Surdyk’s has had a strong Austrian wine selection for a very long time, and while selections ebb and flow we will always try to show the best of what the country offers. Somehow, despite all the variety over the years, it had been a very long time since there was a wine from Eisenberg, a region in the Südburgenland with iron-rich soils that specializes in red wines using Blaüfrankisch. This is an exciting region of discovery for me, personally, since some of the most dynamic wines of Austria right now are, in my opinion, in Burgenland and Styria in the east/southeast. There are very few Styrian wines available in Minnesota, but I’m working to change that! The Wallner family is an anomaly in the Schützen, where most producers own less than five hectares; they own a whopping eight. Gerhard Wallner is a traditionalist and works with virtually no technology, using large repaired barrels for fermentation and élevage and racking/filtering with gravity and technique rather than pumps and filter pads. He holds the wines before release to allow them to settle into themselves, so to speak, so the 2019 we’re featuring is current. The wine is supremely classic and elegantly balanced, medium bodied and showing the black raspberry and underripe fig notes that dominate the reds of Burgenland. White pepper and fresh herbs add complexity over this finely crafted wine. This wine may become the benchmark for Blaüfrankish in the store, and I can’t wait to see what the coming vintages show. Enjoy!