Monday, March 31, 2008

Some 2006 Austrian Rieslings and Gruner veltliners

Considered one of the best vintages in recent memory, 2006 in Austria apparently really delivered the goods, especially for Riesling and Gruner Veltliner. So far, I have really enjoyed many of these wines; at their best they are more pristine, mineral, vivid wines than '05 (which is no slouch on its own), and have more heft and flavor intensity than '04. And of course they are infinitely tastier than the '03's. My only gripe is that gruVe, even in as successful a vintage as 2006, just comes across the palate with too much spice, too much power for this particular imbiber. Some wines, some notes:

2006 Weingut Schmelz Gruner Veltliner Pichl Point Federspiel

Round and supple, yet retaining a tart apple crunchiness. Simple. Tasty.

2006 Summerer Gruner Veltliner Steinhaus
Very mineral, slightly creamy, with a delicate citrus and sorrel flavor. Quite enjoyable, a bit more so than the Schmelz.

2006 Nigl Gruner Veltliner Privat

From old vines, this is obviously a good deal weightier and spicier. Juicy pear and white pepper. Juicy, ripe, spicy. Long. Terrific wine that needs several years to come together.

2006 Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Vom Urgestein

Juicy and so, so clean. This is a blend of younger vines from the grand cru Heilegestein and Gaisberg sites. Each produces great Riesling on their own, and here the combination of the two sites makes interesting wine indeed. Yellow stonefruit, mineral, acidity are really balanced and super tasty. I like it now, but 3 years from now would be when I would drink more. Can't say enough good things about the wines at Schloss Gobelsburg.

2006 Wenzel Furmint

Very aromatic in an autumnal, orchard sort of way. Squeaky clean, racy, and Pinot Blanc like. The vagueness in this note doesn't properly convey how much I really enjoyed this wine.

[Note: the following trio from Donabaum were tasted three days after they were first opened]
2006 Weingut Donabaum Wachauer Bergterrassen Riesling Federspiel
Ripe, yellow plum and hints of orange blossom on the nose. Very mineral, firm and nervy. Meyer lemons on the palate. Tasty, well-integrated acidity. Delicious federspiel.

2006 Weingut Donabaum Setzburg Riesling Smaragd

A red apple and banana nose leads to a creamy, fat, viscous palate with some ripe peach as well. A bit hot on the finish. I should note that I generally am tougher on the higher alcohol Smaragd wines - I usually prefer the Feds, at least at this early point in their development.

2006 Weingut Donabaum Johan Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Wacha
Spicy. Arugula and lemon flavors are a bit plodding and heavy. Slightly astringent on the finish.

[Note: these three from Weingut Gritsch were also tasted on day 3]

2006 Gritsch Kalmuck Gruner Veltliner Wachau
Really good weight, texture and spice on this guy, especially considering its retail of $12.99. Ripe melons on the nose leads to yellow stone fruits lentil and spice. Serious mid-weight white for cheap.

2006 Gritsch Gruner Veltliner Singerriedel Federspiel
While I liked the Kalmuck for its surprising weight and depth of flavor, I think the same attributes detracted from this Federspiel. It was a fat, no, an obese fed. No cut, no clean minerality. Unfocused and not very well balanced.

2006 Gritsch Singerriedel Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
Heavier, smokier nose than the above. Hot - the 14.5% alcohol unfortunately really shows on this gruVe.

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