Haderburg: The Whole Bottle

“When you open a bottle of our wine,” said Hannes Ochsenreiter, “we hope you will want to drink all of it.”

I certainly did the first time I tasted Haderburg Hausmanhoff Blauburgunder (Pinot Nero) in the Enoteca La Bossa in Camogli (Liguria). I took a photo of Gabriele, sommelier, holding a bottle and set off to visit Haderburg in Alto Adige. (see post on Alto Adige)

The sunny afternoon of my arrival gave a spectacular view looking north up the Valley of the Adige River, nestled in the Dolomites. It turns out that the eastern slope of this valley, south of Bolzano at 300-500 meters, is an ideal spot for varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Nero. They are “international” but have been grown here so long that they have been embraced as “native”.

The Hausmannhof farmhouse dates back centuries.

In 1976, Alois Ochsenreiter had the vision to shift the focus of the Hausmanhoff farm (Haderburg is the name of the castle above the farm.) from a fruit and grape growing operation to an independent winery. Hannes, who greeted me, is primarily responsible for the cellar. His sister, Erika, manages the biodynamically farmed vineyards. Mother, Cristina, is in charge of sales; father/founder, Alois, oversees it all.
apples and hat

Only about 11 of the 40 hectares are planted with vineyards. The rest is woods or fruit trees, leaving a healthy, balanced ecosystem for biodynamic farming. Here is a view of the upper vineyards from the house/cellar.

Typically, 55-60% of Haderburg wine is spumante: Metodo Classico sparkling wine made with Chardonnay and Pinot Nero (the Champagne grape varieties). I liked the crisp, dry flavor of the Haderburg [glossary_exclude] Metodo Classico [/glossary_exclude] Pas Dosé 2010 that is 85% Chardonnay/15% Pinot Nero. Pas Dosé means that no sugar was added at the second fermentation in the bottle, leaving the wine exceptionally dry. 12,5%

For this wine, Hannes ferments with indigenous yeasts, mostly in steel vats but 30% in used barriques. After bottling and the second fermentation, he keeps the wine “on the lees” (meaning with the spent yeasts in the bottle) for three years before putting the bottles in “pupitres” to bring the yeasts to the neck of the bottle for “degorgement” (when the spent yeasts are popped out of the bottle). More time on the lees allows the wine to develop more complex aromas and flavors.


The next wine was Haderburg [glossary_exclude] Metodo Classico [/glossary_exclude] Riserva 2005, only produced in exceptionally good vintage years. 100% Chardonnay grapes ferment and age in used barriques for one year then, spend 8 years on the lees. 12,5% Tasting it was a dance with finesse, freshness and delicacy.
2005 riserva

The three still whites each have their own personality as single varietals. Hannes ferments all in steel. They speak directly from the vineyard with no interference from the cellar. Hannes said, “I make the wine with whatever comes in from the vineyard.”
Hausmanhoff Chardonnay 2013: dry, clean–the taste of a fresh fall apple, just picked from the tree
Hausmanhoff Sauvignon Blanc 2013: beautifully delicate and very fresh. My favorite of the whites.
Hausmanhoff Gewurtztraminer 2013: dry with light floral aromas.

The grand finale of my visit was tasting the Blauburgunders (Pinot Nero wines). For that, Hannes brought out local cheese, blue eggs from the farm, fresh bread and sliced speck.
cheese and eggs

Because the soil contains not only limestone, but clay, Hannes explained, the Blauburgunder can become overly tannic if the grapes macerate for too long with the wine. The two that I tasted were not so at all.

Note the lovely, nearly transparent color in the Hausmannhof Blauburgunder Südtirol DOC 2011 13,5% at the top of this post. The wine ferments in steel then ages a year in used barriques. Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrique. The rich but delicate flavors and light tannins in this wine means that it pairs with just about anything and is light enough to be your “go to” summer red. It can be drunk young or aged.
The Hausmannhof Blauburgunder Südtirol Riserva DOC 2011 (13,5%) also ferments in steel but then, ages in new and used barriques for 24 months. Like the Blauburgunder above, this wine pairs easily with many foods (soups, pasta, meats, etc.). It is more complex and intense. The 2011 is still too young to drink (best 8-15 years).

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