Markus Altenberg "vom Kalk" Chardonnay 2017
Chardonnay is a rare creature in Burgenland, Austria. Balanced, high-scoring Chardonnay for under $20 is even more rare. Markus Altenberg has achieved it with this minerally "vom Kalk" Chardonnay.
Meaning "from chalk," this Chardonnay is a reflection of the ancient limestone, chalky soils deposited so long ago when dinosaurs roamed the planet. As Markus put is: “a couple of million years ago, the area around Jois looked like the Caribbean. The ocean creatures transformed themselves into what we know today as Leithakalk and that’s what gives the wines their minerality and salinity.”
His family has farmed here since the 1500s – truly astounding. He honors this centuries-long tradition by farming completely organically and fermenting the wines naturally in a combination of 500l neutral barrels and cement tank.
Salinity and minerality, as he emphasizes, are the themes here – the wine has a hint of tropicality to it with crushed rocks, lemon peel, green apple, and salt-lick electric acidity. Chablis meets Austria!
His wines, including this juicy overachiever, consistently get top awards (and plenty of 90+ points, if that's your thing). You won't find this anywhere else, and at an approachable $18/bottle it's a no-brainer!