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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Toni Hartl – border crosser with depth

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Always surprising with unique creations: winemaker Toni Hartl with partner Moni!
Image: Weingut Toni Hartl, Reisenberg

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At home in Reisenberg, in the south-eastern corner of the thermal region (i.e. south of Vienna and still in Lower Austria), the successful winemaker cultivates around a third of his entire vineyard area. It’s a bit cooler here than on the “overside” of Leithaberg, east of Reisenberg, i.e. in Burgenland. The Reisenberger Goldberg has deep layers of soil with clay, loess and above all shell limestone. Ideal prerequisites for Burgundy varieties such as Pinot Noir, which has a fine, delicate, mineral flavor profile.

On the other side of the hilly “mountain range” lies the idyllic Purbach am Neusiedlersee. Toni Hartl, one of the co-founders of the Leithaberg association, from which the Leithaberg DAC name, which is typical of its origin, later formed, has vineyards in the best locations, which are well known to all wine lovers as Ried Thenau and Ried Eisner. Here on the west side of Lake Neusiedl there are unique conditions for producing great wine. On the one hand the pleasant Pannonian climate and on the other hand mineral soils with slate and limestone which characterize the wine with an unmistakable taste profile typical of its origin. A prerequisite for this is working close to nature. Toni Hartl has long lived up to this, since his business has been organically certified for almost two decades.

The grapes are harvested at optimum ripeness and vinified in Reisenberg. Without any cellar technical frills, the wine can develop and mature in peace and quiet. Barrique barrels have long been said goodbye. Wood is welcome as a companion, but not as a dominator. This is particularly evident in the flagship wines. The Chardonnay from Ried Thenau, for example, convinces with a finesse acid structure, elegant extract density and the typical salty minerality in the aftertaste is due to the soil structure. The Blaufränkisch, on the other hand, from the Eisner site is like a rock in the surf: powerful on the palate, balanced tannin structure, subtle hint of wood (some chocolate) and a fresh length that is fully convincing. Simply unique gourmet wines that prove that both varieties have long since achieved international stature.

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