Hipster Alert: Rotgipfler the New It Grape

Move aside Hondarribi Zuri (of Txakolina fame), there's a new grape in town. We were in New York City last week for a wedding and the 2006 Stadlmann Rotgipfler was one of the wines flowing freely. The newlyweds are serious foodies so their choice of the latest, coolest and most obscure grape variety wasn’t too much of a surprise. It’s on all the coolest wine lists: Terrior, WD-50 and sold at the coolest shops: Crush and Harlem Vintage. Still, I had never tried it before and as the President of the Wine Century Club that is practically dereliction of duty. So what is it like? OK, it was a wedding so I didn’t take notes but I remember it being very aromatic, minerally, grapefruit-citrus – almost like Gruner Veltliner – but more peachy and less peppery. In short, it was an excellent choice - well balanced, elegant but with lively enough acidity to make it food-friendly. Rotgipfler is also a fairly rare grape variety, with only 292 acres grown in its home in the Thermenregion of Austria and most likely the entire world. Fortunately, the obscurity factor now translates into the value factor with the Stadlmann going for about 15 to 20 bucks. http://www.stadlmann-wein.at

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  • Rotgipfler and its companion grape, Zierfandler, both from the Thermenregion are some of Austria’s hidden wine gems. Whether blended together (as they often are) or vinified separately, they are delicious and incredibly food-friendly wines. Last year I had a Zierfandler from Zierer of Gumpoldskirchen while dining at Wallse in New York. I started with a glass of it while waiting for my first course (a wonderful crab salad). I was about to order a Blaufrankisch to go with my duck main course when the bartender suggested I try the Zierfandler with it and poured me a little more to give it a try. A fabulous match! Like Gruner Veltliner, if not more so, Zierfandler and Rotgipfler can handle a variety of dishes as diverse as a delicate crab salad or a substantial duck. And they are also often made into dessert wines which are equally delicious.

    Paula Sindberg on
  • Thanks, Marcus but the big question is: have you had any Rotgipfler. This is essential imbibing for hipsters like yourself!

    Steve De Long on
  • Never thought of that.

    I now read something that says the “rot” comes from the colour of the Rotgipfler vine.

    Marcus on
  • That’s correct Docktor – it’s like Pinot gris where the grape is red but the wine is white.

    Steve on
  • Rot means red in German right? I guess it’s hip to be wry.

    Marcus on
  • Indeed, the name “Rotgipfler” refers to the red colouring of the vine’s bud in spring time. It’s the second autochthon grape variety in the Thermenregion “Zierfandler” that got its synonymic name “Spätrot” from the redish colouring of the grape skin (although it is white wine too). I understand that those names might lead to some confusion, but both are very traditional and old grape varieties exclusively grown in the Austrian Thermenregion, south of Vienna.
    If you wish to learn more about both wines, I will try to answer to your questions.

    Bernhard Stadlmann on

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