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Stift Goettweig Gruner Veltliner Messwein 2008 # SG003

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Stift Goettweig Gruner Veltliner Messwein 2008, 750 ml

from Stift Goettweig  (View all)

Clean and inviting citrus nose, highlighted with rosewood and ripe apples. Fruity and light on the palate, a good bit of traditional “pfefferl” white-pepper snap, fresh and elegant.

Alcohol content 11.0%
Bottle size (ml) 750 ml
Residual Sugar 6.0 g/l
Wine style Dry
Cellar potential Drink as young as possible.
Closure Screwcap

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…is one of the architectural treasures of Lower Austria, since 2000 listed as a UNESCO World-Heritage Site. “Stift” is the German word for an abbey, and its name comes from the local colloquial rendering of “(zum Herrn) Gott geweiht”—consecrated to God. The mostly-18th century construction looks down across the river Danube at the city of Krems-an-der-Donau from an elevation of some 449 meters above sea level. The Benedictine Order has been in possession of this institution since shortly after its inception in the 11th Century.

Growing around the abbey are 26 hectares of vines—the greater part of which are situated in the Kremstal, with a slight spillover into the Wachau—planted mostly to grüner veltliner, complemented by 30% riesling, 6% pinot noir and 4% chardonnay. The winemaking is supervised and directed by Fritz Miesbauer, the gifted fellow who was responsible for the Freie Weingärtner Wachau—the co-op in Dürnstein now called “Domäne Wachau”—becoming such a force in the late nineties. Wines are vinified across the river in the new modern cellar at Weingut Stadt Krems, another Miesbauer project.

The vineyards show a good variety of soils, ranging from primary rock and decomposed slate to chalky clays, sand and conglomerates. The most notable vineyard sites are the Gotschelle, Göttweiger Berg and Silberbichl.

Of particular note are the two cuvées designated “Messwein”—altar wine. One is a dry and crisp grüner veltliner, and the other is a rosé of pinot noir. These are produced with the blessing and permission of the Abbot—cannot be chaptalized and are fermented only with indigenous yeasts. One might naturally think that the blood of the Christian Savior would be symbolized by red wine, but in truth, an actual pronouncement of Pope Sixtus IV in the late 15th century established the ecclesiastical validity of using white wine in the holy service.

Winemaker Fritz Miesbauer prefers to work with the cleanest possible grape material, so botrytis-berries are discarded during the selection process. Fermentation and aging take place in super-stainless steel tanks, and Fritz uses wild yeasts as a matter of preference—not just for the Messweine. During a recent visit to New York City, Miesbauer described the Stift’s viticulture as 95% organic.

The Kremstal, including the famous old wine-city of Krems and its satellites Stein and Mauthern, is among the most storied of the Austrian wine regions. Krems is not only the name of a major city, but also that of a river that flows into the Danube.

It offers terroirs very much like the neighboring Wachau on its western end, and deeper soils on the other. Primary grape varieties are Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, both of which are well suited to conveying these specialized variations of soil to the taster.

The deeply carved Danube valley guarantees particularly good climatic conditions, and wine-culture has flourished in the area since even before the Benedictine monks started growing vines at the Stift Goettweig high above nearly one thousand years ago.

Some 5500 acres under vine spread themselves out on both sides of the Danube. There are more than a hundred individual wine estates, not to mention those many small growers with modest- to medium-sized holdings who deliver their wines to the co-op Winzer Krems.

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