Would you like to learn more about Austrian wines, especially its iconic grape, Gruner Veltliner? Do you know why this wine is one of the most versatile wines on the planet? Why should an Austrian Heuriger be on your must-visit list? Which Austrian red wine should you try next?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Heidi Fisher Pfaffl who is in charge of business administration and marketing at her family’s winery, Weingut Pfaffl.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- How did the Pfaffl grow from a small farm to 110 hectares of vineyards?
- Why should an Austrian Heuriger be on your must-visit list?
- What aspects of Austrian wine might surprise you?
- What’s the meaning behind the name Wein.1?
- Can Gruner Veltliner be oaked?
- Within what price range can you buy Pfaffl wines?
- Why does Gruner Veltliner pair well with such a wide range of foods?
- Should you buy a bottle of Gruner Veltliner for your cellar?
- What variations would you experience when tasting different Gruner Veltliners?
- Why would you probably find pepper spice Gruner Veltliners especially interesting?
- Can you buy Pfaffl wines across Canada?
- What is Heidi’s favourite food to pair with Gruner Veltliner?
- Which characteristics would you taste in a Gruner Veltliner as it ages?
- How does the rockiness of the Haidvertel impact the wine?
- What was the worst moment in Heidi’s wine career?
- What is the best moment from Heidi’s wine career so far?
- How do old oak barrels influence the flavour profile you’ll taste with wine?
- Why do you need humidity in a wine cellar?
- What ancient characteristic influences what you’ll taste with Zeiseneck Gruner Veltliner?
- Can you taste differences between the wines produced north or south of the Danube?
- How did Gruner Veltliner become the darling of New York sommeliers?
- Which Austrian red wine should you try next?
- What foods should you pair with a glass of Zwiegelt?
- What is the tasting experience with Pfaffl’s entry-level wine, Wein.2?
- How does St. Laurent differ from other grapes?
- How does Zwiegelt compare to Pinot Noir?
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About Heidi Fisher Pfaffl
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl is in charge of her family’s winery, Weingut R&A Pfaffl, along with her brother, Roman, who is the winemaker and vineyard manager. Heidie takes care of everything else, from business administration to marketing and sales. Pfaffl Winery is one of Austria’s leading wine producers and was recently named European Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Their vineyards are distributed around the village of Stetten in the Weinviertel and in neighbouring Vienna. Due to the numerous vineyards and their diversity, they are able to produce a broad spectrum of wine styles.
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Transcript & Takeaways
Welcome to episode 79!
Why are so many restaurant sommeliers crazy about the zesty Austrian white wine Gruner Veltliner? Why should an Austrian Heuriger be on your must-visit list? Which Austrian red wine should you try next?
That’s exactly what we’ll learn in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. We’re chatting with Heidie-Marie Fisher Pfaffl who, along with her brother, runs her family’s winery, Weingut Pfaffl, one of Austria’s leading wine producers.
This conversation first aired on my regular Facebook live video a couple of years ago, so keep that in mind as the context for Heidi’s comments. She occasionally shows us things on camera, so you’ll want to watch the video version for that.
Also, you’ll hear me respond to viewer questions. You can be part of that conversation every second Wednesday at 7 pm eastern, including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day that it’s published.
I’ll include a link as to where you can find us as well as the video version of this conversation in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/79.
If you want to discover mouth-watering juicy wines and what to pair with them, sign up for my free, online video wine class the 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!).
Go to nataliemaclean.com/class and choose a time and date that work for you. I look forward to seeing you inside the class!
Okay, on with the show!
You can also watch the video interview with Heidi that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this chat with Heidie-Marie Fisher Pfaffl.
Here are my takeaways:
- I always thought of Gruner Veltliner as a zesty white wine, which it is, but I never realized how diverse it can be made stylistically, from stainless steel to preserve fruit freshness to oak aging to give it a richer texture; from light-bodied to full; from green apple aromas to pepper and spice.
- Heidi made my mouth water thinking about pairing this wine with the classic Austrian dish veal or pork schnitzel, the slice of meat that’s fried, rolled in bread crumbs then baked in the oven. Yum!
- I also thought that all Gruner Veltliner should be consumed when young, but I’m intrigued with those made for aging and that they age much like Chardonnay from Burgundy or Riesling without the petrol notes.
- You’ll want to want the video to see the soil samples she shows us from the loam soils that absorb moisture to the sandstone quartz that doesn’t and therefore produces a richer, more powerful style of wine.
- Although Austria is famous for its zesty wine wines, it also makes juicy red wines, especially from the Zweigelt grape, which produces a spicy, peppery, fresh cherry style with racy acidity.
- And finally, I loved Heidi’s descriptions of how they age their wines in Acacia barrels for just a honey kiss of oak, as well as the bed of 17-million year-old oyster fossils in which the vines thrust their roots.
If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in the fascinating wine tips that Heidi shared. You’ll find links to the wines we tasted, a full transcript of our conversation, the video version of this chat and where you can find us on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm at nataliemaclean.com/79, including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published.
Finally, if you want to connect with me personally, join me in a free online video class at nataliemaclean.com/class.
Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a zesty Gruner Veltliner!
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 0:00
Grüner can be so versatile. You can have a Grüner that’s lively and fresh. But you also can find quite rich and full body burners that some how reminds you of Chardonnay. We often have tastings of old Grüner Veltliners in comparison to old burgundy wines and it’s often hard to find the difference.
Natalie MacLean 0:20
So they age well because they’ve got the acidity which is one of the ageing elements.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 0:25
Yes, but also, not all of them are the same. You have some very full body rich ones that hv well the reserve styles, but you also have this easy drinking lively, fresh crooners. They are really made for drinking young.
Natalie MacLean 0:46
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations. That’s the blend here. The unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie McLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please and let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 80. Why are so many restaurants Somalis crazy about the zesty Austria white wine Grüner Veltliner? Why should an Austrian hair rigour be on your must visit list? And which Austrian red wines should you try next? That’s exactly what we’ll learn in this episode of The unreserved wine talk podcast. we’re chatting with Heidi Marie Fisher Fazal, who along with her brother runs her family’s winery via Apple, one of Australia’s leading wine producers. This conversation first aired on my regular Facebook Live video show a couple of years ago. So keep that in mind as the context for Heidi’s comments. She occasionally shows us things on camera, so you’ll want to watch the video version for that. Also, you’ll hear me respond to viewer questions. You can be part of that conversation every second Wednesday at 7pm. Eastern, including this evening. If you’re listening to this podcast on the day that it’s published. I’ll include a link as to where you can find us as well as the video version of this chat in the show notes at Natalie McClain comm forward slash 79. If you want to discover more mouthwatering juicy wines and what to pair with them, sign up for my free online video wine class five wine and food pairing mistakes that can ruin your dinner and how to fix them forever. Go to Natalie McClain comm forward slash class and choose a time and date that work for you. I look forward to seeing you inside the class. Okay, on with the show.
Natalie MacLean 3:16
Would you like to know more about Austrian wines, especially its iconic white wine grape, Grüner Veltliner and why this is probably one of the most food friendly wines on the planet. We’re going to learn about that and a lot of other things about Austrian wines with our guests who will be joining us. So our guest is in charge of her family’s winery along with her brother who is the winemaker. He is also the vineyard manager. But our guest does everything else. So she’s managing the business operations, the marketing, the sales and everything else. And her winery family on still is baffle you probably heard of it. If you’re starting If you’re a fan of Austrian wine, and she joins me now live from the winery just north of Vienna welcome Heidi Marie Fisher Pfaffl.
Natalie MacLean 4:11
Hi, nice to be with you. Ah, it’s so good for you to join us. You’ve given me permission to call you, Heidi. So we’ll do that. Heidi, I have shared the briefest details about your bio, why don’t you fill in the gaps and tell us a little bit about your personal life.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 4:28
My personal life, it is very nice. I never get upset, especially my father and my brother. My brother is my neighbour and it will take a little easier for my father, and he was the one who was founding the company. We’re a family binary. As you say, My mom is also helping. Of course, she’s taking care of the winery as it looks of the guests when they come. And also my kids are I’m very grateful. We were doing 110 Hector’s of Indians. Okay. quite close to Vienna. So we also have vineyards in Vienna as well so close. And the other ones they are spread in roughly 10 different villages. So we have many different kinds of soils and different kinds of microclimates. And that’s why we have quite a big portfolio of different wines. The most important grape variety is of course Grüner Veltliner
Natalie MacLean 5:20
and we are going to dive right into that. I love when we interview family owned and run wineries. It’s fantastic that you and your brother Roman are now the second generation to run the winery. Your winery was established in 1978. Is that correct?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 5:36
Yes, that’s correct. well established. My parents married in 1978. And they took over a farm from their parents, small farms and fields of women years, and all settler.
Natalie MacLean 5:50
Until you convert it to viticulture from other types of agriculture.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 5:55
Yes, yes, step by step. Step by step my parents build everything up when they marry My mom was 21 My father was 27. They bought a house in the nearby town. And there they opened up the hygeia. Do you know what Heidegger is? That’s very typical to Austria. It’s a kind of restaurant where the winemakers sell their wines. When you come to Austria, you definitely have to go to a hot Riga, where you can really drink good wines at a very good price and with farmers food,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 6:23
high rigour, is it called high rigour high Liga.Yes, there is a second word which is bushing shank,
Natalie MacLean 6:30
equally difficult. Yes.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 6:34
You can translate it by witness to burn or something like that. It’s just my North American
Natalie MacLean 6:39
dialect. It’s me, not you. So Heidi Marie, I know your brother is the winemaker vineyard manager. Why makings in the family? But was there a moment when you realised I actually do want to be in the wine industry as opposed to going off and doing something else in the world?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 6:58
Oh, yes. Oh, yes, definitely. Do Yes. So thinking about that when I was in school, just high school, you know, when I came home after school in the afternoon, my father always had something to do with me, because he was building out offices for export markets. And so he didn’t really visionary anyone want to do. And all this is one step ahead. But unfortunately, you have no English and skills. So what I had to do coming home from high school, he had some wind bias from some bird that he got got at fairs or summer and I had to call that it was really, really hard, because I had no idea how to talk to bind buyers. And I had no idea about English. So a little bit of school English, but not a lot. So that was really hard at the beginning. But step by step I got into it. And he sent me to London and other states to wine tastings. I did it already was 15 and 16 years old, and it was really nice. And so I came into it when you were just 15 and 16 years old.
Natalie MacLean 7:58
Oh wow. Wow. What an introduction.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 8:01
Now, we know Austria is a great wine producer. And we know it’s a cool climates in Northern European. But What don’t we know about Austrian wine that might surprise us? Well, of course, I don’t know how much you know. But what I think is really very interesting at the moment is that we at the moment have a big group of young and very enthusiastic winemakers that want to produce real high quality. And I also say that we have a big audience of consumers also here in Austria, that appreciate what we are doing and that’s giving an energy to the whole scenery. That’s that I really enjoy.
Natalie MacLean 8:41
Excellent. I’ve got tonnes more questions, but I often get so carried away with the conversation. I forget almost to taste the wines. We want to dive right into Grüner Veltliner. I’ve got a few here from you, but Grüner that means green, right. does that translate to green? That’s correct. Yeah. And just felt leaner translate to something that we would be familiar with no, no. Okay, no. So green whatever.
Natalie MacLean 9:07
Yeah. Okay, so I’ve got an entry level the wine got one. You’ve got it too. So this is actually a blend of Grüner Riesling and Pino blah. So tell us about this way. Heidi? Yeah,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 9:19
yes. Oh, we call it when bond. That means piano. That’s the German word for piano. Okay, and call it piano one because it’s our first line from piano. It was in the year 2004. Then we got some winners in Ghana. We were very proud. It’s quite quite rare and unique to convenient Indiana, although it is the biggest wine producing main city in the world. Yeah, okay. Still, the vineyards are of course quite rare. What we wanted to do here is to make a real typical wine from Ghana with which should be pretty lively.
Natalie MacLean 9:52
It is actually it’s beautiful. It’s so crisp. It’s so lively. I love the acidity people. We should not be afraid of Saturday, that’s what makes wine come alive. says to you, it’s so good. So you say V and W are sort of for us our Anglo tongue. Wine wi n is a vine. That means Vienna. That needs to Yeah,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 10:15
it looks like wine. Yes. When we would write wine in German, we would make the E first and the eye afterwards.
Natalie MacLean 10:23
Okay, so it is different. So to Vienna just doesn’t mean wine city or something though. That’s checking but I still want to visit you. Okay, is Grüner Veltliner always made with stainless steel, no oak is that
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 10:38
blue. For example, we have five different single vineyard pruners, and we have them from stainless steel until maturity, occasion wood, for example, but we also have some oak Grüner Veltliner.
Natalie MacLean 10:53
Okay, I never knew that Bruner could have oak on it. That’s interesting. Marie is asking what is the price range of all of these wines. We’ve got six here to taste, but I might just also just offer that. I believe your agent told us they’re around between 19 and 23 $24. So very affordable. I think in Canadian dollars. That’s kind of where they’re coming in at price point wise. I’m sure that’s true. Yes, yes. And I think you know, we don’t know a lot about Grüner Veltliner, at least here in Canada, maybe North America, because it’s one of those wines that’s hard to say it’s not one of the ones that has been around a long time like we’re familiar with California Cabernet and so on. But it offers just so much drinking pleasure and food versatility. Now you were talking about why Grüner Veltliner goes with so many food matches Heidi, is it white pepper you’re saying or black pepper is that note that’s in Grüner often,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 11:55
I think people find both notes for me, it’s easier to recommend a black pepper I have often heard by itself, I’m fine with both. I think that Grüner goes really well with many different kinds of foods. But also because Bruner can be so versatile. You can have a Grüner that’s lively and fresh. But you also can find quite rich and full body burners. That some how reminds you have Chardonnay? We often have tastings of old condiment lemurs in comparison to old Bergen new wines and it’s often hard to find the difference.
Natalie MacLean 12:28
So the age well because they’ve got the acidity which is one of the ageing elements.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 12:33
Yes, but also, not all of them are the same. Do you have some very full body rich ones that hv well the reserve styles, but you also have this easy drinking lively fresh pruners. They are really made for pre drinking young. Oh, wow.
Natalie MacLean 12:48
Fred Clift is asking which sells better in Austria, wine or beer. He’s asking why I thought it was going to differentiate between the different groomers but he wants to know what’s still selling Best in Austria itself wine or beer? Well,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 13:03
no, I’m on the bad side because you can Google that. But I think I think it’s fine. I mean, we are here in the wine region, you know, but in the moral anteus areas, there is probably beers from it. So I don’t know. what’s the what’s, what’s the batch.
Natalie MacLean 13:20
Okay, Fred, well, we’re all concerned about wine tonight. But you know, it’s funny because in the northern regions, including Canada, they were traditionally beer producing beer drinking countries. So Germany, Austria, Canada, Scotland, all along that northern border, get Scotland was whiskey. We’re all beer and spirits. But in the last five to 10 years, there’s been such a revolution an explosion of wine drinking and wine producing. It’s pretty interesting. Heidi, do you find that some groomers are more of that green apple whereas others lean more to the pepper spice character? Definitely.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 13:57
Yes. As I said, you can have a BB BB Variety sorry have different winners from this very peppery spices which are my favourites to be honest and but all the green apple is a point from the very fresh routers, then you can have this soft and round Grüner birth nurse that have always at the end of the day is pre spice, which I think they make them very drinkable and very well going with food.
Natalie MacLean 14:22
And why do you like the pepper spice? I’m drawn to it too. Is it because it’s exotic or just so different from everything else is that way you like it?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 14:31
I think it makes it somehow interesting. You know, you want to get another sip. You don’t get fed up. The wines retreat. They make it really drinkable. They are not So how should I say they don’t spring out of the glass don’t also extremely fruity or something like that. But with this peppery spice you just said, well give me another glass and drinkable Absolutely. That’s the best thing a wind can say.
Natalie MacLean 14:57
jp says I’ve not heard of your winery, any Plans for building up your brand in Canada now, your agent of course will know more about this Heidi but I know you come out occasionally through vintages in the lcbo jP is in Alberta. I sure you have some distribution throughout Canada. Are you expanding in Canada? Do you have plans that way?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 15:19
Yes, yes. We hope to get into connection. We hope to get into interior on a stronger basis. We’re steadily working on that of course something that comes so quickly with mana Polly states it’s always quite difficult to make the first steps but I think we will we will make it
Natalie MacLean 15:35
Yes. always a challenge with the monopolies understatement of the year. What is your favourite food pairing for Grüner? Heidi?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 15:44
That’s very easy. We really like to eat it with the traditional Austrian cuisine, which is a bit of Guinea schnitzel. Do you know what a snips list? Why don’t you explain for me and everyone else who may not be as familiar with a schnitzel schnitzel. That’s a slice of Meet the traditional Viennese, it’s less made of wheel and then you fry so you give it a ponied first you give it into wheat and then into egg and then into crumbles. How do you say it in English? Yeah, like bread crumbs or something right.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 16:14
So yes, the veal the veal is going through that. Yes.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 16:17
But yeah, then you bake it.
Natalie MacLean 16:19
You can also do pork, right?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 16:21
Yes, that’s what we do in our area. In our area. We are so close to Vienna, but still that was no different. We do it with salted pork. So it’s red meat. It’s a little bit more spicy. And so we’ve got this spicy red meat going with this zesty white wine that often doesn’t have oak on it. How does that work? I think that works wonderful. And we always have a potato salad with it. And now our potato salad is always a little bit sweet in our area. How’s it sweet, what’s giving it the sweetness, we add sugar that would do it. There are many reasons to do it. At the Don’t do it in Austria it’s just outreach that it’s some sugar in it and of course vinegar and guess i think that that really fits well with with Bruno but it’s really difficult for me to explain particularly in English. I hope that you come to Austin try once. Yes,
Natalie MacLean 17:14
that’s the best way to learn about anything go to where the wines are made with cheese is would you recommend for this flame?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 17:21
That’s difficult. I had this tune. But how do I translate it in English? We call it back Keizer which is a cheese from the Austrian mountains. Okay for our biggest region. It was 18 months right punch and I had it with 2004 Grüner Veltliner this June, and it was just delicious. Oh, yeah, that sounds good. So was it a soft cheese a hard cheese was our cheese hard cheese cheese, but 18 months ripened, really kind of salty cheese, okay, like permission or a little bit like Parmesan,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 17:57
not as hard as parmesan That sounds good.
Natalie MacLean 18:00
And what happens to Grüner? as it ages? Does it get not a year or what are the characteristics that come out in a Grüner? as it ages?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 18:09
Yes nothing is perhaps right virtuous rabbit I think for me it ripens quite similar to Riesling away. Okay, but you don’t get this book petrol no right. Yeah but it reminds you of reasoning when hfcs but also of all Burgundy’s if it’s a full body crooner that is maturity vote in some kind of interesting Wow. So much to learn. Okay, so we have another Grüner here. This one I have is I’m not going to pronounce it correctly v nerville Viertel but just get the benefit of DC. Do you have to say select
Natalie MacLean 18:44
which one are you asking about the I
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 18:46
have been a charged when you’re just sighs an egg right under the bind fee.
Natalie MacLean 18:50
All right. I have hater. Hey, Mike. Yes,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 18:54
I hear that one. All right. That one would be the second row but if you can do that first okay.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 19:01
page footer that comes from a stony soil. Okay. A broken stone here is the kind of sounds you have the real stones.
Natalie MacLean 19:08
Yes. Oh, show us right up to the camera so we can see, please.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 19:12
We love props. Here it is. Do you see it?
Natalie MacLean 19:15
Oh, that’s a big property. Yes, it is you so what is with that? What’s with that special stone? What does it do for the vines?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 19:22
So this is a really rocky vineyard and it’s a sense stone, okay, it’s quartz. Okay, it’s called flourish. And it makes powerful and rich wines. Hospital has it only under sub soil and on the very top it has a thick, less soil. Less is kind of lighter, long, like long but with more Sandy, Sandy character,
Natalie MacLean 19:49
and for those who don’t know what is loan
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 19:51
to define it for how do we say delayed soil? It’s a fat soil. It’s effect but but Sandy, how do you call it It
Natalie MacLean 20:00
Sandy. Sandy. That’s okay. That’s all right. Yes,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 20:03
Sandra, but a little bit fatter. Less is something that really saves humanity. Ah, it absorbs the moisture. It absorbs the moisture.
Natalie MacLean 20:11
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 20:14
Yes. For a cent. Just drink it rinse through. That’s okay. Interesting. So back to that. So you just showed us how is that affecting the vines? It’s making them really spicy and powerful. That’s what I find out here. I also found literature from many, many years ago from the 17th century that explained the same thing which I found really interesting,
Natalie MacLean 20:38
huh, there we go. So we always love to hear stories, personal stories. Can you take us to the worst moment of your winemaking? Not winemaking, but wine career? I know you’re not the winemaker. But we always love to just hear the story behind the person in the line. Do you recall any moments that you just went? That’s got to be Who worst moment yet?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 21:02
I can’t recall anything of the recent past. But I go back to when my parents started again. I was somehow around 20 years older. So I was starting to go with my boyfriend and my, my sister was so with hers. And my father was bringing the glass bottles from the washing. He called us because he had an accident with his truck and all the glass bottles were on the floor in the middle of the street where our boyfriends were living. And so we had to go there with everything we needed to get that off the street, and it was so blamed for it was a mess. It was a mess, very painful for staying and pooping in. Yeah.
Natalie MacLean 21:49
So that must be mortifying as a young person.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 21:52
Absolutely. So like,
Natalie MacLean 21:54
let’s take it to a happy story. What is it? I always ask the worst than the best. was the best moment you’ve had to date? I’m sure there’ll be many more of being in the wine business like What is your favourite moment so far?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 22:09
on it’s very difficult. There are so many you know, there are really so many because that’s happening almost every week you know I have people here in the binary from all over the world and you’ve taste to taste wines together with people hear stories of fat. And and so often thinking of what am I doing here? Is this reading chunk?
Natalie MacLean 22:29
Is it really a job? That’s a good catchphrase. You know, you’re doing what you love. When you say is this really a job? Are they really paying me? Yeah,
Natalie MacLean 22:38
I can identify. Laurie is asking, Are all six wines tonight on oped? Heidi? I have to say yes, these are the fresher wines
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 22:47
in our portfolio. We only have some oak whites. That’s Vegas and the sun clowns are the two red ones. They have seen oak but only old oak so they are they don’t break it down with
Natalie MacLean 22:59
neutral Why do why makers age in old oak? If they’re not wanting the oak character, what’s happening with the wine? If you’re almost in a neutral barrel, what are you trying to achieve?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 23:11
It’s still such a difference. Yeah, you have the wine breathing, you know, if you if you just put them in a stainless steel, you can achieve great fresh fruit. But when you have it in an old barrel, you have it breathing so it gets a little bit drowned or it gets more full body if it has the body, of course, but Sure, it gets a bit more harmonious for these red wines. I think it’s very interesting. Excellent. Lori’s got a great question. Would you Heidi encourage your children to get into the wine business? Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yeah, I wouldn’t ask them that. They have to do it, you know, but I tried to show them how nice it is and how beautiful.
Natalie MacLean 23:52
I’m just showing sort of pictures of your family in the kitchen. But just before we went to that shot, it was in seller and you got some sort of fountain? I think you’d call it the wine spa.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 24:05
Yeah, this is our very cold, where we have this fountains, that was my idea to get to get some humidity in the cellar. So it’s a spa for wine barrels. And so you’ve got this fountain going on. It’s beautiful. And what does humidity do, it seeps into the barrels and results in less evaporation, you need to meditate in each berry call in each holder, you have the wooden casks because they would get dried too quickly. And with that, you you lose a lot of wine and the wine dries. So you need to meditate. So you have in this old wine cellars that s this is quite a new big wine hole, we get the humidity in with this wine,
Natalie MacLean 24:45
or the angels would be getting drunk. So we call the
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 24:48
2%. That’s very nice.
Natalie MacLean 24:51
Drunk angels, I sure would still be a beautiful thing, but let me just define what I mean by that. So the 2% or whatever evaporates naturally from obear Why makers have traditionally called the angel share, we lose to evaporation and the angels get to enjoy. But I don’t think you know, everybody should be reined in including the angels. So
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 25:13
it’s a nice phrase. I didn’t know that phrase. You didn’t know that one.
Natalie MacLean 25:17
Angel share. Yeah. Read del daris says what kind of oak barrels Do you use Heidi?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 25:24
French oak in these French oak barrels. We now mature Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, mellow in Anwar, bagels and sunflower. We also use it for Grüner Veltliner in the past and we found out that it is very well for Grüner but you have to age crooner when you put it into oak if they are great when you drink them but 10 years, we now stepped back from that because many people just like drinking pruner a little bit younger. Now we go to the kind of woods that is traditional in our area and that’s not oak but Acacia.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 25:58
us Yes, we know Use 2000 litre occasion casks for our crooners. So that’s
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 26:03
a tree as just another train of oak but occasion and the wine gets from this kind of wood, not this really oaky character that you know from brick, it just gets a honey touch touch of honey. Honey. Yeah.
Natalie MacLean 26:21
Very nice. You have another Grüner there. Yes. Tell us about this other Grüner that you have
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 26:27
size and Vine fiddle DSE size and I say isn’t it comes from a vineyard where we have fossil oysters underneath it is growing under the biggest fertile oyster reef in the world.
Natalie MacLean 26:39
So fossil oysters would result in limestone. Is that right?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 26:43
Yes, yes, we have less on top but underneath we have this fertile oysters you can oh you
Natalie MacLean 26:50
can Yeah, you put it close to the camera and then we can see better. There you go. Ah, is that
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 26:56
limestone there or what is that? That’s that’s a fossil oyster. That’s a real thing. hoister Yes. 17 million year old oyster goodness. We have a huge reef here. You can see another one right here for us. So cool. I thought that was converted into limestone any ancient fossils from sea creatures went into, but not necessarily that’s not limestone. That’s just a fossil itself. We just found it into yours and we Wow. You just have to get them out of and then you have it right here. There is a museum here in Staton where you can also look at this is cool. You’ve got ancient history in the vineyards. Yes. How do you think that affects the vines. It’s interesting that from this vineyard, we always get the most elegant or fresh and lively and yes, very, very elegant as we cannot achieve it anywhere else. Also, this vineyard is quite close to forest. So the difference between day and night is quite big. It’s quite hot during the day quite cool during the night and that also keeps the acidity a little bit fresher. Yes, it’s our freshest love. Yes crooner
Natalie MacLean 28:05
so interesting. jp asks, I noticed on google maps that your winery is situated north of the Danube River. Are there significant differences in wines North versus south of the valley? Good question. jp
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 28:20
Yes, no. May I show you the math Please listen close There you go. We’re here in the wine area okay. You get many Grüner Veltliner the fresh and lively Grüners the Daniel goes somehow like this. Okay. And you go more cells there you find this book in London where you can find great red wines and you’re a farmer. Yeah, yeah, sweet wines that we have in Austria. Okay, but around the Danube area really, you find the crooners
Natalie MacLean 28:48
and that must be a beautiful area to visit to I’ve heard people go on sort of river barges and Oh, yes. Oh, yes. sounds lovely. Rick asks, Do you ever use cement That’s for your wines,
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 29:01
though. We only have stainless steel in our cellar, and the occasional wood and the berries and is there any reason why you don’t use the vats versus stainless steel? I just think that we are quite content with the stainless steel and the cement what’s I personally don’t think that this is has the same freshness. Yeah. I don’t think that it’s it’s something that we need to step into. Yeah, you’re quite content with the status. Gotcha.
Natalie MacLean 29:30
Good. Floyd Curtis while he was living in Prague, I had many check Bruner outliners Is there a big difference between Austrian and Czech Grüner Veltliner interesting.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 29:42
Yeah, that’s all very interesting. I think have too many check Bruno’s universe to be honest. So I can’t tell you too much about this. I can just say that Grüner has been very, very trendy in Australia in the last 30 years, 20 years. And so we have big lines in here from very, very different So, as I said, these fresh and lively examples that we are also tasting is only a very tiny bit of the big Bruner theme in Austria.
Natalie MacLean 30:09
Why is it Sara Grüner Veltliner became the darling of Somalia. So I remember going back, especially when I was in New York 10 years ago, it was so trendy and still is the world catches up with New York Somalis, I’m sure but they absolutely love Grüner Veltliner it’s like I don’t know what to have with this and they would say man show you a Austria and girder Valley her. How did it catch on fire with some of these first those key frontline influencers?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 30:39
Well, I think that’s just because it’s so good with food. And it’s also of course, something that’s not so common ready so you can impress your clients a bit. And also, you can really find great, great wines here that you can really surprise your clients with. But all this is Course still quite new. When my father started with winemaking in the 80s, it was not sure that credit betina would be the most important grape variety from Austria, winemakers didn’t know where to go. They tried a lot with international grape varieties. Until at the end chrome with Lena won the match at the end.
Natalie MacLean 31:19
Speaking of red wines, we’ve got three reds here. So what would be considered the sort of red wine equivalent to Grüner? What’s the leading red wine in Australia?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 31:29
That’s Vegas Vegas, the most widespread and like to Grüner it is quite a spicy red wine. You have again this pepper Enos in there, but you also have a freshness in there a kind of cherry fruit. It’s a very How do you say it’s a very Rubin red?
Natalie MacLean 31:48
Yeah, ruby red. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Cherry Berry, but still with that bite. Nice bite of acidity. Do you have it there with you? Hi. Yes, yes.
Natalie MacLean 31:58
So we’ll taste this one next and Again, folks, all of these wines are in the blog post. So it’s just really interesting. I love this icy, dark pepper, all kinds of things going on here
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 32:13
to recognise at slagel do you have to find the kind of cherry more regular fruit that I really enjoy a lot with this wine? It has. It is quite dark colours, you can say yes, it has pride of strength, but it’s still a classical fruity example of Twilight. No, it’s delicious. I love how spicy and peppery it is.
Natalie MacLean 32:34
We’re getting into more rare and harder to find wines but really worth seeking out. If you want to get out of your Cabernet rut. What would you pair with this Heidi like food wise?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 32:46
I would definitely go with something like barbecue grills, steaks and but you can also do it very simple with pizza pasta.
Natalie MacLean 32:55
Just want to show to the camera. This little capsule On every Austrian mind, the red stripe white through the centre, and you know you’re getting an Austrian wine.
Natalie MacLean 33:06
Let’s just be sure we mentioned the other reds you have here. You have wine, too, which is a nice full body blend of white guilt and Pinot Noir. very juicy, medium bodied, smooth. It’s so good. We get more Austrian wine soon in the lcbo this is your entry level, I think.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 33:30
Yes, that’s, that’s our entry level. That’s a very soft and lovely. It’s one of my personal favourites. I really like the plush even though and I’m always I’m always very surprised how strong the Penumbra is, in comparison to a spider although it’s only 30%
Natalie MacLean 33:47
of which it is it really comes through and I find German and Austrian pinata wires are just beautiful, that cool climate. It just puts that zing in the peanut Omar element.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 34:00
Yeah, yeah. What would you pair with this one? This is something that you can really have with many kinds of dishes is something that I would have with a chat to my friends also to welcome people. And then and then you can ask as many kind of dishes really quite, quite easy, quite easy, conversational line.
Natalie MacLean 34:21
It’s like a spicy pinata, or it’s like a zingy times 10 peanut or can the red wines age are they best consumed while
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 34:31
young? For these red wines, I would say consume them when they are two to five years old. That’s the range. Beautiful, produce mindset age very, very long. But these are modern ways to bring young. Awesome and let us not forget St. Laurent and other grape. And again, you can find it on the blog post. So how would this differentiate from this vite cult and other groups? That’s quite different. Recycle for me thousand is a great variety that it’s not proven yet very comes from but it for us is one maker It looks very much like you know why in the in the vineyard It looks like you know, only that the skins of the berries, they seem to be thicker, then you get more coloured. It’s always much darker than Pino is. And it’s always much more tannic in it in our lives. It’s a spicy red wine for me. It reminds me of a forest in a way. And I think it’s a very good match to every kind of game. Very perfect. That’s a great match.
Natalie MacLean 35:35
Oh, my goodness, this is fantastic. I think we’ve covered a lot and yet I feel like I’ve only gotten through six of my 28 questions. So is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like to highlight? Now? Is there anything we’ve left out that you would like to say? is difficult? I don’t think that we have left out too much. That’s okay. It’s like it usually does. And I’ve just, you know, I’m still at the top of my list of questions, which is always a good things. It’s been a great conversation. So Monique says question for Heidi, can you talk about the differences in similarities between Pinot Noir and white guilt?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 36:14
Peanut BLINDSIGHT, for me Pina Noah is a little bit more fine. Always lighter than siding. So I think it’s always a little bit darker in colour. You know, for me get goes a little bit more into the sorry, that’s my English now, in this orange version of a red wine occurs baguettes goes more into the pink violet Ruby. Yeah. In terms of colour, yes. And then in terms of taste, that cycle is definitely more on the Sherry’s side on the Morello side, whereas the Pino, for me is more in direction to strawberries and, and Fine, fine berries. So I think that they’re quite different, but quite similar to us. You can also call the trial a little bit if you like that, although that’s not common in Austria, but I often hear that that’s what people like to do. And drink some wine.
Natalie MacLean 37:10
Hmm, interesting. So Heidi Murray, thank you so much. This has been such a great discussion. I feel like we’ve just barely got started. So we have to talk again. Where can people find you online or the winery? Maybe you can share the website or were you on Twitter or anything like that?
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 37:27
Yes, you can go on to www dot FAFSA dot h p and that’s p f A ffl. Yes, you Yes. with the same name user can find us a Facebook and Twitter.
Heidi Fisher Pfaffl 37:40
Terrific discussion. Thank you so much, Heidi. Thank you. That’s really good night.
Natalie MacLean 37:50
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this chat with Heidi Marie Fisher. faff. Well, here are my takeaways. Number one, I always thought of groups. Veltliner as a zesty white wine, which it is, but I never realised how diverse it can be made stylistically from stainless steel to preserve the fruit freshness, to oak ageing to give it a richer texture from light bodied to full from those green apple zesty aromas, darker pepper and spice notes to Heidi made my mouth water thinking about pairing this wine with the classic Austrian dish veal or pork schnitzel, the slice of meat that’s fried and rolled in breadcrumbs and then baked in the oven. Hmm. Three, I also thought that all Grüner Veltliner should be consumed when young. I mean the why not the person, but I’m intrigued with those that are made for ageing. I mean the wines not the people, and that they age much like Chardonnay from burgundy or Riesling without the petrol notes, and four you’ll want to watch the video to see the soil samples sheet chose us from the loam soils to the sandstone quartz that doesn’t and therefore produces a richer, more powerful style of wine. Number five, although Austria is famous for its zesty white wines, it also makes juicy red wine, especially from the white belt grape, which produces a spicy peppery, fresh cherry style with racy acidity. And finally, number six, I love Heidi’s descriptions of how they age their wines and Acacia barrels for just that honey kiss of oak, as well as the bed of 17 million year old oyster fossils in which the vines thrust their roots. If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it. Especially one who’s interested in the wine tips that Heidi shared. You’ll find links to the wines we tasted a full transcript of our conversation, the video version of this chat, and where you can find us on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm At Natalie MacLean.com forward slash 79 and that includes this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published, I hope to see you there. Finally, if you want to connect with me personally join me in a free online video class at Natalie MacLean.com forward slash class. Thank you for taking time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps as zesty, vibrant Grüner Veltliner.
Natalie MacLean 40:35
You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean.com forward slash subscribe, maybe here next week. Cheers.