Browse Tag


The extinction of the Auchs

Auchs 2006 Zweigelt (Burgenland) – When Austrian reds are performing at their best, and when the producer can resist the urge to cake on makeup, their aromatics are utterly enticing. Here, there’s herbs, dried flowers…perhaps even a touch of licorice? The palate starts out similarly dark, but then the crispness and zip come through, and it finishes lighter and cleaner than the nose would suggest. Tasty wine, though I think it would be even better with food. (5/08)

Faith, Höpler & charity

[bottle]Höpler 2006 Grüner Veltliner (Burgenland) – Sharply appealing green; a puppy leaping and lapping at your ankles, eager to please and full of simple demands. There’s good clarity here, if not a lot of focus, and among bargain grüners that get beyond the acrid white pepper stage, this is a good wine. Don’t let it play amongst the big boys, though. (2/08)

Nigl nose pliers

[label]Nigl 1997 Grüner Veltliner “Alte Reben” (Kremstal) – Ripe celery salt is present, as is Mandarin orange, but what dominates is dense salinity. An egg-white texture turns pillowy on the finish. It’s very ripe, and there’s a touch of heat to go along with a momentary fire of whole white peppercorns. Leafy and sizzling, and while the initial sensation is appealing, it’s pretty tiresome to drink. (1/08)


[bottle]Hofer “Zirbenz” Stone Pine Liqueur of the Alps (Steiermark) – Yes, it smells like pine. Less like fresh pine and more like running pine sap, but pine nonetheless. Later, it warms to fresh pine furniture in a pristine showroom, or perhaps an aromatic pine log on a fire in a wood-hewn winter cabin. Smoke and a touch of cidery molasses dot the finish, but mostly this is about that warming, fascinating pine. Absolutely fascinating. (1/08)


[vineyard]Hirtzberger 2005 Grüner Veltliner Rotes Tor “Smaragd” (Wachau) – This practically sizzles with energy. It’s a little confused right now, writhing and snarling rather than cohering and calming – maybe they should have called it meerkat veltliner – with stream-washed stones and well-salted ripe white asparagus. Perhaps a touch of celery soda, but it’s not dominant. There’s weight, but it impresses randomly…that meerkat thing again…and there’s also length aplenty, so I have few fears about this wine’s future. But it needs time. (12/07)

[ried klaus]Jamek 2000 Riesling Ried Klaus “Smaragd” (Kamptal) – Wind-blown iron, with the metallic dust giving way to creamy decadence. Yet it’s light, too, with sandpaper etching away at the finish. There are signs of full maturity here, though I wouldn’t bet the farm on that. (10/07)

[label]Markowitsch 2005 Blaufränkisch Spitzerberg (Carnuntum) – The wood treatment here is grossly out of place, turning what might otherwise have been succulent red fruit into a coconut bar drink from some tropic isle. I’d call it a waste of good fruit, but it’s impossible to learn much about the fruit at all. So I’ll have to settle for calling it a waste. (11/07)

Pretterebner 2004 Blauer Portugieser (Weinland) – Subtle. There’s a hint of red fruit here, a soft bed of earth there, a dash of floral aroma and a pinch of sprightly acidity…it dances, it eludes, it teases, but it refuses to settle down. As a result, it’s hard to get a handle on this wine. One moment it’s pleasant, the next dull, and then it’s gently complex. The light brown earth component eventually proves the most frequent of the teases, but what ultimately makes this wine compelling is less its inherent qualities as its refusal to be captured. (11/07)

Sing a song

[label]Laurenz V “Laruenz und Sophie” 2005 “Singing” Grüner Veltliner (Austria) – Very light and mildly pétillant, with white pepper and celery seed. In other words, classic old grüner of the quaffing type. For me, this isn’t a grape that gets interesting until it has received some patience and attention, but on the other hand I suppose I’d rather drink this than cheap chardonnay. (8/07)

TN: Grassy knoll

Knoll 2000 Loibner Grüner Veltliner Beerenauslese (Wachau) – A bit of an asymptotic sugar-bomb (that is, the kind of powerfully sweet wine that tastes much like another sweet wine), though there are some defining elements: sour white asparagus cream, a hollow (in a good way) metallic edge, and a late-palate dusting of some sort of drying, powdery substance (not white pepper…maybe flour?) that adds some necessary definition to an otherwise opaque wall of dessertdom. I should also note that the wine appears virtually unoxidizeable; four days in an open glass don’t diminish it a whit. Very good, but note the caveats behind that assessment. (2/07)