Wine Detail

Wenzel Kleiner Wald Pinot Noir 2005 # MW026

Wenzel Kleiner Wald Pinot Noir 2005, 750 ml

from Wenzel  (View all)

This is the second vintage of award winning winemaker Michael Wenzel’s Kleiner Wald Pinot Noir that we are offering here in the US. The 2004 was a revelation to sommeliers and wine buyers alike, how could we not continue? Such an elegant wine- nothing overwrought or bombed out here. Pure Pinot fruit done Burgundian style. Definitely more old world than new, it evokes the best that the French have to offer and will definitely be the wine responsible for putting Austrian Pinot Noir on the map. The soil of the Kleiner Wald vineyard is mainly composed of limestone and marl, with sea shell sediments. High density plantation (7500 vines per hectare) with different clones is practiced.

Alcohol content 12.5%
Bottle size (ml) 750 ml
Residual Sugar 1.2 g/l
Wine style Dry
Cellar potential Mid to long-term.
Closure Cork

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Michael Wenzel

The Wenzel wine cellar, located in the heart of the town of Rust, is over 400 years old. When you step inside the first thing you see is an enormous wooden grape press, weathered and ancient like some old grand leviathan. Scratched into the wood you can make out graffiti dating back 100 years.

They stopped using it just 4 years ago.

Wenzel Winery

That‘s how it goes here at Winery Wenzel (“Family run since 1647”) History and tradition run very deep and result in some of the most exquisite noble sweet wines in the world. Their Ruster Ausbruch ‘Saz’ blends Furmint and Gelber Muskateller, which is the recipe followed for hundreds of years and only recently revived by this house. For those more familiar with Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA), Michael Wenzel describes it as such: “The difference between Ausbruch and TBA is a matter of finesse and elegance. The acidity is more pronounced in Ausbruch, while TBA tends to be sweeter.”


But there are distinct new world influences here as well: Michael Wenzel, the latest in the family line, spent time working at the Happ winery in New Zealand and traveled extensively to see and learn how the new world is making great wines before taking over the reins at home. This bridge from old to new shows off best in the red wines: a traditional Austrian varietal such as Blaufränkisch gives a nod to international wine tastes while still remaining true to its varietal and terroir: the result is a powerhouse both like and unlike anything most folks have quaffed. Michael: “We want to bring back [the red wine's] reputation. To maintain individual styles, but to discuss issues such as oak, acidity to sugar relation, the elegance, the drinkability of the wines. There is a new generation here that understands the importance of creating a prestigious product.”


Burgenland is made up of 4 "sub-areas" and covers 19,215 hectares, which is about 48,000 acres. The dominating geographical influence here is the Neusiedler Lake (Neusiedlersee), and the 4 subdivided areas are called Southern Burgenland (Südburgenland), Central Burgenland (Mittelburgenland), Neusiedler Lake (Neusiedlersee) and the Neusiedler Lake Highlands (Neusiedlersee-Hügelland)

From the northernmost Neusiedlersee area comes full-bodied white wines, including the countries best Chardonnays. This is also an area where great red wines are produced, including those from the "Pannobile" co-operative who age their wines in oak.

Due to the vineyards proximity to the lake and their location in the hot Pannonian climate zone, their grapes more often than not develop the "noble rot" (botrytis cinerea) which creates heady dessert wines. The region stretches along the Hungarian border, right across which Tokaji is being made.

The town of Rust, in the Neusiedler Lake Highlands, is where the famous Ruster Ausbruch dessert wine is made. This is also where storks come to roost every year, building their enormous nests on the roof of every building along the main roads. They make a clicking sound which is somewhere between a woodpecker and a jackhammer, and as you sit at the Heuriger (wine garden) drinking the afternoon away, the potential cacophony becomes something of a symphony.123


We are at the west side of the Neusiedler Lake.The Austrian wine establishment has now begun to call this region Leithaberg, after the local hillsides themselves, although it is hard to imagine winegrowing in this region without the beneficent influence of the lake. The free city of Rust has been famous for its sweet wines for centuries, now producing memorable reds and dry whites as well. The towns of St Margarethen, Donnerskirchen and Grosshöflein are all proving to be sources of excellent grapes from the varieties Blaufränkisch and St Laurent, as well as for the more surprising Sauvignon Blanc. The major municipality Eisenstadt is the capital of Burgenland; the area has been settled since the early Iron Age, and evidence of viticulture exists in Celtic hill burials from nearly three thousand years ago.

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