Hogl Georg Gruner Veltliner 2003, 750 mlfrom Hogl (View all)
The 2003 vintages are the happy result of record high summer temperatures that made for uniquely powerful wines, which is why vintner Josef Hogl was able to fill this wine as early as the late December after the harvest. It’s also why he named the Georg “Hogl’s Junger” which means “younger” or “junior” in English. This wine has everything a great Gruner Veltliner is known for: green aromas, crisp minerals, and a white pepper finish. It does not carry one of the usual three Wachau classifications and was improved by chaptalization. But it is this added sugar which will allow it to hold longer than the usual “Steinfeder” wine while still remaining dry dry dry.
|Bottle size (ml)||750 ml|
|Cellar potential||Drink now|
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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.