WACHAU - AUSTRIA
“Is it too soon to call Muthenthaler a legend? Probably. But I know where my money is. In the end, glory is a less inspiring attachment than purpose. On our vineyard walk, I asked Martin, ‘Had you not lost your job, would you still be driving that truck?’ He found that question silly: ‘100%.’ Martin Muthenthaler never would have chosen this path and yet he found his way home. He truly loves what he does.” - Brian McClintic MS
Martin Muthenthaler was a truck driver for Domaine Wachau for 20 years before he started making wine of his own in the Spitzer Graben valley in the famous Wachau region. Since 2006 he has been cultivating the 3 hectares of vines he inherited from his parents, making Grüner Veltliner and Riesling of outstanding balance and expression. The vineyards - all organic since the 2010 vintage - are planted on poor rocky soils at high altitudes. The Spitzer Graben is the coolest part of the Wachau valley, and temperatures are very cool even in the summer, which preserves the freshness and acidity of these classic white varieties while also resulting in significantly lower alcohol levels than other growers in the region - most Muthenthaler wines are at around 12%.
Martin works the steep vineyards entirely on his own, focusing on producing single site bottlings that convey the distinctive character of each vineyard. His parcels in the Bruck and Viesslinger Stern vineyards are some of the highest sites in the Wachau, and his mica-schist soils produce highly mineral and structured Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings. Martin decided not to join the Vinea Wachau - an association that ranks wines in accordance with sugar ripeness levels. Martin strives to make elegant wines that express a sense of place, and for him the ripest grapes don’t always produce the best wines. All fruit is hand harvested by Martin, and fermented spontaneously with ambient yeast.
Gruner Veltliner ‘Spitzer Graben’
The Spitzer Graben is a narrow valley situated in the Wachau region of Austria. This valley contains some of the highest and steepest vineyards of the Wachau. The rocky terrain yields distinctive and complex Grüner Veltiner and Riesling wines. This wine is a blend of Grüner from multiple parcels harvested across the Spitzer Graben valley.
Gruner Veltliner ‘Vergelt’s Gott’
Vergelt’s Gott translates to ‘blessings from God’ - this cuvée came into existence after the difficult 2013 vintage when crop yields were dramatically affected after a sudden heatwave. This led to Michael’s decision to blend a wine from the young vines of the highly regarded Schön and Bruck vineyards, which are planted on sandy brown topsoil and orthogneiss and mica-schist. The resulting blend turned out to be a classic and elegant expression of Grüner.
Gruner Veltliner ‘Viesslinger Stern’
The Viesslinger Stern cuvee is Martin’s flagship Grüner Veltliner. The grapes come from difficult to reach parcels of the highly elevated Bruck vineyard. Although Bruck is largely planted to the Riesling variety, there are also historic plots of old vine Grüner scattered across the vineyard. Some of these special Grüner vines were planted by Martin’s grandparents and are even known by their own individual names. The 70 + year old root systems penetrate deep into the schist and orthogneiss rock producing a complex and focused Grüner Veltiner.
Riesling ’Ried Bruck’
The steep terraces of the Bruck vineyard are an ideal site for Riesling. The shallow topsoil ensures excellent drainage and enables the vines to dig deep into the schist and orthogneiss rock. This high altitude vineyard is kept cool by the winds blowing through the Spitzer Graben valley. This vineyard has long been recognised as a prime location for Riesling, with some of the vines being planted over 70 years ago. This Riesling is lean and juicy, with a lively acidity and striking minerality that is typical of wines that come from the Bruck vineyard. This wine is vinified in steel tanks to accentuate the freshness of this wine, and the short skin contact and long lees contact adds additional textural depth to this terroir driven Riesling.