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Dorli Muhr

Dorli Muhr

The small wine region of Carnuntum is located right next to the Vienna airport, in the southeast of the Austrian capital. The Danube River runs on the west side of the area, and if you go east you end up at the border with Slovakia. The soil in the area varies completely depending on whether the nurseries are located in the western or eastern part of the area. The soil in the western part consists mainly of loess, while in the eastern part, especially in the area of ​​the Spitzerberg hill, the soil consists of sandy limestone. The microclimate is warm enough for the late-ripening red Blaufränkisch, because warm air flows from the Pannonian region to the orchards. Rainfall is also very low, only 400mm per year, because the Spitzerberg hill stops the rain clouds blowing from the Atlantic from the west. The soil also permeates water well, so the rhizomes of the vines have to get nutrients from deep in the soil. The dry weather usually continues well into the fall, allowing for a late harvest of the grapes while the cooler nights help preserve the grapes' natural acidity. The vineyards in the area are mainly old, producing small and concentrated grapes. In Carnuntum, slightly more red than white wines are produced, although the area covers only 2% of the country's wine cultivation.

Dorli Muhr, who originally studied foreign languages, founded her own PR agency in 1991 to work with wine producers. Close cooperation with winemakers got him excited about the idea of ​​getting his own vineyard in France. Since there were no high-quality land available in France for foreigners, Dorli decided to head to Italy and acquired 10 hectares of uncultivated land in Maremma. Around the same time, however, he met another wine guru, Dirk van der Niepoort, and moved to Portugal in 2000. However, sharing life between a PR agency in Austria, an Italian wine project and a Portuguese family was impossible, so the Maremma project was allowed to stay. Living in Portugal, Dorli soon realized that he was interested in fresh wine styles, which was not possible to make in the Douro. So he headed back to his native Carnuntum, where he had inherited his grandmother's 0.17 hectare plot of land from the Ried Roterd vineyard in 1920. When they got married in 2002, Dorli and Dirk also saw the vineyards on the Spitzerberg hill for the first time, recognized the potential of the place, and decided to try winemaking in the area. The first year's production was only 500 bottles, as the idea was to make wine only for own consumption. A small garage was rented for the purpose of winemaking, where only minimal, necessary for production was found: a press, fermentation vessels and oak barrels. Own consumption soon became too small as production volumes increased, and today Dorli has 7 own and 5 leased hectares, all located on the south-facing slopes of Spitzerberg. 10 ha are dedicated to Blaufränkisch, 1 hectare to Syrah and other experimental varieties, and 1 hectare to white grapes. Dorli is a big fan of old vines, and some of his orchards produce only 1000 kg of grapes per hectare, which yields only about 600 bottles of finished wine.

Harvesting is always done by hand, and most of the time Dorli collects his grapes before other producers in the area. The grapes are already selected in the orchards, so no sorting table is used. The farm's wines are made using simple and traditional methods. The grapes are handled gently and the skins are not macerated strongly. Whole bunches ferment spontaneously in open containers, and some of the grapes are crushed with feet for a couple of hours so that the stems and seeds of the grapes do not break. The wines are already pressed during the fermentation stage, which avoids excessive extraction of tannins and color from the skins of the grapes. The wines are matured in large, mainly Austrian oak barrels instead of the traditional 225-liter barrique barrels. Steel tanks are used only in the mixing phase of the wines, as the reductive nature of Blaufränkisch benefits from the oxygen provided by the barrels. Wines are never clarified and only filtered if necessary. Sulfur dioxide is only added during bottling. The wine style focuses on bringing out the special terroir of the region and the freshness and elegance of Blaufränkisch without jam-like ripeness.

Until 2007, Dorli was responsible for the winemaking himself, but today the local winemaker Lukas Brandstätter works as the cellar master, who also receives consulting help from Dirk if necessary. In the summer of 2019, Dorli decided to take over the entire farm, so on August 1st the name of the farm changed to Weingut Dorli Muhr. At the same time, he bought a small house in Prellenkirchen near his farms, where all the wines will be made in the future. The estate is now a member of the Österreichische Traditionsweingüter, and as of 2017 Spitzerberg 2017 is an Erste Lage classified wine. From 2018, the entire farm's production is certified organic.

The farm's annual production is around 40,000 bottles, of which Blaufränkisch covers 75%.

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