Hogl Bruck Riesling Smaragd 2005, 750 mlfrom Hogl (View all)
FROM ANDREA IMMER ROBINSON, FOR HER A-LIST WINE CLUB (definitely worth checking out):
‚?¶now Im a believer! Download the Monkees on your iTunes or pop in your Shrek soundtrack before you pop this cork. For many of the students at my recent Weekend Immersion wine course, tasting this wine was the revelation about Riesling for which I was hoping. (For those of you who were there, you know that we just happened to have the music cued and ready to play during that epiphany moment.) Part 1 of the revelation was that the wine was dry, yet amazingly fruity. It is often hard for people, when tasting Riesling, to separate the fruity ripe taste from the perception of sugariness. Pairing the wine with food did the trick, and that was Part 2 of the Riesling revelation. This wine, which already is beautiful on its own, absolutely transforms with food. In this case we paired it with quite a few different dishes, but some of the highlights were a spring roll with a spicy dipping sauce, and with a goat cheese salad.
My point in sharing this is to make sure that you enjoy this wine paired with food. If you like it, Id recommend it as a strong contender for your white wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. It is that flexible, and certainly special enough for such an important foodie, family holiday.
If you have not had Austrian wines before, the surprise for many is that they are nearly always very dry, and deeply concentrated in flavor without in any way being heavy. There is no oak to obscure the incredible quince, pear, starfruit and lemon curd flavors, and the steely, petrol-y minerality. Once paired with food the wine fills out, becoming creamier, richer and a little smoky. The finish is long and tangy, with a creamy sensation like buttermilk or lemon yogurt. It was a resounding success with nearly all of my wine students, and I bet it will be with you, too. Since I write a wine column for Eating Well, I took inspiration from one of their Weeknight Meals columns to create this recipe, which really makes the most of the wines flavor and complexity. If you do not cook, I suggest serving the wine with a soft creamy cheese, such as Saint-Andre.
|Wine Enthusiast||92 - “I had a slight preference for Hogl’s less expensive Loibner Vision Riesling Smaragd, but you can’t go wrong with this one either. Thick, viscous and full-bodied, it’s richly fruited but minerally as well, marrying diesel and smoke notes with orange and tangerine flavors. Long and spicy on the finish.”|
|Falstaff Wine Guide||92 - “In the nose still a little retrained, Stone fruit. On the palate stoffig, mineraly. Subtle mandarin fruit, strict acid structure, good length, will profit from aging. ”|
|IWC||91 - “Pale green-yellow. Initially shy nose exudes some stone fruit nuances with aeration. Compact and tight, with delicate mandarin orange flavor supported by pronounced flint and slate minerality. This promising, persistent wine will benefit from further bottle maturation.”|
|Wine & Spirits||93 - “This wine’s ripe citrus and stone-fruit flavors seem to exist only as a vehicle for transmission of terroir, expressed as a savory, flinty stoniness that resonates with a pungent and profound aroma. It’s a demanding wine, bass-driven in tone and forcefully intense in its minerality. Decant it now, or cellar it for ten years before opening.”|
|Wine Plus||84 - “Tart vegetal nose with green tobacco, some apples and melon, mineral notes and delicate vegetal notes. Vegetal with yellow fruit, tart mineral notes and tobacco, elegant acidity, quite creamy on the palate, some tannins and light bitter notes, slightly rustic style, delicate tart note, slightly astringent on an otherwise attractive finish.”|
|Jancis Robinson||18 - “Flint, matchstick, smoke and citrus. Already very developed, with notes of brie on the finish and a unctuous mouthfeel with a fantastically integrated mineral and fruit character.”|
|Bottle size (ml)||750 ml|
|Residual Sugar||6.6 g/l|
|Cellar potential||now to 2018|
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We find ourselves now deep in the Spitzer Graben, the valley where the Spitzerbach runs, which is too frequently bypassed by tourists enjoying an outing on or along the Danube.
Josef Högl, the best-known winegrower in the valley, calls it for this reason “the forgotten Wachau.”
Högl adds with a wry smile, “Everybody goes up and down the river or the highway, but only a few folks get lost and find their way to us.”
Some 100 hectares, a solid third of Spitz’s total plantings, are located in the Graben, and this expanse of terraces spreads itself out quite impressively on the hillsides.
Since the glen runs East-West from Spitz to Viessling, the vineyards enjoy a full South-Southwest exposure.
Josef Högl continues, “The Spitzer Graben is different from the rest of the Wachau. Not too far away from the Danube, but still different.” It is the coolest terroir in the noble district.
Here there is very little wind: the easterly breezes don’t make it into the Graben, and the frequently mentioned mountain-winds from Jauerling and the Waldviertel are clearly noticeable only in summer. The sun warms this small valley quite readily, but does so without drying things out.
The grapes require a lot of time to ripen, which makes for particular and finely-developed aromatics. In the warmer years, the cool nature of the place is in no way a disadvantage—the vines can regenerate themselves better from the heat-stress of the day.
The Wachau is one of 8 "sub-areas" in Lower Austria. The other 7 are Kremstal, Kamptal, Danubelands, Traisental, Carnuntum, Weinvertel, and Thermenregion. Calling this region "lower Austria" may seem counter-intuitive to most. The four main wine regions of Austria are all in the eastern half of the country, and lower Austria is the northernmost. One generally equates "North" with "upper", but not here. The explanation given is that it has to do with altitude and not latitude. Of course, while it is at a lower altitude than Styria and Vienna, it is not as low as Burgenland. Go figure.
The Wachau is perhaps the best known of the 8 sub-regions. There are 3500 acres of vines, mostly Gr?ner Veltliner and Riesling, planted in a soil of weathered primary rock, granite and slate on the steeply terraced vineyards above and sand and loess on the slope of the hills below. The area also grows Neuburger, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, M?ller-Thurgau and Chardonnay. The regional association "Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus" acts as a kind of DOC police for this area, labeling the wines under three classifications: Steinfeder (light, young and racy), Federspiel (elegant and with body), and Smaragd (very ripe and powerful). "Smaragd" literally means emerald, and is a reference to the color of the small lizards that run amok in the vines here. For more specifics on these classifications, see types of wines.
The Wachau's proximity to the Danube, which winds lazily past like some great fat serpent, adds to the amazing beauty of this place. In the spring the steep rising hills are a lush bright green and the apricot trees blossom madly. In the fall these hills seem almost ablaze with the turning leaves of the vineyards.