Claus Preisinger shows that Burgenland's Grüner Veltliner can really deliver, if it's macerated for five months in a Georgia qvevri.

Every week, Simon selects an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed his attention. View the whole series here.

Claus Preisinger Grüner Veltliner Erdeluftgrasundreben 2015

Claus Preisinger took on the responsibilities of managing his family’s three hectares of vines 18 years ago in 2000, following formative winemaking experience with Hans Nittnaus. Based in Gols, close to the Neusiedlersee (Europe’s largest inland lake), he still has an air of youth about him, despite now being one of Burgenland’s most experienced hands when it comes to farming biodynamically (the estate is certified since 2009) and making wine in the most natural way possible. He’s expanded the estate to 18 hectares, and built a rather snazzy new winery.

Claus is also a pioneer in the region when it comes to macerating white grapes, and using amphorae, having acquired some Georgian qvevris in 2009. His Edelgraben wines are all fermented in qvevri and left with their skins for five months, before further ageing in old (neutral) barrels.

Burgenland isn’t considered to be a top location for Grüner Veltliner (that honour belongs to lower Austria, and most specifically to Wachau), yet Claus manages to coax something really different, but typical of the variety. His GV Edelgraben 2015 is pretty wild when first opened – aromas of cooked apples and rather fumey cider proliferate. But the wine shows its class on the palate, with ripe, generous fruit and classical, grippy structure. With some aeration and time in the glass, the magic starts to happen. The cideryness blows away, and the creamy, peppery Grüner character starts to shine through. This is great winemaking, with a sense of precision, authority and typicity running through it. No sulphites were harmed during the process, and the end result feels pure and lively – and stays like that to the very last drop.

Preisinger doesn’t categorise the Edelgraben line, either as ‘orange’ or ‘amphorenwein’ or ‘qvevri’ – and he doesn’t need to. They’re simply great wines, full of texture, excitement and complexity.

Claus Preisinger (Photo courtesy Claus Preisinger)

Claus’s wines are available in the UK from Newcomer wines, whose wine bar in Dalston is highly recommended (bottles from the shop can be enjoyed on the premises with reasonable corkage). The wines are available in the Netherlands via Pieksman Wijnimport. For availability in your part of the world, see wine-searcher.