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Pichler-Krutzler Riesling Pfaffenberg Alte Reben 2016

Pichler-Krutzler Riesling Pfaffenberg Alte Reben 2016

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"This old-vines bottling proves to be in a different league not just from its “regular” Pfaffenberg counterpart but indeed from all of the already admirable offerings that preceded it in Pichler and Krutzler’s vintage 2016 lineup. An intense nose of ripe white peach, pear and quince garlanded in freesia and lily-of-the-valley also offers intimations of the stoniness and mouthwatering salinity that follow on a luscious, billowingly perfume-laden, silken-textured and glossy palate. A piquant glow suggests the interface of peach kernel and almond serving for counterpoint and extension on a buoyant finish of prodigious length and mouthwatering salinity, transparent to a shimmering sense of crystalline stony impingement. Subtle sweetness is entirely supportive of the wine’s luscious fruit and enhances a sense of inner-mouth floral perfume while being nicely checked by its subtly bitter elements and efficacious acidity. “You can sense how this high-elevation, almost perpetually breezy site never risks its wine becoming as lavish and voluminous [üppig] as can happen with Loibenberg,” noted Elisabeth Pichler, adding that “these vines are not at all far away from those that inform our other Pfaffenberg Riesling, but are twice as old.” And with that age surely comes unique genetic diversity. Drinking window: 2018-2032. 95 points

Elisabeth Pichler and Erich Krutzler began their 2016 harvest on September 23, finishing in the first week of November. The crop here – in what was the couple’s first entirely organic outing – was not only surprisingly abundant for the vintage but also, according to Krutzler, rudely healthy. He nonetheless opted for gentle and in most instances immediate pressing, with the aim of optimizing clarity and achieving, in his words, “vertical, straight wines.” The approach proved a great success, very much aided by the proclivity of this ripening season to yield generously ripe flavors at substantially lower potential alcohol than did 2015. Pichler and Krutzler were concerned as usual to get their Rieslings into bottle in June or early July before the arrival of midsummer heat – which ended up arriving in spades in 2017. A bit of the Grüner Veltliner got bottled slightly later. (For details concerning this estate’s vineyards, practices and recent history, readers are invited to consult the extended introductions to my reports on its 2013 and 2014 collections.)"

David Schildknecht, Vinous (12/18)