Showing 1–12 of 40 results

  • Brundlmayer Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein 2019

    £31.99

    “Sandstone.

    The fruit is just one aspect to the aroma here. There is also a smoky/stony, almost reductive, quality. Extreme freshness, piercing finish but balanced at a modest alcohol level in this vintage. Long, direct, pure, revealing both the site and the variety. Drink: 2024-2034. 17.5 points”

    Julia Harding, JancisRobinson.com (10/20)

    In Stock

  • Brundlmayer Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein Alte Reben 2018

    £67.99

    “From vines planted between the 1920s and 1960s, the 2018 Riesling Zöbinger Ried Heiligenstein Alte Reben 1ÖTW offers a spectacular, deep and concentrated yet clear, refined and spicy bouquet of crushed stones, herbs, coffee beans and ripe bright fruits with notes of fresh lemon juice. This is a great mix of mineral purity and finesse with complexity and freshness on both nose and palate! The mouth is dense and complex, crystalline, refined and salty; the character is coolish, elegant and compact, with great precision and intensity; and the firm structure is mineral/phenolic. This old-vines Heiligenstein is a spectacular amalgam of finesse, mineral purity, crushed salts and lemons. Very long and full of promises. 13% alcohol. I tasted this several times last year: at Schloss Grafenegg, at the domain in September and over several days and from different glasses in October. Try the Zalto Universal or the corresponding glass from the Josephinenhütte. Drink: 2025-2065. 97+ points

    Sometimes you need two tries to discover the greatness of a vintage. My first encounter with Willi Bründlmayer’s 2018 Erste Lage wines at Schloss Grafenegg was pretty disappointing. So, I took the chance and met up with him and his estate manager Andreas Wickhoff MW, who also has a significant impact on the viticulture, harvest and winemaking. In the end, I spent several hours in the domain in Langenlois and tasted a wide range of wines, not only the white 2018s but also older vintages of the Heiligenstein, which is one of the greatest Riesling sites on planet wine for me. In fact, you won’t discover the full potential of Bründlmayer’s 2018 Heiligenstein selections if you don’t take all the time you need and they deserve. In the end, however, you will see that there is most probably no better combination of vintage and winemaker for the Heiligenstein history than Bründlmayer’s 2018s. These are world-class white wines, and they spurred me to re-taste all the other 2018 Heiligenstein Rieslings I could get the other day. And yes, there was a gap, and the gap was huge.

    In 2018, the harvest began earlier than ever before at Bründlmayer, on August 20 for sparkling wine. The average temperature of the vintage was two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 30-year average and, after 2003, the hottest year since record-keeping began. Nevertheless, heavy rainfall on the first and second of September (with 70 liters of precipitation per square meter in Langenlois) forced Bründlmayer to make rigorous selections when harvesting Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. The Grüner Veltliner, on the other hand, was grateful for the urgently needed water and, in addition to sugar and strength, for a broad spectrum of aromas. The Veltliners then ripened very quickly, after they had already reached an average of 95° Oechsle at the end of August, so Bründlmayer had to prioritize the different locations. The thick-skinned Riesling, on the other hand, was still able to hang on, especially since it had not yet developed any intense fruit aromas in September. Although it was decimated after the rain, it nevertheless built up a “beautiful” botrytis, which led to a Heiligenstein “Essenz” Trockenbeerenauslese that I haven’t tasted yet and which had to be bottled with more than 400 grams of residual sugar—at 6.5% alcohol and a total acidity of about 19 grams per liter! Nevertheless, at Bründlmayer, they still left the Veltliner hanging, in the Ried Lamm, for example, for another four weeks. “The must weights went down again after the rain and then only increased slowly and, at some point, not at all, but probably aromatically,” Willi Bründlmayer explains. At 40 hectoliters per hectare, the average yield was also not very high for the Veltliner, whereas the Riesling was more generous.

    But back to the three Heiligenstein selections, of which the Lyra and even more so the Old Vines selections are nothing less than spectacular. The most popular with the public is the classic version Kamptal, of which 7,000 bottles were filled. Of the two Kamptal Reserve Selections Lyra and Alte Reben, however, there are only 2,500 bottles each, which is something to look out for if you are a Riesling aficionado. To be on the safe side, I would like to mention again that Bründlmayer has not been using botrytis berries for dry wines since 2013. Botrytis is always selected, either negatively (i.e., thrown to the ground) or positively, for sweet wine. Especially for Andreas Wickhoff, 2018 is a Riesling year not only chez Bründlmayer but also along the Danube River. This is already proven by the cooler Steinmassel, which was harvested on October 17th, one week after the Lyra and the Alte Reben from the Heiligenstein. “The Lyra plot is slowly reaching an interesting age,” Wickhoff thinks. Willi Bründlmayer planted the vineyard in 1979 with the Lyra trellising, which is unusual here in Austria. Actually, the Lyra and the Alte Reben were supposed to come together for the first time in 2018 for a single reserve Heiligenstein, but Wickhoff did not allow this to happen: “Out of the question,” he cries, weeks after the decision was made and a few days after the bottling in August 2019. “Both wines are completely different and do not go together. For me, the 2018 is the best interpretation of the Alte Reben Selection for 10 or even 20 years. The acidity is completely present and all components play together harmoniously. Even if it is completely closed at the moment, I know exactly where the journey is heading here. One day we will have a huge drinking flow.””

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Gruner Veltliner Ried Schutt Smaragd 2018

    £49.99

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Gruner Veltliner Vinothekfullung Smaragd 2018

    £67.99

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Riesling Ried Kellerberg Smaragd 2012

    £49.99

    “More immediate lemon fruit on the nose than for the Schütt Smaragd, then fine-grained, savoury, stony character on the palate. Embryonically sour and intense, unyielding at the moment but full of promise. Drink: 2017-2025. 17.5 points”

    Julia Harding, JancisRobinson.com (03/14)

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Selection 2018

    £54.99

    “The 2018 Steiner Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Selection is pure, fresh and herbal on the pure and flinty nose. On the palate, this is a round, rich and quite powerful Riesling with remarkable intensity, grip and mineral tension. The finish is long and complex and promises good aging potential. Tasted at the domain in September 2019. Drink: 2022-2034. 92 points

    2018 is better than we initially thought, if you like to summarize our findings in just one sentence,” says Emmerich Knoll senior, before we tasted through a lineup of the most recent vintage. “In spite of the dry weather and the early harvest, our wines are much less abundant and, due to their low acidity, less broad than, for example, the wines of the 2011 vintage,” which he describes as “above all powerful and broad-shouldered but neither fine nor elegant.” He concluded his commentary by diplomatically saying, “Okay, we wouldn’t have had anything against a little more acidity in 2018, but we don’t miss it either.” He also finds that even Grüner Veltliner doesn’t have phenolic acidity, and he’s not even sure that Riesling will be ahead in 2018. The response in the press and among customers is balanced with regard to this question, he reports. “Certainly, however, nobody would have thought that the Grüner Veltliner would at least be able to stand up to Riesling.” Knoll senior sees 2018 as similar to 2017 and, from the distance, to 2013 and 1992. Yet, unless asked, he does not tend to compare vintages anyway, since the character of the wine is more controlled in vinification today than in the past. In 2017, the weather changed earlier, at the end of August, but in 2018, it changed in September, in the middle of the harvest.

    At Knoll, the 2018 harvest began at the beginning of September, and it was “anything but simple, actually rather complicated,” says the senior Knoll. Rot problems had already set in at the end of August, and this made sharp selections necessary and forced rapid processing at temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). At Knoll, too, the hot midday and afternoon hours were omitted. The mash was cooled and then went into fermentation clearer than usual, simply to prevent a too stormy fermentation. Also, the pressing process was much gentler than usual due to the rising pH values. “The harvest was large enough,” says Knoll pragmatically. The maceration times, if they took place at all, were also kept very short, even for the Gelber Muskateller, so as not to compromise its elegance and lightness. Emmy Knoll junior, who finished tasting with me, reported that in warm vintages such as 2018, it was important to slow down ripeness, especially for Grüner Veltliner, through higher yields. He was quite happy with the result, yet I wasn’t. To be honest, I was quite disappointed by Knoll’s Grüner Veltliners, which I found somewhat diluted and not expressive at all. Luckily, I tasted some of the Smaragd wines again in early December in a blind tasting in London, and I liked them much better then. However, I am still not convinced the Grüner Veltliners can compete with the Rieslings here in 2018. The future will reveal if I simply missed the right moment for these wines or if Knoll perhaps harvested too many Veltliner grapes in 2018. The vintage was generous by nature anyway. My favorites of the 2018 vintage are the Riesling Smaragd Ried Schütt (as it is almost all of the time, but especially in warm vintages because the winds coming down from the creek cool the grapes), the Riesling Smaragd Vinothekfüllung and the Loibner Muskateller Smaragd.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Riesling Ried Schutt Smaragd 2012

    £54.99

    “Captivating bouquet of vineyard peach, apricot blossom and wild spices. Juicy lime and passion fruit flavors are highlighted by crushed minerals and framed by crystal-clear, highly refreshing acidity. A wine with excellent inner balance; vibrant stone fruits dominate the appetizingly long finish. Arguably the finest of the rieslings here. 93 points

    Emmerich Knoll is one not only one of grand old men of the Austrian wine scene, he is also one of the most humble. The winery is still in a quiet side street of the village that the family calls home. The only thing here that might strike some people as ostentatious is the label, but perhaps only because, in its own baroque way, it is one of the most old-fashioned. Today, two of Knoll’s children, Emmerich and August, work their 17 hectares of vineyard with him, but for most collectors his face is synonymous with the estate. Although he has some stainless steel tanks, most of the winemaking is as traditional as the label, done in large oak casks. Both father and sons are very pleased with the past two vintages, each of which was warm and relatively dry and had little or no botrytis. “The 2012s are not quite so alcoholic, though,” said Knoll Sr., “because the ripeness levels did not soar at the end of harvest as they did in 2011.” As his coveted Vinothekfüllung is produced from overripe grapes, the question of richness in a given wine is one that each consumer must answer for himself. I generally prefer the more structured Schütt, which he indicates is always the wine that is sold out first. You can also find more mature wines, though, in his uncle’s restaurant across the road, which is one of the best places to eat in the Wachau. As the finest wines were only bottled in August, many of the 2012s below were tasted from cask.”

    Joel Payne, Vinous (12/13)

    In Stock

  • F.X. Pichler Gruner Veltliner Durnsteiner Kellerberg Smaragd 2012

    £84.95

    “The Pichlers’ 2012 Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Kellerberg boasts a luscious pear and apple fruit fundament backed by a lush, glycerol-rich texture, with complementary overtones of honeysuckle and lily of the valley perfume. Yet for all of the richness my aforementioned description implies, this also boasts a remarkable sense of primary juiciness as well as lift, leading to a finish of refined, polished, succulent length, stimulatingly suffused with crushed stone and pungent Szechuan pepper. As another demonstration of how important is the character of an individual vineyard in ways that can’t be captured analytically, this wine is well over 14% in alcohol despite its buoyancy, whereas the corresponding Liebenberg at 13.5% reminds you of its alcohol and lacks levity. “One factor,” observes Lucas Pichler “is that Kellerberg is in the shadow after mid-afternoon while Liebenberg gets sun well into the evening.” Plan to follow this Kellerberg through at least 2025.Drink: 2014-2025. 94 points

    “In recent years,” notes Lucas Pichler, “we’ve been harvesting a little earlier in order to depress the alcohol levels a bit,” which in 2012 meant among other things beginning with Gruner Veltliner Federspiel already in the third week of September. After what I had tasted thus far of the vintage, I was amazed to find the Rieslings here in aggregate even finer than the Gruner Veltliners, a pattern that was to be dramatically accentuated at nearby Alzinger. (I did not get chance on my most recent visit to catch-up with Pichlers’ Sauvignon Blanc from this vintage.)”

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (212)

    In Stock

  • F.X. Pichler Gruner Veltliner Reserve M Smaragd 2019

    £78.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • F.X. Pichler Riesling Durnsteiner Kellerberg Smaragd 2012

    £84.95

    “The Pichlers’ 2012 Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg delivers an enormous concentration of lusciously rich, sweetly ripe white peach, Persian melon, grapefruit and pineapple, mingled with almond cream, blond tobacco and Szechuan pepper. Bittersweet iris perfume wafts throughout this magnificent performance, while the superbly sustained finish introduces a cyanic intensity of fruit pit whose bitterness is tamed and stimulatingly integrated thanks to sheer generosity of fruit and inner-mouth perfume. There were some shriveled berries here, notes Lucas Pichler, which no doubt contribute to the sense of opulence not to mention of sheer ripeness; yet there is only 13.5% alcohol. Plan to follow this beauty through at least 2025. Drink: 2014-2025. 95 points

    “In recent years,” notes Lucas Pichler, “we’ve been harvesting a little earlier in order to depress the alcohol levels a bit,” which in 2012 meant among other things beginning with Gruner Veltliner Federspiel already in the third week of September. After what I had tasted thus far of the vintage, I was amazed to find the Rieslings here in aggregate even finer than the Gruner Veltliners, a pattern that was to be dramatically accentuated at nearby Alzinger. (I did not get chance on my most recent visit to catch-up with Pichlers’ Sauvignon Blanc from this vintage.)”

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (212)

    In Stock

  • Maria & Sepp Muster Graf Sauvignon 2018

    £32.99

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Maria & Sepp Muster Graf Zweigelt 2015

    £36.99

    Review to follow

    In Stock