Saturday, March 11, 2017

Domäne Wachau

Tasting the wines from the Domaene Wachau, in particular their Rieslings, is quite a different experience from tasting German Riesling. I will report on four wines from this large, high quality Austrian co-operative.

The two first Rieslings are from the 2015 vintage, which was warm in the Wachau, as in most parts of Europe. The white wines in the Wachau follow a three tiered system. The first is called Steinfeder. These are the lightest wines, early picked, with a maximum level of 11.5% alcohol. The second tier is called Federspiel, with 11.5-12.5% alcohol, and the third tier is the later picked Smaragd with >12.5% alcohol. These wines are still dry, but with bigger body and weight than the other two.

On to the tasting. The first wine is the 2015 Terassen Federspiel Riesling. The grapes come from the  highly regarded, higher elevation vineyards, which are situated on steep slopes leading to the Danube valley. This wine is very refreshing. The floral flavours are subdued, the fruit is not overt. The focus is on texture and minerality. This wine has benefitted from the warmer vintage. It has given the wine more body than normal. However, the wine is still quite linear, not complex, but rather delicate. I liked this wine a lot. In fact, it was my wine of the night (93/+++).

The 2015 Sinerriedel Smaragd Riesling is a single vineyard wine from the cooler western part of the Wachau. But as mentioned, 2015 was a warm year. This wine has a bigger body, and the wine is coating the mouth nicely. However, the wine is a bit broader and loses some definition before it comes to a smooth, prolonged finish. Again, texture is the main game for this good food wine (91/++).

Then there was the 2008 Kellerberg Smaragd Riesling, another single vineyard wine. This wine had aged quite a bit and showed toasted and quite earthy flavours on a fairly broad backbone. This wine did not do it for me (86/-).

Finally, a very rare mature Gruener Veltliner. Veltliner can age quite well, but it is mostly drunk young. Not many mature examples exist. The 2000 Kellerberg Smaragd Gruener Veltliner shows a lot of complexity. There are herbs, mint and truffle on the palate. This wine comes from a cool year. The wine is still fresh and elegant, with well integrated acidity - quite a revelation, and a great wine for many different foods (92/++).

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