After visiting and tasting with Judith Beck, next up was a tasting with Paul Achs. Man oh man, I’m so happy I included Weingut Paul Achs in my Burgenland winetasting lineup! Tasting with Paul was quite a treat! 1
Considered one of the premier winemakers in Austria and a master of Blaufränkisch, Paul Achs cut his teeth in California, as well as a few other places, before joining the family winery in Gols as winemaker in 1991. He transformed the winery from primarily white wine to red wine production in the 1990s and has been instrumental in forming a number of grower associations to raise the profile of the region’s wines. Paul was previously named “Vintner of the Year” by Falstaff2 Using biodynamic viticultural practices, his wines showcase the elegance and beauty of the reds from the region. In addition to the predominant 90% red wine production, Paul produces a small amount of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. He is without a doubt a master of his winemaking craft, but lets nature and the vineyard take the lead and sees himself more as lending expression to what he is given.
And while the wines were fabulous (it’s coming) I LOVED that fact that my wines were poured by Paul’s 8-yr old son. This was reminiscent of the family theme that really highlighted my Burgenland visit. This is seriously why I love wine (other than the obvious). My Thing 2 (love him!) would have had all of the bottles on the floor! But Paul’s son (of course) was a natural.
I was privileged to taste five wines with Paul.
2017 Chardonnay, Burgenland
We began our tasting with a Chardonnay. Chardonnay has been grown in Burgenland for over 600 years having been brought to the region by monks (similar to Burgundy). Paul’s Chardonnay is grown in gravelly soils mixed with limestone. Fermentation is in stainless steel with aging in large wooden casks. As 2017 was a warm year, the fruit was harvested early to maintain acidity as well as keep alcohol levels low. The result was a medium to full bodied wine full of minerality, zesty citrus, and bright acidity. A beautiful balance of roundness and acidity.
2017 Blaufränkisch, Heideboden, Burgenland
Next up was a Blaufränkisch. Hailing from Heideboden, this is considered to be Paul’s entry level Blaufränkisch. The Heideboden vineyard is located in a flat, gravelly area and produces wines that are fresh and full of ripe red fruits. These wines are approachable early on and are easy drinking. Fermented in stainless steel and spending 6 months aging in wood, this one is a beautiful representation of fruit and elegance touched by a bit of spice. I imagine it would be a natural with Asian cuisine.
2016 Pinot Noir, Burgenland
Then in was time for a Pinot. Yah, I don’t know what I did with my Pinot photo! Made in a cooler, wetter vintage, this 2016 was full of mouth-watering acid. This wine definitely has some aging potential but drinking it that day, it was beautiful and sexy as hell.3 While many of Paul’s vineyards enjoy a coveted southern exposure, the vineyards for the Pinot Noir are planted on north and west facing slopes to maintain the elegance of the wines in the very warm Burgenland climate. And elegant it was with a depth of flavor and finesse that made you go back for more. Concentrated cherry and earthiness with a lengthy finish.
2015 Pannobile, Burgenland
Paul Achs is a member of the Pannobile Wine Group,4 and this was his Pannobile wine for 2015. Each member of the Group selects a wine, which must be comprised solely of indigenous varieties, from their portfolio each year as a candidate to be considered as a Pannobile Wine.5 Crafted of 60% Blaufränkisch, 30% Zweigelt, and 10% St. Laurent this one showed structure from the Blau but also some softness from the Zweigelt. Aged in old barrels, the fruit was pronounced with some underlying spice and floral characteristics. I loved that each variety expressed itself in the wine.
2015 Blaufränkisch, Altenberg, Burgenland
The Altenberg Vineyard, which is part of the Parndorfer Platte,6 is regarded as one of the premier sites in the area. The Altenberg Blaufränkisch is only made in top vintages and I can attest to the greatness of this wine. Crafted from 25 year old vines in a combination of gravel and Muschelkalk limestone soil, the wine is fermented in stainless steel and spends about 18 months in a combination of new and used barriques. Lovely elegance along with great structure and complexity. It seriously made me swoon! Ripe fruit on the nose followed by spice, mineral, dark fruit and rich, integrated tannins. Wow! This one stayed with me and made my Most Memorable Wines of 2018 list.
Many of Paul’s wines are exported throughout Europe, parts of Asia, as well as the USA. Tastings are available at Weingut Paul Achs by appointment.
- But don’t forget to check out my other fabulous Burgenland winetastings as they all showcased the excellence of this fine region.
- The Falstaff Weinguide has been around for over 20 years and is recognized as THE authority on Austrian wine.
- LOL! Yes, I’m talking about wine!
- The Pannobile Wine Group is a nine-member growers’ association located in Burgenland in the village of Gols which serves as a platform where winemakers collaborate and cooperate while representing the region’s excellence. Paul Achs was instrumental in the formation of the group.
- A wine labeled ‘Pannobile’ may be either red or white and must be made from local, indigenous varieties – Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, and St. Laurent for and Pinot varieties or Neuberger for whites.
- The Parndorfer Platte is the major source of the wines for the Pannobile winemakers. The south-facing slope is located near the village of Gols and features complex soils, which together with the slope’s southerly aspect produce wines that are profound, complex, and that offer longevity. It is the source of three single vineyard sites – Ungerberg, Spiegel, and Altenberg.