WanderCurtis Wine

Wine tastings, corporate events, reviews and recommendations

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Annual Austrian Wine Tasting

The whites on show were mostly 2013, a warm year with ripe fruit, making the wines from Kremstal & Kamptal even more lush & inviting than usual, for me though the slightly fresher more structured wines of the Wachau shone brightest.

Bründlmayer, Kamptal.
These are always very seductive wines, soft & open but with great underlying structure.

Klassik ‘Kamptaler Terrassen’ Grüner Veltliner 2013.
This is a great immediately accessible lighter body wine, lovely broad fruit, touch of mineral, enough freshness & lift and medium length. Lots of drinking pleasure. (top pick)

Grüner Veltliner Loiser Berg 2013
A delicious blend of herbs, ground spice, minerality and ripe green fruit, more weight, great length. (top pick)

Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2013.
A fuller bodied wine, ground herbs & spice with intense fruit and creamy texture. Lovely.

Grüner Veltliner Lamm 2013
This is a fully bodied concentrated wine with a Burgundian lick of wood, intense ripe stone fruit, compact and age worthy.

F.X.Pichler, Wachau.

Very sought after wines with an international reputation, deservedly so because the wines are consistently outstanding.

Grüner Veltliner, Loibner Klostersatz Federspiel 2013.
Fantastic to see some Federspiel wines on show, these light to mid body style Grüners (with less than 13% alcohol) for me offer superb drinking pleasure, top notch examples such as this have all the floral, mineral and fruit complexity you could wish for in their youth. Great balance and length.

Grüner Veltliner, Loibner Steinertal Smaragd 2013.
A bit reticent compared to the Federspiel, floral, white peach, intense on the palate tight fruit stoney mineral. Great structure that will no doubt unwind over time.

Grüner Veltliner, Dürnsteiner Liebenberg Smaragd 2013.
More giving with stone fruit & ripe pear on the nose, mouth filling fuller body with perfectly balanced acidity, delicious long and really sexy.

Riesling, Burgstall Federspiel 2013
Another superb Federspiel, riveting, super fresh, tight mineral, compact fruit, great balance and satisfying length. Leaves you wanting more (on a west facing terrace at sun down!). (top pick)

Riesling, Steinertal Smaragd 2013
Nice tight mineral, fresh white peach, compact core full of promise & great length. Super refined.

Riesling, Dürnsteiner Kellerberg Smaragd 2013
Broader and softer than the Steinertal, ripe stone fruit, subtle herby spice, good acidity & incredible length.

Weingut Joseph Ehmoser, Wagram.

Great value quality wines.

Grüner Veltliner, von den Terrassen. 2013.
Nice ripe ear, floral, medium acidity and length. Good quality everyday drinking. 2013 was a warm year and so this vintage has a bit less of the fresh bite that I particularly enjoy in a Grüner.

Grüner Veltliner, Hohenberg, 2013.
Made in concrete eggs that keep the wine in motion and contact with the lees, sure enough the wine has a nice creamy texture, lovely spicy notes, very good.

Riesling vom Gelben Löss 2013.
A round and accessible fruit driven riesling, good mineral notes, round body and great length. Will repay a couple years in the cellar to develop some of those classic riesling characteristics.

Weissburgunder, 2013.
Fuller bodied and riper than the GV & Rieslings rich fruit, spicy, quite big and intense. These can be age worthy wines developing honey and dried fruit and spicy notes.

Knoll, Wachau

One of the top wine makers in the Wachau, producing outstanding traditional wines, a personal favourite. It would have been nice to see some of their Federspiels which are extraordinarily good.

Grüner Veltliner Ried Kreutles Smaragd, 2013.
Floral nose, hydrangea, peach, ground spice, pear and gooseberry, perfect balance and good length. Lovely. (The Federspiel Knoll produces from this vineyard is always drop dead gorgeous but in short supply).

Grüner Veltliner Reid Loibenberg Smaragd, 2013.
Intense mineral and spicy notes, concentrated ripe stone fruit, quite full bodied & very long.

Grüner Veltliner Ried Schütt Smaragd, 2013.
The Schütt vineyard seems to produce consistently beautiful refined wines. This has a nose of sweet white flowers, ripe pear, nectarine, superb balance and compact body, long. Fantastic. (top pick).

Riesling Pfaffenberg, Kabinett, 2013. (this is just outside the border of Wachau in Niederoesterreich. The Kabinett is equivalent to Federspiel style).
Lovely tight fruit, soft texture, bright acidity and good length. Lighter body. Enjoyable now but with good future.

Riesling Ried Kellerberg Smaragd, 2013.
Ripe apple, pear, hawthorne and spice, intense on the palate, high acidity, tightly coiled. Excellent.

Riesling Ried Schütt Smaragd. 2013.
Tight nose, floral, tropical fruit, compact body, good balance again tightly coiled but deep and refined.

Petra Unger, Kremstall.

Grüner Veltliner, ‘Q’ 2013.
A light fresh wine with green apples, classic touch of pepper and good lift.

Grüner Veltliner Reserve, Gottschelle, 2013.
More substance than ‘Q’ nice ripe pear, crisp apple, medium body and enough complexity to sustain one’s interest.

Grüner Veltliner, Alte Reben Oberfeld, 2013.
Old vines in deep sandy soils giving a intense and complex wine, fully bodied and demanding.

Riesling, Classic Hinters Kirchl, 2013.
Lovely rich and spicy riesling with great fresh acidity really delicious. (top pick).

Riesling Reserve Steiner Gaisberg, 2013.
Old vines, more classic riesling character, intense, complex and long.

Grüner Veltliner Eiswein Oberfeld, 2012.
Unusual to have GV ice wine and something very special, intensely sweet but with good acidity, complex, poached spiced pear, very very long. Superb. (top pick)

Stad Krems,Kremstal.

Grüner Veltliner Loessterrassen 2014
Nice fruity, medium light body, rounded & soft, medium length.

Grüner Veltliner Klassik Weinzierlberg. 2013.
More structure, light fruit and ground spicer, god acidity.

Grüner Veltliner Reserve Stein. 2013.
A selection from two vineyards near Stein, floral, ripe pear, balanced with good length.

Riesling Steinterrassen, 2012.
Good freshness, medium light body, medium length. May fill out a bit more with a year or two more?

Riesling Reserve Schieferterrassen, 2013.
Lovely ripeness, lots of fruit, touch of mineral and medium acidity. Good length.

Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal.

Grüner Veltliner Loessterrassen, 2013.
Light, crisp GV with a soft texture, great everyday drinking.

Grüner Veltliner Reserve Steinsetz, 2013.
Ripe pear, bit of ground pepper & spice, quite intense, medium acidity ad good length.

Grüner Veltliner Reserve Renner, 2013. (Reserve is equivalent to Smaragd, 13% +)
Again concentrated, ripe and a little heavy, good length.

Grüner Veltliner Reserve Lamm, 2013.
Vines are trained in a lyra form to maximise ripening, concentrated, ripe stone fruit, peach, even pineapple notes, full body & very long.

Grüner Veltliner Reserve Tradition, 2012.
This wine spends longer in inert large oak barrels allowing it to breath. Flowers and peach on the nose, wide and rounded on the palate full body but great fresh acidity ( 2012 was a more classic year). (top pick).

Riesling Reserve Gaisberg, 2013.
Floral nose, big spicy full bodied, medium acidity.

Riesling Reserve Heiligenstein, 2103.
More linear structured, compact fruit, medium body and acidity, long finish.

Hirtzberger, Wachau.

Grüner Veltliner Rotes Tor Federspiel, 2013.
Lovely mix of ripe pear, ground spice, stones and enough freshness and length. Excellent. (top pick).

Grüner Veltliner Axpoint Smaragd, 2012.
Really ripe green and stone fruit, intense, minerals great balance & freshness, a top notch Wachau GV. (again 2012 just seems to have that extra freshness and structure).

Grüner Veltliner Honivogl Smaragd 2012.
More opulent & fruit driven than the Axpoint, very well balanced and complex.

Riesling Steinterassen Federspiel 2013.
Light to medium riesling with medium acidity and length.

Riesling Hochrain Smaragd 2011.
A wine with great structure, intense & tightly coiled at the moment, good length and promise.



Visit the Wachau in Austria

20131028_152456We have visited the Wachau on the Danube in Austria many times over the years, normally at the end of May for a cycle ride along the Danube, lunch and tasting or two at one of the many wonderful wineries lining the valley.   We’ve also been a few times in the summer and when it is hot enough one can stop at one of the sand banks that form on the river and revive with a refreshing dip in the Danube as it flows past.

photo 1This year however we happened to visit at the end of October on a gorgeous sunny day and the steep vineyards of the Wachau valley were aflame with autumnal reds and yellows.  From October to November the harvest is in full swing so wineries are pressed for time. Whilst they are still welcoming their doors are only open by arrangement and tastings are more hurried affairs than usual.

20131028_152906Instead of our usual cycle along the river this time we parked in Spitz below the Tausendeimerberg, hill (so called because it produces 1000 clay jars of wine) and followed a circular walk through the vineyards behind the town. With the bustle of the harvest, vivid colours and stunning views of the river winding down the valley this is a great time of year to visit.

It’s not all wine either as there are the ruins of the various robber baron castles to visit dotted up and down the hills in one of which Richard the Lion Heart was held for ransom on his way back from the crusades.

Obviously a few bottles were purchased and a tasting worked into the day.  At Weingut Knoll we heard of how earlier it the year in the Danube flooded.  The villages next the river were submerged for a few days, including the valley floor vineyards and the wine cellars where the previous year’s vintage of smargd was still in the large barrels and had to be tied down in position. As the barrels are of course water proof and the water receded after only a few days the wine was not affected.  Those that I tasted attested to this.

The Wachau is only about 50 minutes’ drive from Vienna and can also be reached by train so combines nicely with a city break.  Here are a few tips and links to help you on your way…

General tourist information in English: http://alt.donau.com/donau/wn/?ln=EN

Spitz vineyard walk: http://www.donau.com/de/donau-niederoesterreich/ausflug-bewegen/bewegung/karten-touren-finden/detail/weinwandern-spitz-robert-prosser-und-weingut-franz-hirtzberger/6549636/fee1693155c22cf71221412165fb9a89/


20131028_153309Cycling on the Danube.  A lot of hotels hire bikes but here are also a couple of places in Krems where you can hire bikes for the day.  You can either take one of the cruise ships or the local train down to Willendorf or one of the other towns further west and then spend the day cycling back at a leisurely pace.  There is a dedicated cycle path close to the river all the way:


Restaurant Loibnerhof run by the part of the Knoll family with excellent food and a great wine list featuring mature Knoll Greuners and Rieslings.  Try the Tafelspitz an Austrian speciality of tender beef served with horseradish and apple. In the autumn roast goose (Ganse) with red cabbage is in season: http://www.loibnerhof.at/

Jamek is a well-known Wachau wine producer and has a great restaurant in Joching practically on the cycle path, with a lovely garden, great menu and as one might expect a full selection of their own wines: http://www.weingut-jamek.at/restaurant.php?id=13

For a review of wine makers and wines from Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal see our past tastings page.

photoMost wine makers are very welcoming but it is necessary to make an appointment beforehand.  However two that I have visited many times on spec are Domaine Wachau a large producer who make excellent wines (the Terraces GV from Waitrose is a perennial favourite) and Weingut Schmeltz who have a very groovy tasting room and excellent wines cover looking the vineyards in Joching.



When WC visited the area we stayed at Hotel Pfeffel which has great views over the Danube and has a lovely roof top pool: http://www.pfeffel.at/

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Austrian Wines annual London tasting

536080_205432296265500_608335965_nGreat tasting of Austrian wines today, really high standard of quality on show with some outstanding highlights: The wines of FX Pichler were stunning, those of Knoll as always,  Brundlmayer, Domain Wachau also great greuners and rieslings.

I was stunned by the wines of Gritsch Mauritiushof which were complex and inviting having tasted the 2010s at the winery where they were very closed and austere.

Wieninger’s Pinot Noir Select 2010 was fantastic and the whole selection of Weingut Gesellmann red wines were brilliant. Finally I was delighted to find Weingut Schmeltz of the Wachau presenting their brilliant wines having visited them at their stunning wine tasting room in Joching a few years ago.

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Sweet Agnes Riesling 2010 Siefried Nelson New Zealand

Multi gold award winner, this is made from late harvest 100% riesling. The grapes are then frozen and pressed to reveal lush sweet grape juice. The result is a rich, sweet, honeyed apricot, viscous, powerful, intense dessert wine – just mesmerising.
Was available from Waitrose wines at £13.29 a bottle. Tasted at the annual New Zealand trade tasting event at Lords recently.

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Austria trip June 2011 – Wachau Kamptal

Day 1

Thursday night Chez Franz in Mank. Eighteen Austrian reds served in pairs blind, 1989-2010. Four dessert wines, Kracher 2008.
Present: Eric Boudot from Bordeaux and local merchant, Didi local restauranteur.

Wines included:

  • Round 1: Native zweigelt (after a Professor)/Blaufrankish( Blue Franc in Napoleonic times) – cherry fruity spices.
  • Round 2: Pinot Noir Gesselman 2003, 13% floral earthy composty classic pinot ( Eric called Gesselman during tasting!) and Pinot 2004 Markowitsch – a bit cooked.
  • Round 3: Blaufrankisch 2001 Chevalier -earthy 14% powerful and Zweigelt OLvin 2000.
  • Round 4: Merlot 2000 (highlight). Lilies, flowers, lavender, smokey, Blaufrankish – barrel sample pichler, too young/acetone.
  • Round 5 1999 in signo Leorus cuvee V saira grande reserve 2003 cab merlot (tiring).
  • Round 6: corked 2000 Guiser V Blaufrankish 2000 Durran savoury/sweet/hoisin sauce (Kiran +++).
  • Round 7: 1994 Blaufrankisch – over the hill, spicy, HP sauce +++V th suprise 1996 Chateau Montrose! wet dog/fur.
  • Round 8: 1989 Blaufrankisch Markowitch V 1989 Zweigelt. Very interesting to try such old Austrian reds, but past their best.

austria1A marathon with tonnes of cheese. Finished off with the famous Krachers, 50 euros, plus a bottle generously supplied by Eric, a rosen muskateller 2008 and variety of 2008 6%, 8% and 11%. Oh, and a lovely Doisy Daene thrown in! What a tasting!

Day 2

Drove to Spitz on the Danube. First stop, Mauritshof Britz for a whole array of gruners and rieslings. Unfortunately the 2010 was not a great vintage with lots of rain and other problems. This showed in the 2010. Then a trip to Lagler slightly overshadowed by a leggy loud American group but some lovely wines (see The Wines of Austria event).

We checked in at the lovely hotel on the banks of the Danube and headed off on our bikes to Emmerich Knoll. He was a wee bit surprised to see us and was sat with his grandchildren. We gladly joined the Knoll family and thus commenced a three hour afternoon tasting of some fantastic wines including barrel selections of all his 2010, served from the most remarkable blown glass contraption. A truly memorable afternoon.

austria2Finished the day at the restaurant opposite Knoll in Unterloiben. The smoked, herb crusted trout was the highlight, but some other great food. Rob et al none too happy as hot desserts stopped at 9.30pm!

Day 3

More intense cycling and a rather longer trip than expected to Langenlois and missed the first tasting! A real test for me in my rehabilitation from back surgery and just managed. Rewarded at the Brundlymayer restaurant with the most awesome display of around twenty wines,  with beautiful food. Highlights for sure were the rose brut – the quality of top champagne and the Ried Lamm, which had spent time in wood and is compatible with top white burgundy.

Later that afternoon in Strass tried maybe fifteen wines with Mr Shreibess. These were great value for money and very crisp clean wines. Luckily, it was downhill to Krems and along the river through Unterloiben and Durnstein. Back to the hotel for schnitzel, a delicious stinging nettle soup and the most ridiculously large eggy meringue type and a thick, pancake-like dessert.

Another great trip – next stop, Italy