Ebner Ebenauer Gruner Veltliner Alte Reben
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Type Gruner VeltlinerRead About the Wine
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It always amazes me how wine and history collide - sharing a glass with Marion Ebner-Ebenauer on a recent trip to Austria, the story of her great-grandfather’s hard work and determination blew my mind.
On March 13, 1938, Hitler began the Anschluss of Austria. Literally the “joining” of Austria into the Third Reich. Of course, as history well knows, Hitler had a larger ambition than just Anschluss, and to execute that larger plan he moved quickly in Marion’s hometown of Poysdorf. There Hitler went on to shift an entire river so he could drive much larger artillery into the Czech Republic (and beyond), which he did on March 15, 1939.
If we move forward in time just a touch to just after World War II, this situation left Marion Ebner-Ebenauer’s grandfather with a serious quandary – his prime vineyard of Gruner Veltliner was now a river. That, and his entire estate, home and winery, were burnt to the ground. Very meticulously, and with great effort and care, he began rebuilding his Gruner Veltliner vineyard back by shifting Poysdorf’s river slowly back into position. While the Ebner-Ebnauer estate has been around for 400 of years, it is his work which began the path for Marion, and her husband Manfred, to ascend to the top echelons of Austrian winemaking today.
This story culminates in present time with Marion and Manfred winning Austrian winemaker of the year, this year. And even more special for them is the fact that this is the first year the Austrian government awarded this prestigious prize to a winemaking couple – instead of just the man of the couple, which they have done every year prior to 2022.
Marion, the “joie di vivre, vibrant with energy and always looking for new challenges” and Manfred, “the calm and circumspect experimenter with a love of Burgundy, who is happiest working in the cellar, studying the wines,” as she put it to me (and is truly illustrated in the picture above). Marion and Manfred are quite a couple, harnessing cross-generational winemaking families that stretches back more than 400 years.
This is their award-winning Gruner Veltliner, The Alte Reben Reserve. It is the blend of the vineyards surrounding Grand Cru vineyards Poysdorf that Marion and Manfred own. A Marion and Manfred have worked tirelessly over the years to shrink the estate down to the best possible parcels of land. Thus, they have the inverse problem of most wineries – they now make more single vineyard, Grand Cru wines than anything else. Thus this, the Alte Reben, is a blend of Grand Crus, and as such an absolute bargain! And it shows in the glass:
Beautiful, yet precise aromas of Kaffir lime leaf, blood oranges, tropical red fruits and just hints of mache. The palate is tense, mineral and focused. This Gruner Veltliner is all about precision and elegant definition. Like a Degas ballerina – perfectly etched into timeless freeze-frame, yet also displaying the vibrant delicacy of energy and motion. The palate and finish are crisp, clean, and crispy fresh. While drinking well now, this is a wine that will reward time, and reward it for as long as you would care to cherish it. All Gruners can age fantastically well, but with Gruners like this, well, your love affair can last forever.
EE’s wines are rarely imported into the U.S., and if they are, they rarely hit a retail store’s shelves. We were lucky to get small allocation of this dynamic wine – don’t miss it.