Romans ready to conquer the unbelievers

27 June, 2008

Roman Pfaffl and his wife Adelheid started out

in 1978 with just 0.7ha of vineyards. Like many of their neighbours in Stetten , north of Vienna, they had 20ha of mixed agricultural land plus cows, pigs and chickens. But Roman decided to focus on wine, and set about expanding the

vineyards.

Today the family business spans 70ha - huge for Austria - in the Weinviertel DAC and across the border in Vienna, producing wines mainly from indigenous grapes. Winemaker Roman Jr plans to increase the whites' share from 65% to 70%, in line with European drinking trends.

Like many Austrian producers, Pfaffl is all about terroir - typically bone-dry, primary fruit-filled wines speak of the very different soils they are grown in. The flagship Grüner Veltliners are made to be peppery and spicy, with citrus and sometimes stone fruit notes. Haidviertel 2007, grown on stony flysch sandstone soils at the edge of the Alps, shows smoky minerality and zesty lemon and lime, while Goldjoch 2006, grown in deep sandy loess soils and aged in big acacia wood barrels, has hints of honey, spice, lemon and orange that make it perfect for spicy Asian dishes.

"We've only been in the English market for exactly one year now, and I'm surprised how quickly we've found a foothold," says Roman Sr.

Website: pfaffl.at

UK importer: Astrum Wine Cellars

020 8870 5252




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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