The Austrian Side of Pfneisl

The Austrian Side of Pfneisl
The main winery headquarters and tasting room.
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Windmills along the way.

The same day that we paid a trip to the Hungarian side of Pfneisl (which is actually the separate company of Pfneiszl), we also took a trip across the Austrian/Hungarian border that no long exists due to the 2007 Schengen enlargement. After a bit more of a trip, we were able to see how wine making was for the Austrian side of things. As we quickly saw near the small town of Deutschkreutz, winegrowing appears to be going very well. The family has been making wine for over a century in this area and to date now harvests from an astounding 70 hectares (175 acres) of vineyard land. It’s quite overwhelming to stand in the middle of it. This is of course made all the more impressive by the extremely modern tasting room and headquarters that they constructed, which you can see in the photo above. The structure has won numerous design awards and is often featured in roundups of impressive winery architecture.

Naturally, buildings are great because you need somewhere to age and taste the wine, but what is of course most important is the wine itself. Pfneisl offers a lovely range of wines with potent reds that are typical of the Burgenland area, punctuating their repertoire.

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Tasting Room Interior

Overall the wines are telling of a winery that has been in business for a long time. There is common consistency to everything that they do. Whether you’re tasting a Shiraz, Merlot, or a Cabernet Sauvignon, you know that it’s from Pfneisl. It’s an admirable quality that speaks well of the wines, although I often enjoy my wines a bit more wild, which you see a great deal more in the ones from Pfneiszl in Hungary.

We had a brief tasting, but it included their 2005 Shiraz, which is aged in American oak. It’s a very smooth, enjoyable wine. The flavors are consistent to the point of being a bit bland, but they stop just short, giving some strong, underlying elements. The oak is rather strong, but it does give way to subtle blackberry aromas in the nose.

The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon puts forth a lot of dark oak aromas on the nose. Surprisingly, these give way to a lovely, smooth body that makes for great sipping and could easily be paired any number of foods, especially spicy dishes like Thai or Indian curries. As the wine opens up, it develops a sweet pine quality to the nose that is very pleasing. Naturally, the finish is smooth.

We then moved on to the upper echelon wines which started with the 2005 Pentagon. This wine is a blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot, and Blaufränkisch/Kékfrankos. It wasn’t any surprise that after tasting the single varietal Cab Sauv, that this was once again very, very smooth. It opens up with a touch of bite coming from the oak, but mellows out with air with the body being easygoing the whole time. There is a bit of sweet berry to the finish. Oddly enough, to me it seems like the Pinot comes through quite a bit, despite it being in the least amount of the blend.

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The Hexenberg

We finished with the Hexenberg. This is a 55/45 blend of Merlot and Shiraz. The aging regimen includes three years in French barrique which the first half of is in new barrels before being switch the those that are aged. We were told it could even stand for another decade of aging if one wished. Again, the wine was smooth and silky. It had a complex makeup to it that only slightly betrayed like boysenberry in the body, but to a slightly higher degree some young citrus as well, which was a surprised. The finish is dead-on clean and perfect. It’s an excellent wine, but when trying to decide which I would choose between this and the Pentagon, I would have a tough choice as they are both excellent.

Everything concluded a great series of wines from an established winery. While often hard to find outside of Europe if in the area and you see a bottle, give it a try, you will absolutely not regret it a glass, or two, or… maybe even a whole bottle of any of these wines.