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Michael Wenzel, Garten Eden Furmint 2016
The tiny Garten Eden site was planted a decade ago with centenarian cuttings and this wine is nothing short of life-changing. The red quartz soils, depicted on the label, give rise to the most complex and mesmerising dry furmint I have ever tasted. Matthew Jukes
The grapes were spontaneously fermented in 500 litre barrels (50% new oak). The wine was then kept in oak without sulphur for 14 months and then bottled without filtration.
Michael Wenzel is based in Rust, a town on the west bank of Lake Neusiedler in Burgenland where his family have been making wine since 1647. Today Michael holds 11 hectares of vines in some of the finest sites around Rust, and focuses on the Furmint grape, a variety he has been passionate about from an early age.�Furmint was almost wiped out of existence in the 20th century when the iron curtain forced the separation of Austria and Hungary. In the 1980s Michael�s father Robert Wenzel started bringing Furmint vines across the border with a view to reintroduce it into the local winemaking culture. Today Michael cultivates 3 of the 10 hectares of Furmint planted in the country, and is widely considered to be a pioneer of this variety in Austria. The quartz, gneiss and mica schist soils of his vineyards are perfectly suited to the Furmint grape, producing structured, mineral wines. He also grows Blaukfr�nkisch grapes on his more calcareous sites, which yield focused, elegant expressions of this traditional Austrian variety. Michael is dedicated to organic farming and minimal intervention winemaking - preferring to let his grapes speak for themselves. All his wines are spontaneously fermented without the addition of any yeast, and the cellar work is kept to a bare minimum.