Angerhof Tschida is the winery of Hans Tschida in Illmitz, a small town on the east side of the Neusiedler Lake in the Burgenland region. On an area of 14 hectares Hans grows dessert wine from the white varietals Welschriesling, Chardonnay, Scheurebe, Muscat Ottonel, Traminer and Pinot Blanc, and the red varietals Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The micro climate of the region around the town of Illmitz, called the Seewinkel, is influenced by its many ankle deep ponds and lakes and the warm Pannobile winds, and is unique in providing the humidity needed to produce the "healthy" fungus botrytis cinerea (aka Noble Rot) almost every year. In fact, some of Hans Tschida's vineyards are literally surrounded by water.
Because of this perfect climatic situation, nearly the entire harvest is made into dessert wines. These cover the entire range of Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Ice Wine and, notably, the lesser know Schilfwein. This last type is a particular favorite of Hans Tschida.
Schilfwein is crafted by laying the grapes out to dry on mats of woven reeds, which have been collected from along the shores of the Neusiedler lake. Hans tells the story of how his grandparents would dry their grapes in the attic, where high temperatures would provide for faster evaporation of the grape's water content and thus concentrate the sugar. Nowadays a tunnel made from transparent vinyl does the job and provides not only more space than the attic, but also much needed protection from beasts and bugs.
Hans Tschida strives to express the unique fruit character of each varietal. The production method of Schilfwein, as well as the one for making Ice Wine, is perfectly suited at achieving this goal because the grapes are not affected by noble rot, so the fruit is not "smudged" by notes of botrytis.
Many might disagree with the negative connotation of "smudged", as botrytis lend the beautifully heady, earthy bread notes to a sweet wine that make them a coveted delicacy. But it is certainly true that the fruit characteristics are somewhat muted, overwhelmed and, well, smudged when botrytis enters the equation.
Hans Tschida's style is one of purity. He strives to produce wines that follow a single idea which is set by the varietal character, not the winemaker. Hans battles nature (including rogue starling birds who can "harvest" a vineyard in under an hour) as well as vinification processes to protect this varietal character all the way into the glass. In the case of Schilfwein and Ice Wine this means hard and consistent work in the vineyards to achieve optimal balance between physiological ripeness and sugar levels at harvest, rigorous avoidance of any type of botrytis, precise temperatures at harvest, ultra careful pressing of the grapes and so forth.