Intra! The Wild
The word Kolfok has its origins in a regional dialect and describes a person, critical to common thoughts — an unconventional thinker.
Winemaker and Kolfok in chief Stefan Wellanschitz was born into winemaking at the family’s estate in Neckenmarkt, a winery that dates back to the early 19th century, to a time when this part of Burgenland was still Hungarian and not Austrian.
While still also working at the family’s estate, Stefan decided to launch his own wines back in 2013, wines that are a clear deviation from the family’s more traditional style, towards natural winemaking and a purist low-tech approach that would highlight soils and micro-climate, aka terroir.
Some parts of the vineyards are directly at the border of Hungary, especially the town Neckenmarkt shows a unique combination of alpine soils and Pannonian climate. In the middle of the Oedenburger Valley, Neckenmarkt is located at a relatively high altitude, the vineyards are up to 500 meters above sea level with a smorgasbord of soils coming into play. In the higher parts soils range from schist, gneiss to limestone, and in the lower vineyards from ferrous loam to volcanic clay.
Says Stefan: “I want to show those exceptional conditions in my wines. That’s why I work naturally both in the vineyards and in the cellar. To prevent monoculture the vines are growing organically together with other herbs and plants. In the cellar it’s very easy – the wine leaves the press without the use of pumps into local oak barrels which can be from 600 liters (Halbstueck) to 1200 liters (Stueck), this is where the stays without fining, moving or even sulfuring. At the optimum time, they are bottled unfiltered with minimal addition of sulfur.”
Stefan Wellanschitz likes the phenolic notes of skin-fermented wines but was looking for a way to preserve the wine’s elegance. He achieved just that with intracellular fermentation. The intact grapes rest in a large fermentation vessel where native yeasts slowly start the fermentation process inside of the berries, leading to a gentler extraction of the skins. After nine weeks the grapes were pressed and finished primary and secondary fermentation in 1100 and 1500 Liter used Stockinger oak barrels. Here at Winemonger we truly love this wine. Tasted blind, one would readily suspect a skin-fermented wine, but the wine’s clear appearance makes these phenolic notes a surprise to the uninitiated. A gem of creative winemaking by someone who understands the craft intuitively.