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Austria is a world-class wine country. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, not anymore. In the past 20 years or so, Austria has established itself in the very top of the wine pyramid. The collective effort by the Austrian wine producers to pursue wines of the highest caliber is nothing less than awe-inspiring. Austria is not the biggest wine country by size, obviously, but it’s twice as exciting as many of its neighbouring countries.
Austria’s booming wine scene means there is a lot to discover. White wines here are through the roof, of course, but some fantastic red wines are also coming out of Austria nowadays.
One of the most exciting wine regions in Austria at the moment is the Eisenberg DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus). Located in the southeast corner of Austria, right next to the Hungarian border, Eisenberg is Austria’s smallest wine region with 515 hectares of vineyards. What this secluded region lacks in size, it makes up in personality.
In south Burgenland Austria’s cheeky red variety Blaufränkisch is king. Sure, there is white wine here too, but the Eisenberg DAC classification focuses solely on 100% Blaufränkisch.
Eisenberg managed to fly under the radar for a long time because of the small quantities of wine produced, and I’m guessing the local winemakers also enjoy drinking their own wines; less for export and more for local consumption - I mean, that’s what I would do. However, over the years the red wines of Eisenberg have grown too good to ignore.
Eisenberg, one of the best rising wine regions in the world
Eisenberg is not a “Disneyland wine region” filled with châteaux and helipads, it’s authentic, all caps and an exclamation mark. The rolling slopes, small villages, and unspoiled nature is quite a beautiful combination.
The name “Eisenberg” comes from a small mountain, or a big hill (it’s not a mountain unless there are ski lifts), that rises 415 meters high. Due to the high iron content in the soil, which the Blaufränkisch loves, the Celts sourced iron here way back when (during the Iron Age). They also planted the first grapes, which means that Eisenberg has more than 2,800 years of viticultural history.
Nowadays Eisenberg, formerly known as Südburgendland, is home to 46 Eisenberg DAC wine producers. Geographically Eisenberg is located in an interesting spot between the cooling influence of the Alps and the warmer Pannonian Plain of western Hungary. It’s also the place where the Mediterranean and continental climate clash resulting in warm, dry summers with cool nights, which help the grapes ripen and maintain freshness.
The soil contains greenschist, iron-rich deep loam and clay, to name a few, and it seems to be ideal for the cultivation of Blaufränkisch. Combined with the unique topography and climate of Eisenberg, the region can produce exceptional red wines with tons of spicy minerality. Today, Eisenberg is perhaps one of the most exciting up-and-coming red wine regions in the world.
Below is a must-try list of some of the most exciting wines in Eisenberg. Make sure you won't miss them on your wine trip to this beautiful region.
The hottest wineries in the Eisenberg DAC
Wachter-Wiesler |Blaufränkisch Alte Reben 2014
Winemaker Christoph Wachter-Wiesler is one of Eisenberg’s energetic young guns and a name to remember. This wine is a perfect example of Eisenberger Blafränkisch. Inky, rich and well balanced, with black cherry notes and fine-grained tannins. Outstanding.
Untere Hauptstraße 7, 7474 Deutsch Schützen
Kopfensteiner | Blaufränkisch Ried Saybritz 2015
The Saybritz is perhaps one the sexiest single vineyards in the Eisenberg DAC. Known for producing elegant and extremely delicious Blaufränkisch, the Saybritz is a must-try. Kopfensteiner’s interpretation is a bucketful of red fruits, subtle spice with a fresh backbone laced with firm tannins.
Deutsch-Schützen 38, 7474 Deutsch Schützen
StephanO | Blaufränkisch “Gonzalo” 2016, Eisenberg DAC Reserve
StephanO manages to produce a distinctive Blaufränkisch that is both nuanced and easygoing. A stylish Blaufränkisch with a delicate and slightly herbal aroma profile, with bramble fruit, subtle oak and a long, savory finish.
Unterer Weinweg 11, 7474 Deutsch Schützen
Schiefer & Domaines Kilger | Blaufränkisch Ried Reihburg 2015, Eisenberg DAC Reserve
This wine is for hardcore Blaufränkisch fans. There is this dense yet elegant power to the Eisenberg wines that is very attractive. Bright acidity, juicy red berries, pepper, and fine tannins. An enticing and utterly delicious wine.
Schiefer & Domaines Kilger