Website: Juris Winery
Country Location: Austria
"It is not our goal to produce merely good wines. We strive to produce wines with character and style that are well balanced and possess complexity, aging potential, and a certain elegance. We do not desire a flashy or superficial and short-lived effect"
The people. The Juris winery is located in the town of Gols, a place where wine has been the primary source of livelihood for over 2,000 years. Located halfway between Vienna and Budapest along the northern shores of the Nesiedlersee wine district, the Stiegelmar family has been making wine since 1571.
Their underground Günther Cellar, built in 1756, maintains a perfect temperature of 10° C (50° F) ideal for sensitive varieties like Pinot Noir and Saint Laurent. Neither heated, nor cooled, the complex gravity flow system spanning 4 floors, maintains a constant temperature throughout the year. This is Austria’s first passive energy wine facility. On the international stage, Georg Stiegelmar was also named “Winemaker of the Year” at the 1995 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, and was told he possessed “The total command of winemaking” by Robert Mondavi. Axel and his wife Herta carry on this tradition of excellence. Their sons Gregor and Philipp are already showing interest in continuing the family business. In addition to St. Laurent and Pinot Noir, Juris produces excellent Zweigelt, and small amounts of late harvest “amarone” style, and white wine.
The appellation. The large and shallow Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl) is the dominant force dictating the region’s climate. During the summers massive amounts of evaporation create a thermal flow pulling dry air from the east across the vineyards, reducing humidity and the risk of mold. Juris only uses estate fruit from their 17 hectares of dry farmed vineyards on the edge of the Parndorfer plateau near Seewinkel. These south oriented pebbly hills are sediment of the Alps were deposited by the receding Pannonian sea. They offer varied exposure and excellent drainage. In the vineyard Axel bubbles with curiosity, plots of experimental clones, rootstocks, trellising methods, and pruning technique grow next to vineyards his grandfather planted. Vineyard treatments are kept minimal and copper or herbacides are never sprayed.
In the cellar. In addition to his family’s tradition of winemaking, Axel interned at Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley and in Bordeaux with Count Neipperg at Canon-La-Gaffeliere. Gravity is a governing principle in the winery. Fresh grapes, must, macerating fruit, and fermenting wine can easily be damaged by careless transport. A four story gravity-flow winery reduces the use of pumps by 50 to 70%, unwanted sedimentation, stabilizes color, prevents bottle shock and helps develop elegant, harmonious wines with a silky tannic structure. All varieties are fermented with indigenous yeast in neutral oak (500L) and age anywhere from 6-12 months.
The wines. The Stiegelmars focus on elegance and finesse in their wines that are counted among the best in Austria. The Juris Winery makes two different series of wines, the premium Reserve and the Selection.
The Reserve wines are vinified in new oak barriques in an international style. The Selection wines are vinified in the classical Austrian style. Each series includes both dry whites and reds. Wines from the new vineyards in Hungary near Lake Balaton with their unique climate and terroir are marketed under the name Villa Juris. Noble sweet wines, sparking wines and distillated spirits round out the Juris portfolio.
Wines from vineyards that are under 15 years old are distinguished by their primary fruit character. A few of these wines are matured for a short period, of six to twelve months in used oak barrels so as not to disguise the varietal character of the grapes.
These wines are from old vines at least 15 years old or older. The ratio between roots and aerial parts of the vine changes after youth in favor of the roots. The fruit receives more nutrients from the soil and the wines from older vines are more concentrated and possess more character. Reserve wines profit from longer maturation in small oak barrels. The wines are bottled after 18-24 months in barrique.