Pollerhof • Röschitz • Weinviertel

Poller is in Röschitz in the Weinviertel. The Weinviertel (Wine Quarter) is a somewhat nebulous area that covers most of the northeast corner of Austria. In it, there are islands of wine country, but it is not anything like the other regions. It’s a wonderful area to drive through, rural, even bucolic, and very peaceful. The gentle rolling hills, the brilliant fields of rape seed (for Canola oil), stands of trees, and rather broad vistas, make it a place I’d like to hunker down in, and just hang out, without telephone or television, a kind of temporary paradise. I suspect that in time it will be further subdivided. Poller is not far from a number of other very good wineries, such as Zull, whose wines I have always admired, and often carried. This is an area where good values can be found, but there is a lot of ambition as well.

The Pollers clearly are interested in making more than just ‘good value’. This is another winery I visited in the autumn of 2005, and loved, though I didn’t think the time was quite right. It certainly is now. Pollerhof is located way up north, not far from the Czech border, in rolling hill country. The little town of Röschitz seems more a farm town than a wine town, though there is a Winzergasse, where the winery is, and a very narrow Kellergasse, where the old cellar is, and where I have tasted the wines. The little building looks out over some of Erwin’s vineyards and to the hills where the best vineyards are. It is wonderfully pastoral and seemingly remote from the greater world of wine. But this is deceptive. There is a small stage at one end of the room, and plays and readings are put on in the summer. Erwin’s companion, Matäa, works at Bründlmayer, drives in every day to Langenlois, about ¾ of an hour or so. So this little winery is pretty well connected, and for me is almost ideal.

The estate has been around in one form or another since the beginning of the 20th Century. Beginning in 2005 Pollerhof began to work organically and will be certified in abiout 5 years. Erwin has managed it since 1992. It is now about 15 hectares. White wine is the main thing here: Grüner Veltliner, Gelber Muskateller, Malvasia (here known as Frühroter Veltliner), Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Welschriesling, Rivaner, and Sauvignon Blanc round out an impressive collection. In red, there is Zweigelt, Blauburger (this is not Pinot Noir, but a very different, and quite delicious grape), along with small quantities of Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Blauer Portugieser. In all, this is a winery with many treasures. I was too late to get anything other than Veltliners and a little bit of the Blauburger, but that, I’m sure, will change.

Adding to the interest of the winery is the package. You’ll get a kick out of the label, which shows, if I remember correctly, Erwin’s grandfather, or possibly great grandfather, standing outside of his Weinstube in the early part of the 20th Century. Add to that the decision to use glass corks for most of the wines, and you have that typical Austrian mix of extreme modernity and an almost folksy traditionalism. A close inspection of the vineyards showed interesting soil, and the sensitivity to pay attention to it. In fact, this was probably my most enjoyable visit: interesting country, lovely people, an invitation, which sadly I had to take a rain check on, to the local brew pub, (beer is a very good idea after a day of wine tasting) and really splendid wines at more than fair prices ? what more could one ask?