Tasting Note: Knoll 1998 Loibenberg Gruener Veltliner

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1. Introduction:
A colorful label with the votive painting of Saint Urban, the patron of winemakers, created by Siegfried Stoitzner in the 1960´s, indicates one of Austria´s most famous wineries: Knoll.
Knoll´s Gruener Veltliner vines in the exceptional Loibenberg vineyard grow in terrace cultivation on weathered gneissic rock (“gneiss”).
Since the 1986 release the term “Smaragd” marks the highest quality level of Wachau wines with at least 12,5% alcohol, which are traditionally made and fully fermented.
Only grapes which have reached full physiological ripeness are allowed – actually some winemakers welcome even a little portion of botrytis 😉
Our 1998 Loibner Grüner Veltliner has aged gracefully.
Bottle and cork are flawless. 13,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Bright Golden- Yellow.

3. Nose:
Decent aromas of (dried) Stonefruit and some Grapefruit.
Smoky Minerality and Crushed Rocks.
Multi-layered and diverse aromatics of Fresh Herbs (Lemon Balm!), Shaved Parmesan and Honey (-liqueur).
Harmonious, soft and of great complexity!

4. Taste:
Fine flavors of Stone- and Tropical Fruits; mostly Grapefruit and Peach (-nectar).
Soft Herbal Spiciness and Parmesan Cheese. Traces of Salt.
Vital, but Filigree Acidity and Fine Minerality.
Long and harmonious finish with little Pepper and Anise Spicyness.
Alive, while comforting with soft texture and very finely spun layers.
Amazing finesse!

5. Opinion:
Refinement, Elegance, Balance and impressive Complexity come together in an exciting wine, which is definitely setting the benchmark for Grüner Veltliner not only in Austria!
While already nicely integrated, the 1998 Loibner Veltliner is still in perfect shape for many years of development.
Impressive!

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Terraced vineyards right on the banks of the Danube in the Wachau.

Tasting Note: Claus Preisinger 2012 Grüner Veltliner

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1. Introduction:
The 2012 GV is already the third wine out of Claus Preisinger´s exciting current portfolio we taste at this point. It´s an unorthodox wine in many ways.
Fermented spontaneously and for 14 days on its stems and skins, before it went into an old, large barrel. Bottled unfiltered and unsulphurated.
The fruit originates from the Western Banks of the Neusiedler Lake – while most of his other vineyards and the winery are on the opposite side – from about 45 year old vines in the “Edelgraben” site with its mineral, slate and lime soils.
Bottle, wax capsule and cork are flawless. ~13,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Bright, deep golden-yellow. Intense colors, with a little blurriness.

3. Nose:
Powerful aromas of Smoke and Flintstone.
Exciting Mineral and Salty characters come with little Yellow Fruits, Orange Zest and Citrus.
Herbal Spiciness, Fresh Eucalypt in a Soft and Sweet cloud of Lavander and Honey.
Powerful and rich, but complex and sophisticated!

4. Taste:
Again dominant Smoke and Flintstone with fantastic Minerality and Vital Acidity.
Ripe Stonefruit, even Must, and Citrus. Saltiness of Old Cheese (?).
Medical, Arnica-like flavors.
Intense, very long finish with Fruit, Spiciness and Acidity.
Densely structured, rich, round and multi-layered. Excellent!

5. Opinion:
A highly distinct and extraordinary wine with power and exciting complexity, which reminds me of “Old School” Riesling from the Rheingau appellation, similar to the style of P.J. Kühn today, where fruit only plays the underpart as herbal and rocky characters lead.
Extremely diverse, but harmonious with a creamy mouthfeel.
Finally, I´m not sure about the potential. It drinks great now, but – since the wine is unfiltered, raw and bottled without any sulfur – I have little doubt regarding a positive development over (many) years.
Furthermore, the ripe fruit flavors and especially the traces of must on the palate create doubt about the wine´s aging ability, but I´ll give it a try anyway 🙂

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(photo by rotweissrot.de)

Tasting Austria´s Best Whites

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CellarTV attended a tasting of some of Austria´s best white wines last Friday.
Three to four samples of each of the four major white varietals, Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, were sampled.

Here are my brief tasting notes and impressions about the Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines:

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1. Grüner Veltliner:
FX Pichler, Wachau – 2012 Kellerberg, Smaragd:
Bright green-yellow. Intense aromas of ripe yellow fruits (citrus, apple), melon.
Floral characters. Hints of Cheese and Nuts. Powerful, but elegant and soft.
Decent sweetness and present acidity. Great potential!

Jamek, Wachau – 2012 Achleiten, Federspiel:
Pale green-yellow. Firestony and smoky forward. Little apple and apricot.
Surprisingly creamy palate with more fruit (apples, pears).
Nice minerality and spiciness.

Gritsch, Wachau – 2012 Singerriedel, Smaragd:
Bright green-golden yellow. Powerful aromas of exotic fruits and apples.
Delicate floral notes and spices. Finishes long with fruit, minerality and little pepper.
Harmonious, complex and able to make a stand against Pichler´s Kellerberg.
This was the surpise of the evening. Fantastic wine!

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Prager, Wachau – 2007 Achleiten, Smaragd:
Golden yellow with green tint. Beautiful integrated round and complex!
Exotic fruits and Minerality. Great play of fruit, soft acidity and spiciness.
Long finish. Wine of the evening!

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2. Heiligenstein Riesling:
Schloss Gobelsburg – 2011 Heiligenstein:
Green-yellow. Floral aromas come with tropical fruits. Flintstone.
Good texture and stone fruit-driven palate. Solid acidity backbone and long, juicy finish. Nice!

Jurtschitsch – 2011 Heiligenstein Alte Reben (Old Vines)
Bright greenish-yellow. Beautiful nose with grapefruit, pineapples and honey.
Herbal characters. Complex flavors of yellow fruit, acidity and herbal spiciness.
Finishes very long with fruit and softness. This wine has potential!

Bründlmayer – 2011 Heiligenstein Alte Reben (Old Vines)
Vibrant green-yellow. Stone fruit and pineapple aromas. Hints of Flintstone.
Dense and powerful flavors of exotic fruit, beautiful minerality and solid, filigree acidity. Complex and long. The winning Riesling with great future potential!

P.S. With all three Rieslings coming from the same sandstone soils of the Heiligenstein vineyard (respectively sub-appelation), it was exciting to see how different the wines showed in the glass.
While soil still is one of the most important factors in the complex interplay of “Terroir” in my opinion, it really became obvious that microclimate and winemaking are able to create a significant difference!