Tiefenbrunner | Alto Adige
Founded in 1848, the Tiefenbrunner Castel Turmhof Winery owes its name to the ancient castle known today as the home of the Tiefenbrunner family. The winery is in the hamlet Entiklar, in the town of Kurtatsch, which is in the South Tyrolean province of Bozen amid the awe-inspiring Italian Alps. Tiefenbrunner produces a range of quality wines, and each bottle receives the attentive care of expert winemaker and owner, Christof Tiefenbrunner. Many international awards testify to the quality that results from their generations of experience, with the flagship of Tiefenbrunner being the Müller-Thurgau “Feldmarschall.”
Before the end of the 2nd World War, 15 year old Herbert Tiefenbrunner (1928-2015) started work as a wine-maker on the family estate and in 1968, he brought the operation into the modern era. Instead of selling barrels and demijons to local wine merchants, he began to bottle his wines and sell to a wider clientele of connoisseurs. The same year, his wife Hilde opened the Jausenstaution, a café serving Südtirolean specialities and the estate has since become a destination winery, with visitors walking off a good lunch accompanied by Tiefenbrunner wines with a tour of the beautiful castle, gardens and cellars.
In the 1980s, Herbert and Hilde’s son Christof and his wife Sabine took an increasingly decisive role in the estate. They took official full control in 2012, three years before Herbert passed away, but had effectively run the winemaking for at least a decade prior to that. Christof says, “The art of winemaking is a valuable element of our family identity. It is our daily responsibility to maintain and develop it further in a spirit of respect.” And it is that phrase “develop it further” which is important. The long family tradition has not stifled his experimentation. He has introduced new training systems for vines, as well matching grape varieties to the optimum soil type among the 25 hectares of the estate’s own vineyards (and 45 hectares of vineyards owned by growing partners who supply the winery).
One parcel of land where Christof has not considered changing grape variety, however, is that planted by his father in 1972, at 1,000m close to the walls of the Hofstatt estate on Fennberg - the highest plot of Müller-Thurgau grapes in Europe. This vineyard produces the spectacular Feldmarschall von Fenner zu Fennberg, named after the founder of the Austrian Kaiserjäger regiment in the 1890s (that history is impossible to escape), who used to spend his summers there. It is delicately coloured, generously aromatic and delicately structured with good acidity and an exciting mineral finish.
The rest of Tiefenbrunner’s single-variety wines are similarly characterised by finesse, elegance and freshness, but also concentrated flavours. The motto in the winery - agreed on by Christof and winemaker since 2007, Stephan Rohregger - is “Less is more”, allowing the grapes’ individuality to emerge with minimal intervention.