Website: Giefing Winery
Country Location: Austria
In wine terms Rust has been a seething volcano for some time. The Free City of Rust with its famous Ausbruch wines, which in Habsburg times gave it a reputation similar to that of Tokaj in Hungary, has more than 400 hectares of vineyards. Its unique position in terms of microclimate and geography make it a truly distinctive wine-growing environment.
PEOPLE. Erich Giefing has come seemingly from nowhere over the last ten years to become one of Rust's acclaimed producers. The award winning chef Erich Giefing began making wine in 1994, mainly to serve in his acclaimed "Alte Backstube" restaurant in Rust. In the mid-nineties Erich and his wife Claudia decided to lease their restaurant and devote themselves fully to winemaking. Even the consequences of a serious car crash in 1998 did not hinder the Giefings in building their dream. Erich made his new home in a medieval 500-year-old farmhouse in the center of Rust, laying the cornerstone for the Giefing Winery. The Giefing Winery is a precious architectural gem in itself. The farmhouse dates back to the 15th century and is the only building of its kind still used by vintners today.
VINEYARDS. Giefing cultivates twelve hectares (seven of their own and five leased) of grapes in the best sites round Rust. The oldest plantings of red wine grapes are between 40 and 50 years old. He grows and produces Chardonnay, Welschriesling, Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt.
In the vineyard, each vine is checked frequently from spring to fall to make sure it is growing optimally. Shoots are thinned out and excess grapes removed to obtain a maximum physiological maturity. Depending on the layout and age of the vineyard, Giefing practices the so-called 6 to 8 grape program, leaving between 6 and 8 bunches on the vine, depending on the growth and quality of the vine and the grapes.
Then it's time to observe and listen to the grapes. The time to harvest the grapes is determined according to individual quality criteria. Dense, deep red wine essences with sweet extract are the result of this extreme attention to cultivation.
WINEMAKING. The Giefing philosophy is to produce small quantities of the best wines. The Giefingäs great love is their red wines, which have quickly shot to the top ranks in Austria in 1999 and 2000. The Giefings produce a formidable sweet wine, Ruster Ausbruch that is vinified in stainless steel tanks and also dry white wines.
Among the red wines the emphasis is on ripeness and vinification exclusively in new French oak barriques. The top reds are matured in barrique between 18 and 26 months. Their trio of remarkably expressive top red wines with long aging potential consists of the flagship Cuvee Cardinal (Blaufränkisch/Zweigelt/Cabernet Sauvignon)the Blaufränkisch Große Reserve and the Pinot Noir Cavallo.