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'Our fields look different to neatly trimmed and properly cut vineyards you might know from fancy advertisements. Bees, butterflies and all kind of beneficial species have started to return and give us an idea of natural beauty.'
If there is one winemaker that represents the evolution of Newcomer Wines better than anyone else, then without a question it is Markus Altenburger. In 2006, Markus took over the family winery in Jois, and to this day solely focuses on the varieties that best express this unique terroir. His approach in the vineyards and cellar has shown a 180-degree change over the last 15 years, and today all of his vineyards are certified organic, now gearing towards biodynamic certification in the coming year. Blaufränkisch, undoubtedly Austria's highest quality red terroir grape stands at the centre of Markus Altenburger's work.
Together with his wife Bernadette and his cellar master Kathrin, Markus tends 13 hectares of vines scattered mainly on two of the Leithaberg appellation's premier single-vineyards, Gritschenberg and Jungenberg. Gritschenberg, in its geological core formed by the outskirts of the Alpine mountain range, shows a high density of limestone, whereas Jungenberg, a mere few hundred metres apart, contains a pure schist composition, giving the wines a more vertical and direct expression of fruit. Beyond Blaufränkisch, old-vine Chardonnay (grown on limestone), Neuburger (on schist and limestone) as well as Grüner Veltliner (on limestone) represent other incrementally important varieties, which Markus vinifies and releases as single vineyard wines with little to no intervention.
Markus' wines are some of the most serious examples of Blaufränkisch we have encountered to date - what is even more impressive is his skill to show a clear imprint of his local terroir from his estate blend 'Vom Kalk' all the way to his limited release single-vineyard wines making him one of the most complete growers within the Austrian wine scene.