I’m sounding the all-points alarm for today’s 2017 Gemischter Satz because acquiring a $20 bottle with such textural magnitude, freshness, and precision feels like a high crime. We’re downright obsessed when it comes to discovering the best values in wine, so if anyone can locate a greater price-to-quality bottle than this, we urge you to report back to SommSelect headquarters.
In the skilled hands of “Gemischter Satz” revivalist Fritz Wieninger, this co-planted, co-fermented, 100% biodynamic white blend epitomizes value. If you want to taste the history of a historic winemaking city (Vienna) and the purity that comes from naturally farmed, superbly crafted Austrian wine, Wieninger is the solution. When factoring in the utter uniqueness of this wine, it’s hard to imagine any worthy competition at this price. This ‘17 is the best I’ve tasted from Wieninger and we’re proudly passing the very last of their importer’s stock onto you. Purchasing a case of this stunningly affordable gem of a wine would be one of the most prudent moves you can make!
Historically, “Gemischter Satz” (which loosely translates to ‘mixed set’) was picked from vineyards that had a dozen or more intermixed varieties. They were mostly made in unlabeled jugs and sold at Heurigen, the local taverns run by small wineries in Vienna and its surrounding hillsides (these watering holes remain a large part of Viennese culture today). Ultimately, Gemischter Satz is the signature wine of Vienna, the only major European city with a significant stand of vineyards within its boundaries.
Born in 1966, Fritz Wieninger wasted no time taking over the family business at 21 years of age. Within three years, he was receiving press accolades for his wines and business exploded. And yet, his sights wouldn’t be set on the revival of Gemischter Satz until the turn of the century. In 2006, he founded WienWein (“Vienna Wine”), a group of prominent winemakers that sought to advertise the legitimacy of Gemischter Satz around the world. Shortly after, he became the head of the Wiener Gemischter Satz Association, which eventually led to the creation of their very own appellation: Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC. Although grapes must originate from Viennese vineyards, this new designation was tailored towards a style of a wine (like Spain’s Cava) rather than a geographical area. Further, Gemischter Satz must contain at least three quality grape varieties, with one never exceeding 50% of the blend—it’s all about paying homage to the field blends of yore!
Today’s blend comes from the vineyards of Nußberg and Bisamberg (Wieninger also makes single-vineyard bottlings from both sites), the former of which originally sparked his interest in becoming a champion for Gemischter Satz. All of Fritz’s grapes are farmed biodynamically and his vines date as far back as the 1960s. The majority of the wine’s makeup (stay with me here) comes from: Grüner Veltliner, Weissburgunder, Welschriesling, and Chardonnay with dashes of Riesling, Sylvaner, Traminer, and Neuberger (even still, this is not an exhaustive list). Harvest is carried out by hand, without separating the varieties, and the commingled grapes were exposed to five hours of skin contact before a two-week co-fermentation. Malolactic fermentation was allowed and the wine aged in 100% stainless steel for only two months to retain every ounce of freshness.
The 2017 Wieninger Gemischter Satz shimmers with a brilliant straw-yellow core that is accented by neon green highlights. Because it contains such a wide variety of grapes, of which are picked simultaneously at varying ripeness levels, putting your nose in the glass results in a constantly evolving magic act. One moment it’s a citrusy-floral firework show and the next it rolls out seductively creamy waves of yellow apples, mango, peach skin, and preserved lemon. The wine is medium-bodied with layered, vibrantly energetic textures that are further enhanced by mouth-watering freshness. As it continues opening in the glass, savory components of saffron, radish, and white pepper began sneaking out of the fruit—this wine keeps you entertained (and guessing) from start to finish! When serving, enjoy around 50 degrees in an all-purpose stem. Like we’ve said before, the ideal setting for drinking this bottle would be at a picnic table in a Viennese vineyard, but in the absence of that, fry up a classic Wienerschnitzel with a lemony side salad. There’s no other wine experience like it. Cheers
Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC
Mostly Grüner Veltliner, Weissburgunder, Welschriesling, & Chardonnay
Clay-Limestone & Sandy Loam