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