Thursday, June 21, 2012

OMG! Smaragd!

Les stopped by the other night; we hadn't seen much of him or Kathy since Vinsite closed. It seems that shutting down a business takes as much effort as starting one. He brought a bottle that he said he'd sort of grabbed from the cellar without looking too closely. Lucky us, it was a Smaragd from F.X. Pichler. Pichler may be Austria's premier Riesling producer. As Mr. Parker so breathlessly put it: "…F.X. Pichler is the Chateau Latour, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Zind-Humbrecht, Sandrone and Helen Turley of the Wachau."

Franz-Xavier Pichler grows Riesling (as well as Gruner Veltliner, Gelber Muskateller, and Sauvignon Blanc) on 38 acres in the village of Oberloiben, which sits in a bend of the Donau, with the village of Durnstein to the west, and the town of Krems to the east. He follows the rules of the Codex Wachau, which demand a fairly serious non-internventionist approach to winemaking: No chaptalization, no additives, no reverse osmosis, etc.



 F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Hollerin Riesling Smaragd 2005: Opens with vivid aromas of rose petal, diesel, peach, apricot, and aromatic herbs. In the mouth, the texture is very rich, with intense flavors of cooked yellow fruit, a touch of gunflint, bright acidity cutting through the voluptuous texture, and an almost saline mineralic quality. The French would call it a vin du contemplation, we thought it was a total knockout, a wine that at once stimulated the intellect with its complexity and the senses with its out-and-out hedonistic aromas and flavors. Smaragd is the highest category of Austrian vineyards, reserved for the sunniest slopes.  “Smaragd” literally translates as “emerald-colored” and refers to a lizard that lives in these warmer vineyard sites. By law, the wines have a minimum 12.5% alcohol level, with a maximum of 9 grams/litre of residual sugar.

A denizen of the Wachau

1 comment:

albina N muro said...

Les stopped by the other night; we hadn't seen much of him or Kathy since Vinsite closed. It seems that shutting down a business takes as much effort as starting one. wine buy online