We drove to Spielfeld, past the border guard for the Austrian/Slovenian
This photo is of the sign for the Polz' brother's father.
These fellows were not certain of having a winemaking future, given that when they were in
school, premium wines were unheard of in this part of the world.
The family has been making wine since 1912, but it took until the 1980s when the new
generation took over, for the wines to gain notoriety past the Austrian border.
It seems that most wine of this region relied on sugar for its character and appeal.
People made Welschriesling, a fruity little white wine of modest character.
Yields for these vines are high, since it doesn't make anything spectacular, even if you
cultivate for quality.
Apparently a significant amount of wine is (or was) intended for drinking casually in a
"buschenschank," a sort of "heurigen" room. Many wineries
have this sort of set-up, a place where people can come, buy a few glasses of the house
wines as well as some bread or snacks.
While the appeal of such a place is as an outlet for selling one's wines, this sort of
venue doesn't encourage producers to make superior wines. Those patronizing these
establishments will buy more wine if the wines are light and easily drinkable. Wines
of an "international" standard are not required by those coming to the local
Eventually Walter and Erich Polz embarked on a program of
cultivating smaller yields in an attempt to make a superior wine.
Today they look after some 55 hectares of vineyards. Ten of these are in the
"Rebenhof" property and these are bottled by Polz under the Rebenhof label.
The other 45 hectares are either theirs outright or rented.
This photo shows the Polz' prime vineyard called Grassnitzberg.
Tumble down to the bottom of this hill and you're in Slovenia!
We had a marathon tasting with the Polz family one Sunday afternoon in early
make an impressive number of wines. Welschriesling is a simple, easy-to-drink white
Gelber Muskateller is really quite good, showing classic apricot-like fruit.
Blanc, Chardonnay (called 'Morillon') and Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder) are especially
Polz uses a diverse array of barrels and casks. Some are small, others
I noticed a range of types of wood in the cellar, too.
Max Polz is able to climb atop a stack of barrels and swirl his glass of......water!
The grand "old man" of the Polz domain....
The current generation of Polz pours a glass of excellent 1997 (yes, three + years old
and it's just blossoming!) white wines: Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc.
Grammelschmalz is a very dangerous
comestible. The Polz family offered us a wonderful range of smoked ham, salame and
this grammelschmalz (spreadable pork fat with flecks of crunchy, crispy pork).
Garlic and wine are the antidotes.
Back to the Austrian