make some of the very best Blaufränkisch anywhere. Christoph Wachter manages to capture the essence of the sub region even in this, his entry level wine. He is certified organic, with some biodynamic methods employed, no new oak is used and his goal is to capture the terroir through the grapes. This wine clearly shows the Chinese five spice character and intense violets on the nose with just picked black berries bright red cranberry, fine supple tannins and a tight knit structure, rare for a wine at this price point. Few wines out there offer so much for so little.
Wachter Wiesler, Blaufränkisch Deutsch Schutzen, 2019 $34.99 $30.79
Starting with the 2017 vintage, Wachter-Wiesler began bottling two village-level wines, offering a middle ground between the Bela-Joska which gives a good idea of Eisenberg generally and the show-stopping single-vineyard wines. The Deutsch Schutzen comes from two vineyards, the Ratschen and the Weinberg. Deutsch Schutzen's soils have green schist in the subsoil, but there is more top soil with clay and loam, giving an openness to the delicate and pretty cherry fruit. 12.5% alcohol. Total sulfur is below 50 ppm.
Wachter Wiesler, Blaufränkisch Eisenberg, 2019 $30.99 $27.27
Wine Enthusiast 93 Point score forthcoming in the August issue: Eisenberg is the perfect mid-tier treat for introduction into what the region is all about. These are wines with pure black and blue fruit, but are never overripe and are always laden with acidity and minerality. From a mix of vineyards: Fasching, Saybritz and Hummergraben with lots of ferrous green shale and a top layer of clay. Spontaneously fermented in vats and steel tanks. Pressing after 21 days, malolactic fermentation and 22 months storage in 600L & 1500L barrels. Unfined & unfiltered.
Wachter Wiesler, Blaufränkisch Ried Ratschen, 2019 $52.99 $46.63
From a cooler north-east-facing site on the Deutsch Schützener Berg. Here the sandy loam top soil gives a fruity, easy drinking character, but this is elevated by the presence of gravel in the subsoil, gives an almost Cabernet Sauvignon-like structure. Spontaneously fermented in vats, pressing after 23 days, malolactic fermentation and 30 months storage in large wooden barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. Blackberry, silky round tannins, quintessential spice and a pleasant, balanced acidity. Drink this in the mid-term.
Wachter Wiesler, Blaufränkisch Ried Reihburg, 2019 $79.99 $70.39
Reihberg is at the top of the Eisenberg hill at 280-300 meters high. This means it sees more wind, for lower yields, and brighter acidity plus meager top soil. Sandy loam (silt), sandy-gravelly with a high proportion of quartz and mica add layers of a particular salty minerality. Fruity is electric blue with plenty of aromatics of wild flowers and Chinese five spice. Spontaneously fermented in vats, pressing after 28 days, malolactic fermentation and 22 months storage in large barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.
Wachter Wiesler, Blaufränkisch Ried Saybritz, 2019 $79.99 $70.39
Oh Saybritz. One of the most perfect, unique and compelling sites in all of Burgenland. Super steep with a forest at the top, both protecting the site from wind but keeping temps extra cool. The real pizzazz is a unique green iron rich soil that gives the wines a sanguine, spicy, almost smokey quality with razor sharp tannins, akin to Cornas in their wildness. Astute structure, drinkable young with food. Think BBQ, but even better with just a touch more time in the cellar. Do not miss. Spontaneously fermented in vats, pressing after 20 days, malolactic fermentation and 35 months storage in large wooden barrels.
Wachter Wiesler, Blaufränkisch Ried Weinberg, 2019 $52.99 $46.63
Christoph farms 5 hectares in the middle of this vineyard. Full of iron-rich clay, similar to the Eisenberg, but with all the benefits of a midslope position (better airflow, drainage and sunlight). Another gorgeous expression of the variations of terroir of the cool Eisenberg region. Raspberries, boysenberries, stone, spicy and a whiff of violet high tones.
Wachter Wiesler, Burgenland Rotes Handgemenge, 2019 $18.99 $16.71
New wine! The Rotes Handgemenge is a blend of Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. The juiciness of the Zweigelt plays well with the structure of the Blaufrankisch. It's meant to be an easy drinking wine on days when you don't want to take yourself so seriously. It's bottled unfined and unfiltered. Enjoy in the summer with a light chill and some burgers or on a cold winter night with a simple beef stew.