Saturday, July 3, 2010

WBC10: Riesling, Riesling, Completely Different!

Riesling, Riesling and All Gemischtered Up in Vienna

Continuing on from the lovely Gruner Veltliner, I moved over to the gleaming golden label of Rudi Pichler Riesling Federspiel Wachau 2008.  I love the intense acidity and minerality of Pichler wines, and this slaty, citrusy, and slightly oily textured 2008 is no exception.  I generally find that, with many producers, the Federspiel designation is the neglected one, sort of a not-quite-Smaragd.  Not with Pichler!  This is fine stuff, and I could keep sipping it all day, were it not for the two bottles next to it that I had to try.

The Loibner Riesling 2008 is a bit fleshier, fuller, rounder--yet still with the characteristic Austrian severe acidity I love---and has the faintest touch of petrol to it.  Lovely stuff.

But the star of the show is my very first Gemischter Satz classic, the Wieninger Wiener Gemischter Satz 2008.  I had heard about this wine for years, and was told there was something of a revival going on, so was eager to try it.

Wiener Gemischter Satz is a traditional wine from around the Vienna area (hence the 'Wien' designation).  It's a curious designation, essentially a field blend made up from a minimum of three varieties, and possibly up to a couple of at the discretion of the vineyard owner and winemaker.  The city fathers of Vienna actually encouraged the development of many different varieties within a single vineyard, and then co-harvesting and co-fermenting them.  Each wine then, is a unique portrayal of that particular vineyard's pattern of varieties.

This particular Gemischter (I understand Weininger has two versions) is intensely fruity, mineral, citusy-tart and fresh and lively, with a distinct herbal component.  I strongly suspect one of the varieties is Gruner Veltliner, because of the considerable white pepper spiciness that jumps out of the glass, but, really, who the heck knows?  Except Weininger, and they're not telling in their tasting notes.

Fascinating concept though.  Fascinating enough that I'm wondering just how much fun it would be to wander around Vienna tasting the different grower/producer versions.  If they are anything at all like Weininger in quality, that will be a very good day.

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