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F.X. Pichler Gruner Veltliner Reserve M Smaragd 2018

F.X. Pichler Gruner Veltliner Reserve M Smaragd 2018

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"From the latest harvest pass and the oldest vines, though no botrytis yet highly ripe and overripe grapes, the 2018 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd M is very concentrated and intense but clear and elegant on the slightly flinty nose. Sourced in the Kellerberg, Loibenberg Liebenberg and the terraced western part of the Kollmütz, this is a lush and rich, very intense yet elegant Veltliner with lots of power but also remarkable finesse and lingering salinity on the finish. Drinking this wine young is ridiculous and a waste of its talents and potential greatness. Although I don't know where the wine going from here I suppose it will develop very well over the next 10 years. The 2018, unlike the other Smaragd vines, was destemmed, macerated for up to 24 hours and 50% fermented in large (25 hectoliter) oak vats, and the lees were stirred once per month. Bottled in August 2019 and tasted at the domain in September. Drink: 2025-2050. 95 points

Except for the iconic Riesling Unendlich and the barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc Smaragd Grosse Reserve, Lucas Pichler produced the usual series of wines in 2018. The Riesling M, however, did not ferment to dry and was bottled as a halbtrocken reserve wine with 13 grams per liter of residual sugar. A highlight of the series is the 2017 Grüner Veltliner Unendlich, and the 2018 is also extremely promising. Both wines have the potential to reach the perfect score after some years. Bob would possibly have scored both wines up to 100 RP already, but I feel a little bit conservative here. Both wines are massive and exceed the usual dimensions, yet they still lack the finesse and elegance I adore.

Lucas Pichler also applied macerations in 2018 for structural reasons; however, he is noticing that the harvest window is becoming smaller and smaller with every year. "In warmer vineyards, such as the Loibenberg, it has become a challenge to keep our coolish, elegant and fruity wine style," he says. Initially, he opted for the Rieslings from 2018, but the farther the bottling moves, the better he likes the Veltliners. In fact, these are superb again, not only the Unendlich and the M but even in the Loibenberg and certainly the Kellerberg, which also delivered a great Riesling again. Like Alzinger, Pichler also produced a great Steinertal Riesling Smaragd in 2018."

Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)