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From Rust with Love with the Queen of Ausbruch

Heidi Schröck & Söhne – From Rust with Love.

After an intense day of tastings and training during the first year S1 Masters of Wine seminar on January 15, we had a special evening with winery tours and small group visits in the medieval town of Rust.

We entered the winery of Heidi Schröck & Söhne through a large wooden door with cinematographic sounds and down little wooden steps. There, in front of some 2100L stainless steel tanks, we met Georg, who welcomed us with a big smile. “From here you can see the whole winery,” he told us. Two rooms, one with the 225L barrels and the foudres, and the other with the stainless steel tanks. He added: “Ask anything you want and when you are ready we can go up to taste.”

We walked up into the house and gathered around the beautiful wooden table where Heidi was waiting for us. We sat down just as a family would and were treated to an amazing wine tasting, including a vertical tasting of Ausbruch, and even Georg’s homemade bread. You could already taste the excitement of what was to come.

We can’t believe how lucky we are. Walking through time and vintages with their creators is not something you do without treasuring it in your mind and under your skin. Besides, as we were approaching Heidi’s house, the captivating director of the Weinacademie, Mr Dr Josef Schuller MW, had whispered in my ear: “She is the queen of Ausbruch!”

And now we are sitting at the table with Queen Heidi, her son Georg, a great group of wine people, about to taste all their wines lined up on the table.

Heidi has been making wine since 1983, following what her ancestors started 300 years ago. Now, as for several vintages, her sons Georg and Johannes have joined the family tradition. How many wineries can truly say this? : “We do it for love. Small company, big aspirations. Take it or leave it & that’s how we are. Progress and continuity. Everything we do today in our winery is based on this & we believe you can sense it in our wines.”

And indeed we can!

Botrytis wines are the result of nature and climate, and sometimes they cannot even be made again for 10 years. Ausbruch wines are made from vines by Lake Neusiedlersee in the town of Rust in Burgenland, Austria. Although the DAC status dates from 2020, the historic appellation has existed since the 16th century.

Ausbruch exists only in Austria, and lies between an Austrian Beerenauslese and a Trockenbeerenauslese in required sugar levels, around 156° Oechsle (minimum of 30°KMW). Almost all Ausbruchs have between 200-300 grams per liter of residual sugar.

Heidi, Georg and Johannes work 10 ha of Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder, Furmint, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent.

Ruster Ausbruch is Heidi’s favourite wine, selected from the best parcels of white varieties, but especially from Welschriesling and Furmint, created only in the best vintages.

Ausbruch has a very strict wine law. At harvest they measure the amount and degrees of sugar to get to 8-9% abv and can come back the next day to check how many liters you have. A year in Rust is not always good for all styles of wine. Usually, if it’s good for reds, it’s not so good for sweet wines. But in 2004 and 2006 it was good for all styles.

Let’s start the tasting!

1. Endel Weiss 2022 Hárslevelü 13% abv

A very special collaboration with a trendy London wine bar in Covent Garden, The 10 cases. This collaboration started with Alex, who has just launched a new place in Waterloo: Lower Bottle.

Hárslevelú means linden leaf, in reference to the dried flower aroma and a slight reminiscence of muscatel, 48h skin maceration. Fermentation and ageing in stainless tank.

Perfect phenolic grip with a spicy touch. Golden yellow in colour, and an experiment they say! If only all experiments were like this one! Amazing texture, savoury balance, dry white wine that wakes you up (or that you would like to wake up with!)

2.Furmint Auslese 2015

The sweetness starts! Only special years like 2015, with a late harvest in October and when the warm Föhn wind came later on and dried the large berries of Furmint bunches. That’s the magic of Botrytis, like the magic of Love, it happens when it happens.

The beautiful label gives you ideas to pair it with. No limit for an imaginative mind.

3.Beenrenauslese 2021 Welschriesling & Weissburgunder & Chardonnay 11% abv

The Picker is the most important person for making these wines” said Heidi. Only 7% in the area are picked by machine, meaning most is picked by hand.

Here are some of my tasting references: less acidic than Tokaji, crisper than Sauternes, less alcohol than both, less vivid than BA from Germany.

This BA was fermented and matured in 225L barrels.

I had written in my notes: spicy peach from Mars, dried flowers, menthol.

4.Ruster Ausbruch 2021 On the Wings of Dawn Welschriesling 11% abv

Medium gold colour and amber rim. Aromas of honey and quince. Of course, hand selected, only botrytis grapes and fermented in 225L barrels. Filtered and bottled after 2 years in barrel.

5.Ruster Ausbruch 2006 Schröck & Kracher Welschriesling 10% abv

Medium amber. Orange peel, fig, smoke. Pleasant phenolic bitterness, fresh and white pepper.

The elegant floral aromas suggest the possibility of acacia barrel. (This is my mind trying to get ready for the practical exams!)

6.Ruster Ausbruch 2005 TurnerFurmint 10.5 % abv

Deep amber. Exclusive single vineyard from Furmint (Turner is the name of the vineyard) fermented and matured in new oak barrels for 2 years.

Big party of coffee-like aromas, smoky, baked fig and saffron.

Heidi likes to go with the pickers and make them taste a grape before they start picking, she knows they won’t forget it when they’re picking the right ones.

7.Ruster Ausbruch 2004 On the Wings of Dawn – Welschriesling & Weissburgunder 9.5% abv.

Deeper amber color. “On the wings of dawn” the name of this Ausbruch, is a quote from Psalm 139.

It tastes drier and it looks younger, but it is 20 years old! Dried apricot, tension, and aromas of brown sugar. “Not the classic style” says Heidi. I find it vibrant. As you can see already, in Rust they don’t make the same wines every year, and the magic happens occasionally, in different shapes and forms.

8. Anthologie – Best of 9 Summers 10% abv

Back to deep gold colour. A blend from the vintages 2014 to 2022. Vibrant aromas of ripe lemon peel, soft sweetness and waxy texture. A great sweet wine and refreshing culmination of the night.  On the side label, they wrote: OUR WINES OPEN DOORS.

From Rust with love. Dynamic, authentic and vibrant are the wines of Heidi Schröck & Söhne!

Thank you very much for your hospitality, and thanks to the Weinakademie and to the Institute MW. I will keep this memory forever and I will taste your wines every time I can, as I recommend you to do so!

We didn’t get to meet Johannes this time, but we felt all the hard work and love of the whole family wine adventure and great teamwork.

To follow along and learn more about Heidi Shröck & Söhne : and here on IG: @schrockheidi

Try their wines as soon as you can!