Hogl Loibner Vision Riesling Smaragd 2007, 750 mlfrom Hogl (View all)
From the website of the Vinea Wachau association of winemakers: The Pannonian climate reaches in to the Wachau from the east. From the heights of the Dunkelstein forest situated south of the Danube as well as from Waldviertel, bordering the Wachau in the north; a colder, moister and well-aired climate passes on to the small dale of the Wachau. This ensures almost constant air circulation, thereby influencing the development of the bouquet. The climate along with the mainly primary rock soils marks the characteristic notes of wines made from grapes grown in this area. The soil is the second secret of the Wachau. Weathered primary rock (especially ranker on silicate and felsbraun soil) at the terraces, further down the slopes you find small isles of loess and light, sandy soils. The cultivation of vines goes up to 450m above sea level, which means 250m above the Danube river. Aside from rigorous thinning out, the vines on the terraces are mainly responsible for the good reputation of Wachau wines, by giving them their charm, their taste consistency and the clear bouquet of the grapes.
|Wine Spectator||92 - “Finely chiseled, with plenty of stone and mineral flavors that are backed up by green peach and crunchy apple flavors. The long finish is filled with spice and cream. Drink now through 2015. 233 cases made.”|
|Wine Enthusiast||90 - “A wine that simply enchants with its floral aromas, its flavors of honey, spices and green fruits and lively, floating acidity. To say it is a crowd pleaser is a compliment, its open, vivacious style a delight to drink. ”|
|Falstaff Wine Guide||94|
|IWC||93 - “Medium green-yellow. Inviting aromas of peach, passion fruit, blossom honey and lemongrass. Opulent and full-bodied yet at the same time juicy and sharply delineated, with a distinctly racy structure. The wine’s acidity harmoniously counters its sweet passion fruit, lime and apricot flavors. A wonderfully appetizing riesling with substantial aging potential. Drink 2010 to 2027.”|
|Bottle size (ml)||750 ml|
|Residual Sugar||6.3 g/l|
|Cellar potential||Optimal 2008-2027|
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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.