The Plachen - worth every effort!

Where the name comes from is, as with so many Rust vineyards, in the dark - the local site nomenclature is too old. A"Plocha"is colloquially the name for a tarpaulin - in this case it cannot be explained conclusively. It is much more likely that the name derives from the"plague",the hardship, since, as is well known, the Plachen is a considerably loamy site which favours the cultivation of Blaufränkisch grapes.

In classical agronomy there is the expression"minutesoil" for a loamy soil which is too soft one day and too hard the next day for easy cultivation. Well, it's not that bad, but the old ancestors used to say that in the lower part of the site Plachen"theplough doesn't clean itself properly" - and that's tedious! Here we are talking about the third large terrace/level of the Rust Wine Hills. The dry stone wall, which defined the lake-side"place"(=end), was partly piled higher than necessary - for whatever reason.

The effect is still noticable today. The raised wall held back the erosion-prone earth well and the"Suttn"(depression)was filled with fine earth over the centuries. Thus, an"artificial"layer of clay was created on top of the local"RusterSchotter"(gravel).

About 20 million years ago, a mighty river ran from Sopron/Ödenburg towards the Baden Basin, and at the level of today's Rust, that watercourse made its way through a landscape of slate rock. The plate-shaped slate was strongly rounded off by the water transport and often took the form of very large, coarse gravel.

At some point the river disappeared and the area it flowed through no longer came under a sea surface. As a result, there is no lime at all in the Plachen, which by itself would be welcome in Blaufränkisch.

In comparison to the surrounding sites Turner, Kulm, Kraxner and Geyerumriss, the Plachen is predominantly planted with Blaufränkisch vines; this is due to the clay which is known to prolong the vegetation period and thus strengthen the fruit.

The Plachen features several curves or bends, an unmistakable sign of an old vineyard that has been worked much longer by horse or by hand than since the 60s with tractors. The plots are sometimes very asymmetrical and curved, because the classification and appreciation of the plots used to depend on where on a slope the running off thunderstorm water just made its way. Those areas where no water flowed and took soil with it were the more valuable plots. A simple but conclusive explanation why the rows of vines are sweeping down the slope. It is precisely this gentle slope in the Plachen that points exactly east to the lake and the striking Rust Bay. In the Plachen, the Triebaumers cultivate several plots, including 0.7 hectares of Blaufränkisch, divided between two parcels. Both of them were planted in 1987 with grafting material from the old Pandkräftn, at that time the top Blaufränkisch of the winery. It represents the complete embodiment of what is so highly valued in Rust in the main grape variety Blaufränkisch: early flowering and therefore very prone to trickle, best physiological ripening facilities and a fiery finish. 22.5 and 23 °KMW(=112-115 °Oechsle) are not uncommon.

Plachen and Nebbiolo

In the plot of land to the south, father Paul Triebaumer back then planted 250 vines of Nebbiolo, which he had obtained from Elio Altare in La Morra in Piedmont. From today's point of view the soil is too fertile for Nebbiolo, but of course it was a pioneering act! A special permit has been granted by the Burgenland provincial government.

With the triangular, long grapes, grape splitting is essential, but that is why this late-ripening variety also thrives in Rust latitudes. The grapes, for which a special experimental permit from 1993 is available, are processed separately in some years, but mostly blended into the cuveé"WideWorld".

Land purchase yesterday and today

For this property parcel also exists a purchase contract dated March 26,1926, when great-grandfather Johann Feiler and his wife Pauline bought the property("Plachenriedweingarten")for 5,500 Austrian shillings from Mrs. Ludovika Stodolny, née Ecker, professor's wife from Sopron/Ödenburg.

The revenue stamp shows 10,000 crowns, the purchase price was already stated in the then new currency. On March 27, 1926, the contract, which was signed in Ödenburg, at that time already Sopron, for another 10,000 Hungarian corona, and notarized by Dr. Gallers Sandor, went to the Eisenstadt tax office. There, the legal force of the contract was recognised as early as 21 December 1927(80Hungarian fillers), in order to be promptly approved by the Land Transfer Commission on 7 February 1928. This was followed on 2 March, barely 2 years after the conclusion of the contract, by cadastral registration by the Eisenstadt District Court. Today, this would certainly take one or two weeks less.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Paul and Waltraud Triebaumer acquired the Plachen from the godfather"HansOnkel" Johann Feiler, one of the brothers of grandmother(Groszi)Theresia Triebaumer, née Feiler, in life annuity.

This model of sale and transfer, which was quite common at the time, meant that the buyers had to pay the sellers an increased rent until the end of their lives, and then, in the event of the death of the seller(s), the plot of land was transferred into the possession of the buyers without further costs. The vineyards from the early 1960s, which were already getting on in years, consisted of a Neuburger-dominated blending system, which until 1983 always produced a late harvest, in line with the market requirements of that time. It was here that Günter Triebaumer, still a young man, got to know the manual foliage work, in the course of which he erroneously tipped off the shoots of the neighbouring vineyard with his"Abgipfelschwert"home-made out of a scythe leaf.

Following the 1983 harvest, the desolate vineyard was cleared and used for farming over the years. The barley, fodder beet, potatoes and maize harvests served as animal feed for the then still practised mixed farming for self-sufficiency.

"Hans Onkel" was in fact an honorary master butcher, with whom Father Paul received a butcher's apprenticeship(withoutfinal examination) over the winters in the early 1960s. Equipped with these distinctive skills, the extended family celebrated a rather original Burgenland"Sautanz"at least twice a year.

The really varied and tasty products of the home slaughtering made the Triebaumers very popular members of the Rust associations(malechoral society, voluntary fire brigade), and not only for this reason.

Blaufränkisch material selection Triebaumer

The planting in 1987 was still done traditionally with a spade. Sweaty, but sustainable. Since a young plant(inRust"aKräftl" from"kräftnen"= to plant out) should be kept largely weed-free anyway, the brave Triebaumers planted onions, garlic and potatoes between the individual rows, which were also looked after during"scheren"= weeding. Today it is proven that onion and garlic plants keep the field hares from eating the young vines.

The above-mentioned early-flowering"oldRust Blaufränkisch material" is one of the most important treasures of the estate, and the Blaufränkisch Plachen remains the mother vineyard for all other Blaufränkisch plants in the winery. Within the family, this gene pool corresponds in meaning to what prehistoric men equated with the possession of fire.

The few vines of Leányka = Mädchentraube = Feteasca alba(Girlgrape = Feteasca alba) that grow in the vineyard are considered a special reassurance that the right grape material is propagated.

In the vegetationless winter this old white vine, which was often found in Rust before the times of the phylloxera disease, looks like a perfectly grown Blaufränkisch vine.

The grafter, who heads for the most beautiful vines for the purpose of propagation, is almost magnetically attracted by the Leányka. In the second year, the ampelographically experienced vine grower can discern the difference to the Blaufränkisch leaf. And in the third year, the year of the first, small yield of a young vineyard, even the layman will notice that here and there a long white grape shines out among the loose-berried Blaufränkisch vines.

Those"cuckoo'seggs" are soon torn out, but the purpose is already fulfilled. Such a coincidence is only possible from the ancestral mother vineyard.

Until the company was taken over in 2004, Paul Triebaumer grafted all the vines himself. With the rapid growth of the vineyard areas and in the absence of such a"greenthumb", new plantings were outsourced to professional vine propagation companies. And there the"Leánykagene marker" plays a decisive role. So far, this clever method has always worked perfectly.

In one sentence: The good Plachen is well worth every effort!

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