Tasting of 2016 Austrian Erste Lagen

On the 24th and 25th of August, I was very fortunate to be invited to take part in the tasting of 132 Erste Lagen wines at Schloss Grafenegg, organised each year by the Osterreichische Traditionsweinguter Association (OTW).

                                                                   Schloss Grafenegg    

The OTW was created in 1992 with the ambitious goal of establishing a vineyard classification along the Danube. For this, the association has put in place a system of analysis and evaluation taking into account different factors such as geology, history, climate, price on the market, results at blind tastings, consistency in quality and many more. Currently, only the regions of Kamptal, Kremstal, Traisental and Wagram have their vineyards evaluated.

In 2009, 53 sites were identified for the classification and in 2017 61 single vineyards (Rieden) are now classified as OTW Erste Lage

My thought on the 2016 Vintage:

When it comes to Gruner Veltliner, the vintage 2016 seems to offer wines with concentration, ripeness, intensity yet with a precise and clean acidity which was less marked in the rich and generous 2015 vintage. This year, many of the Gruner Veltliner wines have found balance through freshness and minerality. Few examples displayed the creamy and opulent texture often associated with this variety. The best Gruner Veltliner wines in 2016 can deliver power and generosity with a certain restraint, grace and a zesty acidity often interlaced with a saline minerality. Overall, the Gruner Veltliner quality is very consistent.

On the other hand, the gaps and differences in quality between Riesling wines is more notable. The 2016 Rieslings do not lack ripeness nor concentration. The presence of residual sugar is common to many wines and unfortunately the acid levels are not always there to support it. However, some examples are wonderfully balanced and will be enjoyable early for their gourmand, generous sweet fruit characters balanced by an elegant acidity. The best sites and producers have managed to create little gems, with plenty of energy and tension which will keep them alive for many years.

The wines below are the wines which, to my taste and opinion, performed the best during the tasting.

 

Kamptal Region

Gruner Veltliner, Gaisberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Hirsch, Kamptal, 2016 (91/100)
Mid-lemon colour with green tinges. Extremely bright. The nose is shy, with signs of reduction (flinty characters). After aeration, the wine starts showing its complexity with great depth and purity: ripe citrus fruits (orange, pink grapefruit, bergamot), lilies flowers, pebbly minerality. The palate is dry, with a sensation of great purity and plenty of tension for a GV. Stony mineral characters bringing depth and slight austere profile. Beautiful ripeness of flavours delivered with class. Cleansing finish with a mild astringent sensation. Retro-olfaction of ginger and verbena.
A wine with great depth, finesse and refinement. Ageing potential of 12-15 years. https://www.weingut-hirsch.at/en/

Gruner Veltliner, Gaisberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Birgit Eichinger, Kamptal, 2016 (91/100)
Bright and clear. Deep lemon colour with dark green tinges. The first impression on the nose is clean and delicate with some reduction (smoky/flinty) and some citrus peel characters. After aeration, the nose becomes more floral (lily of the valley, hawthorn) with some spicy nuances of ginger and cardamom. Very pretty and seductive nose. The palate is dry, structures but extremely lively for a GV. Super pebbly minerality giving a vertical dimension to the wine. Cristal like quality on the mid-palate. Long, savoury and saline finish.
This is a very complete wine with plenty of potential for ageing 10-15 year. http://www.weingut-eichinger.at/index.php/en/ 

Gruner Veltliner, Gaisberg 1ÖTW Alte Reben, Weingut Dolle, 2016, Kamptal (86/100)  Mid lemon colour with some green and silver tinges. Very bright. The nose is clean, a little bit confected but charming, expressing some aromas of William pears, lily of the valley, wet stone minerality, blossom and fresh vanilla. The palate is mildly off-dry with plenty of substance flesh, and ripe fruit flavours. The acidity is clean, balancing the richness of this wine in duo with a delicate, wet stone like minerality. The finish is long and savoury. This is a wine with a great concentration and depth which will age easily for 10-15 years. http://www.dolle.at/

Gruner Veltliner, Grub 1ÖTW, Weingut Hirsch, 2016, Kamptal (92/100)
Mid lemon colour with deep green tinges. Very bright. The nose is clean, youthful. A little reductive with some mild yeasty characters. After aeration, the wine reveals some aromas of rose, grapefruit, white pepper and cardamom. Very pure sensation with a pebbly mineral character. The palate is dry, firm and tense with a superb austere minerality. Great purity and energy. Integrated alcohol. Savoury finish with a spicy twist. Cleansing and saline. A beautiful expression of GV. Pure, complex with a restrained power. It will need a couple of years to start opening up but once it does it will develop for at least another 10-12 years.

Gruner Veltliner, Kaferberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Brundlmayer, 2016 (92/100)
Deep lemon colour with dark green tinges. The nose is clean, a little reductive with some flinty notes. After aeration, it reveals aromas of ripe Commice pears, Ylang-Ylang flower, green gage and white peaches. Nuances of green peppercorn. Racy and very pretty nose with great depth. The palate is dry with a superb acid balance interlaced with stony, austere minerality bringing vertical dimension to the wine. Integrated alcohol. Cristal clear sensation on the mid palate. Structure and power delivered with class. Mild astringency on the finish. A wine with a superb definition, complexity and depth. Ageing potential 12-15 years. Imported in Republic of Ireland by https://www.greenacres.ie/

Gruner Veltliner, Kaferberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Jurtschitsch, 2016 (88/100) Deep lemon colour with some dark green nuances. The nose is deep, with some very dark and smoky mineral characters and a hint of reduction. After aeration the nose opens up of vine peaches and blossom aromas and reveals a great purity. The palate is dry balanced by a superb acidity. The mid palate is firm, with a stony, austere minerality which brings a superb structure and depth to the wine. Beautiful ripeness of flavours. The finish is very herbal with a mild bitter twist and slight astringency bringing an extra dimension to the wine. This is a GV which needs some time and will not how to age gracefully. http://jurtschitsch.com/  Imported in Republic of Ireland by http://www.quintessentialwines.ie/

Gruner Veltliner, Lamm 1ÖTW, Weingut Brundlmayer, 2016 (95/100)
Mid gold colour with green tinges. Very bright. The nose is clean, healthy, racy and complex : toast, warm mineral characters, ripe vine peaches, apricot, very floral (violet, lily of the valley and jasmin). The palate is dry with an incredibly freshness and energy. High level of extremely austere and magnificent minerality bringing vertical and horizontal dimension to the wine. Great ripeness of fruit. Extreme tension and precision on the finish with savoury and slight fresh butter after taste. Absolutely superb. A wine to keep for the next 20 years.

Gruner Veltiner, Lamm 1ÖTW, Weingut Jurtschitsch, 2016 (90/100)
Mid Gold colour with green tinges, Very clear. The nose is clean, delicate and racy. Aromas of ripe pears and red apples. Notes of fresh vanilla pods, stone fruits (Mirabelle, nectarine), melon and delicate blossom. Pebbly mineral characters. Very pure sensation. The palate is dry with a really good acid backbone. Power with restrain. Darker minerality than on the nose. Very pure. Broad, structure yet a cristal quality. Exotic flavours. Extreme tension and precision on the finish. Savoury, touch butter. Superb

Gruner Veltliner, Lamm 1ÖTW, Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg, 2016 (85/100)        Deep lemon colour with some green tinges. The nose is clean, intense and deep with some aromas of fresh pears, vanilla pods, orchard blossom, fresh almonds, pineapple, and a chalky mineral character. The palate is mildly off-dry, broad and a touch creamy but balance by a good acid presence. A delicate textural minerality brings an extra lift to the wine. The finish is savoury with a biting bitterness bringing plenty of dimension. This a high quality, very classic style of GV with an ageing potential of 10-12 years. http://www.gobelsburg.at/en/    Imported in Republic of Ireland by http://winemason.ie/about/

Gruner Veltiner, Spiegel 1ÖTW, Weingut Brundlmayer, 2016 (91/100)
The nose is lean, perfumed, and ripe. Aromas of stone fruits, pineapple, melon, mimosa. Vanilla pods. Delicate, pure minerality. The palate is dry, lively with powerful minerality driving the wine. Great tension, precision, power and purity. Spicy and savoury with plenty of ripe apricot notes. Savoury finish, saline, beautiful. Great complexity, precision and potential.

Gruner Veltliner, Renner 1ÖTW, Weingut Hirsch, 2016 (87/100) Mid lemon colour with some green tinges. The nose is reductive, flinty with nuances of red apples, hawthorn, mint and a rocky mineral character. The palate is dry balanced by a refreshing acidity interlaced with an austere pebbly minerality driving the wine. The mid-palate reveals a beautiful maturity of fruit with plenty of crunchy characters. The finish is pure and precise with ginger twist and a mild astringency. This is a refined, pure and precise GV with a beautiful textural mineral characters. Drink within 8-10 years.

Gruner Veltliner, Schenkenbichl 1ÖTW, Weingut Hiedler, 2016 (87/100) Very bright mid gold colour with green tinges. The nose is clean, opened and ripe, expressing some tropical aromas of kiwi fruit, melon and pineapple. After aeration it reveals many more layers : pebbly minerality, lily of the forest, fresh pears and red apples. The palate is dry, supple a very good balancing acidity. The mid palate is silky, savoury with a marked pebbly minerality and plenty of sweet fruit flavours. The finish is very spicy and lingers with flavours of white pepper and ginger. This a wine expressing class and delicacy, Ageing potential of 8-10 years. https://www.hiedler.at/ Imported in Republic of Ireland by https://www.bbr.com/about/ireland

Gruner Veltliner, Schenkenbichl 1ÖTW, Weingut Jurtschitsch, 2016 (87/100)       Mid gold colour with green tinges. Very bright. The nose is clean, revealing some exotic fruit aromas of pineapple and kiwi, some flinty reductive notes, some citrus characters (grapefruit and lime) and a touch of jasmin. The palate is dry, lively, textural, dominated by an austere minerality. The mid palate is structured and powerful. The finish is clean, very direct some astringency and a pronounced saline character. The retro olfaction returns with citrus peels flavours. This is a very austere and structure style of GV which should age harmoniously for 10-15 years. 

Riesling, Gaisberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Birgit Eichinger, Kamptal 2016 (91/100)
Deep lemon colour with some green tinges. Very bright. The nose is clean, delicate, a little shy. Plenty of floral notes : honeysuckle, rose, peppery rose, jasmin, orange blossom. Touch reductive with some flinty characters. Presence of stone fruits and herbal notes. Very complex and perfumed. Dry, intense, powerful, structures, balanced by an energizing acidity. Beautiful ripness of flavours delivered with precision. Great mineral power driving the wine. Cleansing, saline finish.
A Riesling of excellent quality which will need 3-5 years to start revealing more of its potential. Ageing potential 12-15 years.

Riesling Gaisberg, 1ÖTW, Weingut Hirsch, Kamptal 2016 (94/100)
Clear, bright, deep lemon colour with green tinges. The nose is clean, intense, deep with some reductive characters. Aromas of lime, lemon, grapefruits, peppery rose, lavender and a herbal touch. Youthful but already offering a magical nose. The palate is dry, powerful, driven by a racy acidity interlaced with an austere minerality. The structure is lean yet deep. Extreme purity and precision. Beautiful. A wine with a sleeping power waiting to be unleashed with time. Ageing potential 15-20 years.

Riesling, Heiligenstein 1ÖTW, Weingut Brundlmayer, Kamptal 2016 (94/100) Deep lemon colour with green tinges. The nose is clean, extremely pure with great depth of aromas. Pronounced chalky minerality. Notes of reduction. Aromas of citrus fruits, herbal (ivy), white rose and ginger. The palate is dry, vibrant, with a textured minerality. The wine is powerful yet compact and austere. Extremely saline from mid palate to finish. A wine with great complexity, intensity and balance. Ageing potential 15-20 years.

NB : The Heiligenstin Alte reben and Lyra from Weingut Brundlmayer performed as well as the classic Heilligenstein.

Riesling, Heilingenstein 1ÖTW, Weingut Hiedler, 2016 (86/100) Mid gold colour with some gold tinges. The nose is clean, perfumed, complex and very spicy at first with some aromas of ginger, green peppercorn and star anis. After aeration the nose gives away floral notes of jasmin and rose petals and a touch of stony minerality. The palate is mildly off-dry balanced by a high level of acidity and driven by an austere minerality. The mid-palate combines structure, power and restrain to some succulent sweet fruit notes. The alcohol affirms itself slightly on the finish. This is a high quality wine which will need 4 to 5 years to start finding its harmony.

Riesling, Heilingenstein 1ÖTW, Weingut Hirsch, 2016 (88/100) Mid lemon colour with some green tinges. The nose is clean reductive and a little bready. After aeration it remains shy but shows a little more complexity with some sweet spices, yuzu and lime aromas coming through. The palate is dry, with a high level of acidity bringing a superb energy to that wine. The palate is very precise, saline and dominated by an austere minerality. The finish is tight and focus with a laser like quality and precision. The retro-olfaction lingers on savoury and iodine notes. This a super classy wine with a great potential for ageing.

Riesling, Heiligenstein 1ÖTW, Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg, 2016 (87/100) Mid gold colour with some green tinges and a beautiful luminosity. The nose is clean, pure and perfumed revealing some exotic aromas of pineapple and litchis, some floral aromas of rose buds, a touch of ginger and some dark mineral notes. The palate is dry and is balanced between restrained power, high acidity and austere minerality. The finish is tight and firm. This is a beautiful Riesling with many years ahead of it. 

Riesling, Seeberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Fred Loimer, 2016 (86/100) Mid gold colour with gold nuances. The nose is clean, opened and ripe expressing some aromas of warm green gage plums, kombu seaweed, lily of the valley, apricot a touch of iodine minerality. It is very seductive nose. The palate is dry with plenty of sweet fruit flavours balanced by a superb acidity. The mid palate is broad and fleshy. The finish tapers off, tightened by the extremely focused acidity. It lingers with saline notes and sweet stone fruits. This a really loveable style of Riesling. Very enjoyable from now but should develop for another 8-10 years. http://loimer.at/en/ Imported in Republic of Ireland by http://lecaveau.ie/

 

Kremstal Region 

Gruner Veltliner, Pellingen 1ÖTW, Weingut Nigl, 2016 (87/100) Mid lemon colour with some green tinges. The nose is opened, with a good complexity : exotic, wet stone, rocky minerality, blossom, fresh vanilla and a touch of fresh butter. The palate is dry, rounded, ripe and gourmand with some sweet fruit characters. The acidity is fresh and interlaced with a precise stony minerality. The finish is savoury. This is a muscly yet very drinkable style of GV with a very good ageing potential. https://www.weingutnigl.at/en/ 

Gruner Veltliner, Thurnerberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Turk, 2016 (85/100) Mid lemon colour with gold tinges. The nose is clean, delicate and nuanced, revealing some aromas of red apples, vanilla pods, fresh almonds, spring blossom and talc powder. The palate is dry, pure, balanced by a chiselled acidity. The mid palate is silky, with some sweet fruit flavours and some stony mineral characters. The finish is herbal and spicy (ginger) with a mild astringent sensation. This is a very good and polished style with a good potential for ageing. https://www.weinguttuerk.at/ Imported in Republic of Ireland by https://www.whelehanswines.ie/

Riesling, Pellingen 1ÖTW, Weingut Nigl, 2016 (88/100) Deep lemon colour with green tinges. The nose is pure, ripe an tropical with some aromas of melon and papaya. With aeration, it reveals more layers with some honey, hummus, confit apricot and an earthy mineral character. The palate is dry, rich and rounded with a fleshy and generous texture bringing lots of gourmandise. Despite this generosity the wine remains balanced thanks to a high level of energising acidity and a very unique earthy, hummus like mineral character. The finish is savoury and spicy. This is an excellent wine which combines ripeness, depth and concentration. Good ageing potential. 

Riesling, Steinbuhel 1ÖTW, Weingut Malat, 2016 (85/100) Very bright pale gold colour with some green and silver tinges. The nose is clean, delicate with a little bit of reduction (flinty notes), some citrus aromas and sensation of great purity. The palate is dry, racy, energetic and elegant. The mid palate is lean, precise and very saline. This is a very good Riesling wine that should start opening up a little more in the next 2-3 years and should the mature for another 8-10 years. Imported in Ireland by https://www.tindalwine.com/

Riesling, Watchberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Turk, 2016 (85/100) Deep lemon colour with some green tinges. The nose is pure and perfumed : spicy, talc powder, white peach, blossom and rose buds. The palate is dry, very delicate and silky with a superb acid balance. Some subtle chalky mineral notes punctuate this super refined palate. The finish lingers on spices and herbal flavours. This a high quality , classy Riesling wine which can be enjoyed for the next 7-10 years. 

 

Traisental Region 

Gruner Veltliner, Zwirch 1ÖTW, Weingut Markus Huber, 2016 (84/100) Mid lemon colour with some gold tinges. The nose is clean, delicate, floral and chalky with some aromas of lavender and red apples. The palate is dry with a crunchy sweet fruit character (green gage plums and apricot) balanced by a good acid support and some textural minerality. The alcohol is integrated. The finish is long and saline. Balanced, attractive and with good potential for ageing. Drink from now and for the next 6-8 years. http://www.weingut-huber.at/en/ Imported in Republic of Ireland by http://www.winelab.ie/

Gruner Veltliner, Zwirch 1ÖTW, Weingut Ludwig Neumayer, 2016 (86/100) Pale lemon colour with some silver tinges. The nose is shy, delicately perfumed and pure, revealing some aromas of rose, talc powder, lemon peel and fresh pear. The palate is off-dry, light elegant, lean and delicate. The acidity is medium yet refreshing and is interlaced with a fine chalky minerality. The finish is long, savoury, with a mild astringency. The retro-olfaction returns on notes of sweet plums and spices. This a high quality wine in a delicate and subtle style. http://www.weinvomstein.at/en/index.htm

Riesling, Rothenbart 1ÖTW, Weingut Ludwig Neumayer 2016 (88/100) Mid gold colour with gold tinges. The nose is perfumed, pretty and delicate, expressing some aromas of peony rose, green fruits and talc powder. The palate is dry, very delicate, refreshing with the presence of a powdery minerality driving the wine to an extremely cleansing finish. This is an extremely classy and feminine style of Riesling with a touch of austerity brought by the textured minerality. Start drinking in 2 -3 years and should be enjoyable for the next 10-12 years. 

 

Wagram

Gruner Veltliner, Morthal 1ÖTW, Weingut Fritsch 2016 (86/100) Mid lemon colour with green tinges. The nose is clean, mineral, floral with plenty of herbal notes. After aeration, it reveals more complexity : hummus, wet minerals, gentian, fruit stone and green anise. It is a racy and intriguing nose. The palate is dry, elegant, silky and super classy. A delicate acidity together with a beautiful wet stone minerality balance the wine. The mid palate to the finish is filled with gourmand fruit flavours of plums and apricot. This a beautifully layered wine showing great elegance and a good potential for ageing (8-10 years). http://www.fritsch.cc/

Gruner Veltliner, Schlossberg 1ÖTW, Weingut Fritsch 2016 (85/100) Deep lemon colour with green tinges. The nose is quite reduced to start with. After aeration is opens up a little on aromas of star anise, citrus and flowers. The palate is dry, elegant, creamy balanced by a delicate acidity and an earthy minerality. The mid palate is savoury, showing great depth, purity and balance despite the rich texture. The alcohol is integrated. This a high quality wine which will hold for 10-12 years. 

Gruner Veltliner, Spiegel 1ÖTW, Weingut Bernhard Ott 2016 (89/100) Deep lemon colour with green tinges. The nose is clean, delicate, slightly confected but very pretty. It expresses some aromas of pear, rose, lemon, ripe stone fruits and a great mineral purity. The palate is dry, elegant, pure , balanced by a medium level of acidity and a superb saline minerality. The mid palate is lean and silky. The finish is savoury with a twist of spice and a beautiful saline sensation. This is a high quality wine demonstrating great depth and purity delivered with finesse. Drink from now and within 10-12 years. http://www.ott.at/ Imported in Republic of Ireland by https://www.vinostito.com/

Thank for you for reading ! Let’s keep on Tasting, Discovering and Sharing!


 

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