Brett happens

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Salon VIP 2014: Weingut Wieninger

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Abutting Vienna (the city centre is clearly visible from some of the vineyards), Weingut Wieninger comprises 45 hectares on both sides of the Danube. On the outskirts of the city proper, between the houses and the forest (the Vienna Woods of story and song), are the Nussberg (also spelled Nußberg) vineyards, southerly exposed and gently sloping, where the soil consists of weathered, shell-rich limestone (25 to 65%), loam, clay and sand over solid limestone and where the breezes and temperature modifying effects of the river create near-ideal growing conditions. On the other bank are the Bisamberg vineyards, where the soil is light sandy loess over solid limestone.

The affable Fritz Wieninger was at the Vinealis stand, pouring five of his currently available wines. As a group they seemed more immediately accessible and food-friendly than some of their compatriots, less stern and austere and less demanding of cellar time – well-made wines you’d be happy to drink while sitting in the estate’s wine tavern (Heuriger) or digging into dinner at home.

Chardonnay Classic 2013, Weingut Wieninger ($26.65, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Chardonnay from 15- to 30-year-old biodynamically farmed vines, nearly all of which are in the Bisamberg vineyards. Manually harvested and sorted. Gently destemmed. Macerated for about three hours, then pressed pneumatically. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks (85%) and large neutral oak barrels (15%) for alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation was prevented in the tanks and allowed in the barrels; occasional lees-stirring took place in the tanks and barrels. After five months, the wines were blended and bottled. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Lemon with just a hint of yellow fruit. On the nose and in the mouth shows a steely, Riesling-like quality. Clean, crisp, minerally and dry. The farthest thing from blowsy, a fresh and tonic take on Chardonnay. (Buy again? At $22, it’d be killer. At $26.65, sure.)

Riesling 2013, Wiener Berge, Weingut Wieninger ($26.35, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from several converting-to-biodynamic Bisamberg vineyards (hail wiped out the usual Nussberg crop). Manually harvested. Manually and machine sorted. A short maceration was followed by pressing. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Matured on the lees for a few months, then blended and bottled. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Clean and fresh. Bracing acidity lights up the lemon-lime and minerals. If you look for it, you can find a hint of residual sugar but the alcohol is nowhere apparent. Finishes dry and stony. Very drinkable. (Buy again? At $22, it’d be killer. At $26.35, sure.)

Grüner Veltliner 2013, Wiener Berge, Weingut Wieninger ($26.35, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Grüner Veltliner from biodynamically farmed vines, most of which are in the Bisamberg vineyards (a small proportion are in the Nussberg vineyards). Manually harvested. Mechanically sorted. A short maceration was followed by pressing. The must was clarified and transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation at low temperatures. Matured on the lees for a few months, then blended and bottled. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Grass, white pepper, quartz and a hint of lime. Shows some citrus on the palate but is more about minerals and crisp acidity. Ends clean and fresh. A classic, easy-drinking GV. (Buy again? Sure, tho’ another four bucks will get you the all singing, all dancing Nussberg.)

Grüner Veltliner 2013, Nussberg, Weingut Wieninger ($30.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Grüner Veltliner from vines in the Nussberg vineyards. Manually harvested and sorted. The grapes were lightly crushed, left to macerate on the skins a few hours and then pressed. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation at low temperatures. Matured on the lees for a month or two longer than the Wiener Berge cuvée, then blended and bottled. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Everything found in the Wiener Berge GV and then some. Still primary but already complex and dimensional. Powerful and intense but, unlike some high-end GVs, remarkably balanced and alluring in its youth. A wine it’d be fun to buy a case of and track the evolution over the next six years. (Buy again? Yes.)

Gemischter Satz 2012, Nussberg, Alte RebenWeingut Wieninger ($44.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Similar to what Deitz does in Alsace, this is a field blend of nine grape varieties – Weissburgunder, Neuburger, Welschriesling, Grüner Veltliner, Sylvaner, Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Traminer and Riesling – from biodynamically farmed 50-year-old vines co-planted in Nussberg’s Ulm vineyard. Manually harvested and sorted. After three hours’ maceration, the grapes were pneumatically pressed. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks for low-temperature fermentation and maturation on the fine lees. Bottled nearly one year after harvest. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Fragrant, complex nose: wisps of medicinal honey, flowers, citrus, yellow fruit and a subtle minerality. In the mouth, it’s hefty (but not heavy), layered, broad and dry. A stream of acidity keeps everything vibrant. A hint of bitterness colours the long finish. Not the dog’s breakfast I was fearing. On the contrary, an appealing, complex wine with a certain precision and tension. (Buy again? Yes.)

Next stop: Rézin.

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Written by carswell

November 6, 2014 at 16:53

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