F.X. Pichler Riesling Durnsteiner Kellerberg Smaragd 2018


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“The 2018 Ried Kellerberg Riesling Smaragd opens with an intensely fruity but coolish, piquant and spicy bouquet of crushed stones, potted ginger and other veggies. Very clear and precise. Lush and intense on the palate, with a remarkably vivacious acidity, this is a dense and concentrated, quite rich and fleshy but refined and very elegant as well as refreshing Kellerberg with good phenolic grip on the finish. Tasted at the domain in September 2019. Drink: 2020-2040. 94 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)