The Prieler estate, in Schützen on the western side of the Lake Neusiedl, is a historic old farm, once dedicated to many types of agriculture but now specializing in grape growing. Two generations of the Prieler family now run the estate: Engelbert and Irmgard, who in 1972 focused the estate on quality production of several grape varieties, mainly Blaufränkisch and Burgundian varieties. Their son, Georg, now heads the estate and continues working to best express the unique terroir of the Leithagebirge.
Prieler’s 20 hectares are currently cultivated in vineyards between the Leithagebirge, the last outpost of the eastern Alps that protect the vines from the western winds, and the Lake Neusiedl, which tempers the hot climate of the Pannonian plain. Basking in 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, North Burgenland is the sunniest region in all of central Europe, with far below average rainfall. Soils vary dramatically in this area around the Schützen Stein. Seeberg and Sinner vineyards contain fossil bearing limestone and are best suited, to Prieler’s outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. The iron-rich, brown loam of the Johanneshöhe on the slopes of the Leithaberg produces delicious Blaufränkisch.
Prieler’s focus is on Blaufränkisch as well as Burgundian varieties such as chardonnay, pinot blanc, and pinot noir, which have a long history of cultivation in this part of Burgenland. In the vineyards, the Prielers prune rigorously, plant cover crops, and pay meticulous attention to canopy management as their region receives so much sunlight. They make multiple, careful selections during harvest in order to control alcohol while still achieving physiological ripeness.
The 2017 Blaufränkisch is sourced from nine different parcels in Schützen that are dominated by limestone, mica schist, and portions of slate. The grapes are carefully crushed and fermented at closely controlled temperatures in stainless steel before being racked into used, large oak Stockinger barrels.
There’s a brambly, wild quality to the fruit, with notes of cherry, blueberry, and black plum, as well as dried herbs and coffee spices. It’s medium plus in body, and the tannins have a slightly grippy quality. Mouth watering and savory, it’s easy to enjoy this wine with a range of dishes, from duck to hearty stews.
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