Heidi Schröck

Burgenland, burgenland Austria

Heidi Schröck has pioneered the role of women in the Austrian wine scene. Voted ‘Vintner of the Year’ by food and wine magazine Falstaff, Heidi also led an organisation dedicated to promoting female winemakers. As a result of her work, the number of women working in the Austrian wine industry has increased considerably.

Heidi took over her family’s 10 hectare estate in 1983, in the famous village of Rust, Burgenland, just five miles from the Hungarian border. Her south-east facing vineyards along the western banks of Lake Neusiedl form a semi-amphitheatre, which provides considerably more sunlight hours compared to the rest of Austria. The soils here are sandy with clay, gravel, grey quartz and schist. With help from her twin sons, Johannes and Georg, Heidi sustainably cultivates the classic Austrian varieties, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St Laurent, as well as pioneering the revival of traditional varieties, such as Furmint, better known today across the Hungarian border.

The fresh and juicy ‘Junge Löwen’, meaning ‘young lions’, is made of 85% Blaufränkisch and 15% St Laurent. This medium-bodied wine is fermented in large old oak barrels and displays raspberry and violet notes, a lovely vibrancy and an elegant finish.

Austrian winegrowers often refer to Zweigelt as ‘the fighter’ due to its hardy nature. However, this belies its sensitive, elegant character, particularly in the hands of Heidi Schröck. Her ‘Rusterberg’ Zweigelt spends nine months in large Stockinger oak barrels, resulting in a wine with great finesse, silky tannins and aromas of black cherries and hints of cocoa.

From a single vineyard with the estate’s oldest vines planted in 1955, Heidi’s ‘Ried Kulm’ Blaufränkisch is a benchmark example of Burgenland’s signature variety. With a small percentage of whole clusters used in the ferment, ‘Ried Kulm’ boasts aromas of red forest berries and black pepper. It has fine-grained tannins and a long finish on a vibrant and lively palate.

The 2018 Beerenauslese is composed mainly of Welschriesling and Weissburgunder (the German name for Pinot Blanc), from the vineyards closest to Lake Neusiedl. The lake reliably creates the misty autumn conditions which are perfect for the development of noble rot. Fermentation in acacia barrels lifts the aromas of quince and orange peel, and the wine’s 169 g/l of residual sugar are balanced perfectly by a crisp acidity which carries the flavours through the long, silky finish. 

 

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