We all get very used to seeing nature in a manicured state. Driving to work past gardens all cut, trimmed and pristine looking, past farmers fields full of neat lines or grids of crops. Even the animals we’re informed are not really native species or naturally evolved, lovely as they are, they are generally bred for purpose.
I’m not saying this is all bad, there is progress and reason involved, but it’s great also to be reminded that nature does have it’s own rhythm, when left to it’s own devices. And how could that be wrong? Notice some wildflower meadows or mixed ancient woodland, there’s balance and beauty in abundance.
So at Meinklang estate in Austria, organic and biodynamic for over twenty years, the thinking was to apply this principle to grapes and the making of a different sort of wine. Amongst their range (we currently stock seven, and three recently added from Hungary) Werner and Angela Michlits have been producing two ‘Graupert’ wines. The word ‘Graupert’ literally means wild or unkempt (tangled).
It’s in these ‘wine gardens’ that the vines enjoy absolute freedom. In other words instead of being heavily pruned, tied and trained to wires, cut back and thinned to force growth at the correct times and in a required direction, the ‘wild’ vines are left to do it all naturally. These vines grow to great heights with unbridled enthusiasm, and after time show forth their balanced and harmonious fruit.
They produce many more bunches or clusters of smaller sized berries. Whilst these are much more time consuming to harvest, there’s a much bigger ratio of skin to juice, and this gives more ‘extract’ which ultimately provides a greater aromatic intensity and complexity of flavour.
In line with Meinklangs philosophy, the natural wild yeasts found on the grapeskins and in the vineyards are used to start the fermentation, which is left for several months on it’s fine lees to develop it’s character without interference.
You have to admire the estate for continuing to push boundaries. Belief and courage are needed, and when you can sit back and enjoy wines like these, it’s confirmation that maybe nature always finds a true harmony.
Why not take a wild vinous experience, and support Werner’s work? We recently asked him what he thought about the increased media interest in biodynamic farming, and his answer translates very well
“I am glad that people start recognizing pure nature and its larger order again. Unfortunately civilization is already so far away from nature that biodynamics seems to be something outstanding. But it is only the most logical way of living and farming, it is a deep acknowledgement to earth and its forces. I hope this interest effects a lot of people to start recognizing nature again and that it is not just a bubble and a trend in our easygoing society.”
‘Graupert’ Wild Vine Six Pack