Wine of the Year 2024

Written by Franz Weninger on the 21st of November 2023


First of all, as many of you may know, we don't participate in many publications. But Gault&Millau is different, and has been for years. This was already the case under the tasting direction of Florian Holzer, as well as with Petra Bader, and since 2023, Daniel Dejnega has also been able to show that it is possible to design wine guides in such a way that the loudest and boldest wine doesn't always win.

I wonder, what is the reason? Is it the top-class jury*, which has worked very consistently for the guide over many years, or the tasting order? The wines are not tasted by grape varieties or ascending alcohol content, as is often the case, but rather each winery is tasted individually. You can think of it as listening to an entire music album and not just a single song.
It is probably like with wine itself - it is a combination of many little things. Meticulously combining these elements with great sensitivity results in this guide being different and, thus, really good. Thank you!

From the guide:

graceful wines with great depth

„Dürrau is a cult vineyard in Horitschon. Franz R. Weninger's 60-year-old Blaufränkisch vines root in a heavy, deep clay soil with high clay and iron content, which can store plenty of water. This allows them to easily withstand high heat and dryness, as in the year 2018 when Weninger bottled a truly great Blaufränkisch Ried Dürrau. Through biodynamic work in the vineyard and the art of omission in the cellar – no commercial yeasts, no oak makeup, no clarifying agents, no filtration – pure terroir expression comes through. The wine exudes finesse and calm elegance, with invigorating freshness emphasizing the delicate fruit and cool spice. With silky but firm tannins, it glides into a magnificent length. Beautiful."

His series brings joy to all fans of precision and finesse

„Exceptional winemaker Franz Weninger masters the art of crafting graceful wines with great depth perfectly. His series brings joy to all fans of precision and finesse. The two Blaufränkisch from the Dürrau and Kalkofen vineyards possess timeless beauty, and the 'Say' from the Saybritz site in Eisenberg dances almost electrically on the palate. The highly exciting Furmint variety has also become a fixed part of the portfolio. The winery is certified according to Demeter and respekt-BIODYN."

Or as René Kollegger describes the Dürrau:
„A magnificent Blaufränkisch. Juicy sour cherry with peppery plum. Mature captivating tannin that gives the wine strength. Smooth on the palate with complexity, hints of tobacco spice, and rustiness from the wood, a touch of nougat. The fine elegant acidity complements this fantastic Blaufränkisch."

• Wine of the Year / Editor´s Favorite Wine:

19.5 points - Blaufränkisch Ried Dürrau 2018

Since 1990, Franz Ludwig Weninger has been producing this wine as a single vineyard Blaufränkisch, and with the 2000 vintage, he gained international attention. See here: Österreichs Rote 2000 sind mitten in der Weltelite

Franz Reinhard Weninger:
„Compared to other vineyards, it was much more difficult for me to find my own interpretation of Dürrau, as the legacy of my father was too great. And although the 2018 Dürrau reflects the coolness of the soil, I have finally got comfortable with it."
"We also plan to have a tasting of the wines at the winery. We will compare 10 vintages of my father's Dürrau and 10 vintages of mine, and thus, maybe learn even more about this vineyard. Date to be announced."

Here´s the link to the wine: Dürrau Blaufränkisch 2018

* Gault&Millau wine testers are: René Antrag, Hermann Botolen, Steve Breitzke, Daniela Dejnega, Gerhard Elze, Darrel Joseph, Stefan Kapeller, René Kollegger, Sindy Kretschmar, Walter Kutscher, Alexander Lupersböck, Manuela Prieth, Luzia Schrampf, Christian Zach

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