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Gut Oggau is amongst the most celebrated names in the world of natural wine. Their distinctly labeled bottles are well known to wine aficionados of all stripes, as well as anyone who’s ever looked at... Read More
Gut Oggau is amongst the most celebrated names in the world of natural wine. Their distinctly labeled bottles are well known to wine aficionados of all stripes, as well as anyone who’s ever looked at Instagram. Their journey into the natural side of wine is not unfamiliar but it is worth repeating. Eduard Tscheppe, the son of conventional wine producers in Austria’s Tyrol region, and his wife Stephanie Tscheppe-Eselböck, the daughter of Michelin-starred restaurateurs, bought an abandoned winery that boasted old vines, some more than 60 years old. The winery had been abandoned for 20 allowing the land ample time to heal from any chemical farming that may have occured. They restored the winery and vineyards using regenerative agriculture and biodynamic principles. After years of toil Eduard and Stephanie released their first vintage in 2007. Early on the decision was made to not focus on variety. Gut Oggau blends varieties from the same plot in order to most clearly translate the character of each site. Eduard and Stephanie then created a different character for each cuvée. These fictional personas belong to three generations of the same family. There is the mature and refined older generation, the strong and robust middle generation and the tempestuous and energetic youngest generation. Whether it’s the “bright and cheerful” Theodora, the “young and attractive” Atanasius or the “easy going and voluptuous” Josephine, each character represents the personality of that wine. Each bottle is adorned with a portrait of its character drawn by the German artist Jung von Matt. Each vintage they age ever so slightly. Although their branding is contemporary, Gut Oggau’s vinification methods are as traditional as it gets. The entire estate is certified biodynamic. In the cellar, grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation with their native yeast. The “older generation” cuvées are pressed with a restored 200-year-old screw press. Aged in old oak barrels, all of their wines, even their whites, are bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without the addition of sulfur. This combination of thought provoking, delicious wines and incredibly charming branding have garnered the winery Cult status. The faces on the bottles peek out from the shelves of some of the world's buzzy-est wine bars and bottle shops from Paris to Tokyo. They grace the list of many top restaurants such as Quince in SF and Noma in Copenhagen. All this acclaim would easily go to the head of most artisans, but Eduard and Stephanie have remained approachable and generous . Instead of a sterile tasting room they run a seasonal heuriger, a uniquely Austrian tradition that is sorta a cross between a wine bar and a roadside tavern. Their wonderful hospitality is a perfect compliment to the three uniquely approachable wines we have today. Hailing from the younger and middle generations, they are all vibrant and vivid examples of what's going on at Gut Oggau.