Neumayer Zwirch Gruner Veltliner 2008, 750 mlfrom Ludwig Neumayer (View all)
Luscious and snappy featuring a fetching herbal overlay, celebrates the citric side of Veltliner, combining on the finish with a strong expression of chalky minerality which grips the tongue.
|Bottle size (ml)||750 ml|
|Cellar potential||Ready now but will improve for 7 - 10 years|
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Ludwig Neumayer won Falstaff Magazine’s Grand Prix for Grüner Veltliner with his 2006 GV Zwirch.
This latest in a long list of accolades for the quiet and shy man who was chosen Vintner of the Year in 1996 follows his 2001 selection to the Traditionsweingüter Österreich—a short list of some 24 estates who set the tone and call the tune.
His corner of the Traisental—as of 1996 Austria’s newest official growing region—finds itself in a narrow transitional zone between the primary rock (Urgestein, Granulit) of the Wachau and the deeper alluvial soils of Wagram.
Ludwig’s little terraces are planted in lean and oftentimes limestony conglomerate soils—this variety of terroirs invites the production of very finely nuanced wines, and contributes to the remarkable accomplishment of Neumayer, who manages to put a healthy assortment of different grape varieties into the bottle with dazzling success.
The common thread running through the production, like a fine vein of ore, expresses itself in the radiant aromiticity, crystal-clarity and unerringly precise varietal typicity of the wines—even the grandest and most majestic of his Wein vom Stein cuvées exhibit a noteworthy eloquence of expression and exquisite breeding.
GV, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay—and then there’s his little grapevine museum, the sixty year-old Gemischter Satz that forms the basis for his Cuvée vom Stein.
This name means Lower Austria, and many find it quaint that it refers to part of the nation that, seen on the map, lies above Upper Austria. But in this mountainous country, up means Alp and, we are figuring things in terms of altitude, rather than latitude.
Niederösterreich is the largest of the primary growing regions. The others are the city of Vienna, Burgenland, and Styria. Its size alone might grant Lower Austria a greater diversity than the other three, but that doesn't begin to complete the picture. There are eight winegrowing districts that make up Lower Austria. The most famous of these is the Wachau, and the most prolific is the Weinviertel, literally the wine-quarter, which produces a colossal amount of very flavorful and slightly homogenous Grüner Veltliner.
There: we said the magic word.
Grüner Veltliner (aka Weissgipfler) is the national treasure of Austria, and it is the unifying theme which binds these eight subregions together, although one might be hard-put to find much of it in the Thermenregion, and there isn't a great deal of it in Carnuntum.
The most memorable wines from Lower Austria are white, and typically come from a stretch which starts with the western end of the Wachau, and ends right before the viticultural city limits of the nation's capital. The most outstanding feature of this area is the river Danube, die Donau to germanophones, which runs through the wine-country from Melk to Vienna, nourishing three districts named for the valleys of its tributary rivers: Kamptal, Kremstal and Traisental, and a fourth, Wagram, which takes its name from the foothills which bind it to the river.
What makes Lower Austria unique and outstanding in the world of wine?
Perhaps nowhere else are such comparably fine wines made from so many different grape varieties:
In addition to the aforementioned King of the Hill, there is the great Rhine Riesling, which Austria shares with Germany and Alsace. Then, we must mention the presence of very fine Pinot Noir, succulent Zweigelt and striking St Laurent. With those we cross over into the realm of red wine, and very successfully, I might add, before falling back into the white varieties to mention Weissburgunder, which shows terrific potential for something whose name means pinot blanc.
Additionally, there are significant successful plantings of Grauer Burgunder, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Then we can make space on the rack for Roter Veltliner, Muskateller and Neuburger, which can be occasionally exceptional.
Thermenregion offers its couple rarities, Zierfandler and Rotgipfler, and you might even find all of the above growing in a single vineyard in the city of Vienna, like representatives all together at Parliament in the capital, but that's another story.
Great grapes make delicious wine, but when great grapes are grown in extraordinarily specific and unique soils, the wines transcend delicious and become profound. The soils of Lower Austria range from the Urgestein, primary rock, of the Wachau, through volcanic terroirs of the Kamptal and the fossil limestone of the Traisental, and happily include the deep loess of Wagram, with many combinations along the way.
And then there are the many creative growers, who have put in so much work in the past couple decades to elevate the state of their art and give the wine-drinking world pleasures that were unimagined twenty years ago.
Traisental, named for the Traisen river that runs through its valley into the Danube, became in 1995 the most recently created growing district in Austria.
It claims pride of place as the region with the highest percentage of Grüner Veltliner planted.
Grapevines are typically planted on small terraces of earth that is commonly comprised of limestony or gravelly soils, depending on the individual village.
Although the days are long and warm, cool nighttime temperatures extend the growing season beyond what one would imagine.
This contributes to wines that not only offer plenty to chew upon, but also show excellent backbone and laudable finesse.
The town Traismauer offers ancient Roman architecture and excavations among its highlights, while Bronze-Age specimens provide evidence of nearly three millenia of wine-culture in the area.