Face the Faction
Faction /ˈfakʃ(ə)n/ noun; a blend of fact and fiction.
Bertholdi, Mechthild, Joshuari, Timotheus, Josephine, Theodora; three generations of the fictitious Gut Oggau family, but with such detailed backstories and personality traits behind the characterful wines they represent (definitely worth sourcing a copy of their family tree for an entertaining read), could art perhaps imitate life somewhere in the Austrian town of Oggau am Neusiedler See..?
Fiktive Familie aside, here are die Fakten: Gut Oggau was established by Eduard Tscheppe and Stephanie Tscheppe-Eselböck in 2007 when the couple began to painstakingly restore a 17th century winery in Burgenland. The 92 year old former owner had left the winery's vines abandoned for the 20 preceding years. Restoring the original 200-year-old screw press for use was not the only environmentally-minded choice the young couple made; for the vines, the 20-year period of neglect was fortunate, as it allowed for all pesticide and chemical treatments to be washed away, and for the Tscheppes to begin a conversion to biodynamic farming, soon becoming Demeter-certified.
Stephanie and Eduard focus on quality as a permanent quest. Their aim is to achieve a natural vine balance and process the grapes as gently as possible, allowing them to make the best use of their vineyard's strength. Their 13 hectares of vines are spread across dozens of tiny vineyards. Each of these sites are vinified separately and then either bottled as a single site or blended to create a complex field Gemichter. When Stephanie and Eduard began working with the wines in the cellar, they noticed that each wine seemed so alive with its own personality.
These personalities lead to the crafted labels centred on the personality inside each bottle and as such, the Gut Oggau family was born. The generations range in complexity and longevity, from the energetic and spirited children, the bolder parents with presence and power, and the single-vineyard mature vines that give Bertholdi and Mechthild their grandness.
Meet the family and put a face to the domäne hier.
Valued Jewels of the Barossa
Michael Hall, not to be confused with the Hill, lived a previous life surrounded by glamour as a jewellery valuer. From London's Bond St, to Sotheby's in Switzerland, expensive jewels sparkled in front of him, but despite their dazzling allure, it was the nearby old world wine regions that truly captured his attention, and his heart.
Michael left the elite circles to become a student on the other side of the world. He enrolled in a wine science degree in Wagga Wagga's CSU, and graduated as dux in 2005. With some predigree in his choice of vintages between Australia and France (Cullen, Giaconda, Henschke, Shaw and Smith, Coldstream Hills, Veritas, Domaine Leflaive, Meo-Camuzet, Vieux Telegraphe and Trevallon), his meticulous attention to details honed from his years looking for purity in rocks was seemlessly translated to his skills as a winemaker.
Michael makes his wines as "thoughtfully produced wines, which provoke thought". They are all small batch, and made with passive interventions. His entry level Sang de Pigeon range gets its name from his jewellery-valuation days; "blood of the pigeon" the grade given to the reddest of red rubies.
It was the Flaxman Valley of the Eden Valley that was truly Michael's gold that glistered. This site inspired him to make a home in South Australia, and his Syrah from this site goes back to his inaugural vintage in 2007. The 2018 is balances with a tight line of acidity and a texture like no other. However if you are up for a little more decadence, try the Mount Torrens for its rich, gamey flavours. Delicious.
Grade the collection of bijoux for yourself here.