Michael Gindl, Sol Sodalis Weinviertel Riesling NV

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Michael Gindl began making wine at his family estate in the Weinviertel while attending agricultural school in his teens. Now, at 33 years old, he’s one of the most riveting winemakers in Austria. Inspired by the wines of his grandfather, which were made with nearly no manipulation or intervention, he converted his winery and vineyards to Demeter biodynamics and began experimenting. The wines were certified biodynamic by Demeter from the 2014 vintage.

His 10 hectare vineyard is planted extremely densely, with 7,000-10,000 vines per hectare (compared to the average 3,000 vines common in the area) growing in loam and loess soil. This forces the vines to behave highly competitively, resulting in low yields of highly concentrated fruit. He uses cover crops to keep down weeds and pest control is handled by the buzzards (buteos) that roam the vineyards. Gindl has a fully biodynamic farm, complete with highland cattle, goats, wheat, vegetables and fruits.

In the cellar he uses only native fermentation, extended aging on lees, maceration on the skins, and the wines are bottled unfiltered. For aging and fermentation he uses a mix of stainless steel and large wooden barrels. The barrels themselves are made using oak and acacia harvested from Gindl’s own land. His friend is a local barrel maker and he makes the barrels for him.

A good story is an excellent thing but the really impressive thing here is the wines. We’ve tasted a lot of Grüner around here over the years and nothing like this has ever crossed our path. Complex, rich, and fascinating, they defy the expectations and express a side of the region and terroir that previously went unspoken.

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