There is no doubt that most to all of the wines imported from Austria are of exceptional quality – with such a small quantity of imports, the things that do make it here have to be good. Still, there are some that undeniably stick out above others due to their ambition, their heritage and their overall passion for good wine.

Last night’s producer night at Anfora NYC featured one of those producers: Johannes Hirsch of Weingut Hirsch from the Langenlois, Kamptal in Neiderösterreich (Lower Austria.)

Joahnnes Hirsch is described as “fearless” both by his US importer, Terry Theise, and by several others. According to an incredibly knowledgeable friend of Austrian wine, James Wright, Hirsch was, “really the first to stick his neck out there and put wines under screw cap.” And boy, do we thank him for that!

Innovative packaging isn’t the only thing that sets this producer apart, however, Hirsch is also known for his natural approach to winemaking, focusing on Riesling and Gruener Veltliner, interfering with the wine little to not at all from the vineyards to the bottle. The wines that are produced are true to their sense of place. Minerally, slightly creamy, and full of fruit with generous acids that allow for incredible  aging potential. Trust us – we tasted a Riesling from the Gaisberg vineyard from 1998, 2002, 2004 & 2006 last night in one momentous flight that let us rest easy through the night knowing our bellies were full delicious wines. Appropriately, each wine is named for its vineyard site.

Library vintages weren’t the only thing on display, of course, also included in the line-up were two Rieslings -’08 and ’09 – from the Zobing vineyard, Gruener Veltliner #1 ’09, the winery’s entry-level wine, Gruener Veltliner Helengenstain ’09 – a terrific wine comprised of grapes from multiple top-vineyard sites, and the famous Gruener Veltliner Lamm ’08 which is sure to stop any white wine lover in their tracks. Official rating was “Yummm.” Note the three “m”‘s.

We arrived relatively early in the night, but by the time we left a great crowd had gathered and we saw lots of flights of Austrian wine splayed in front of interested consumers – a positive and enjoyable experience for all!

So what about you? Have you had a chance to try any wines from this producer? What did you think?