We are certainly a lucky group. Last October marked our four decades tasting of Grüner Veltliner and we were fortunate enough to be invited to another great event hosted by Terry Theise last week. The event featured the wines of the Kamptal from producers Weingut Hiedler, Weingut Hirsch, Weingut Bründlmayer, and Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg from the varieties of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
Calling it an experience of a lifetime might just be an understatement. Many of the wines shown at the tasting are down to their final few bottles in existence and it was said on more than one occasion that spitting these was a disservice to the wines – even though the seminar started at 10am and was packed full of the wine industry elite.
The panel was moderated by Terry Theise, himself, and Kevin Pike from Michael Skurnik Wines and attended by Michael Moosbrugger from Schloss Gobelsburg, Willi Bründlmayer from Weingut Bründlmayer, Johannes Hirsch from Weingut Hirsch, and Ludwig Hiedler, Sr. from Weingut Hiedler.
Hiedler Grüner Veltliner Thal 1969
Hiedler Grüner Veltliner Thal ‘Novemberlese’ 1999 (Magnum)
Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Loiser Berg 2003
Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz 2006
Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Lamm 1992
Hirsch Grüner Veltliner Lamm 2002
Hirsch Grüner Veltliner Lamm 2003
Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Renner 2004
Hirsch Riesling Gaisberg 1999
Hirsch Riesling Gaisberg 2004
Hiedler Riesling Gaisberg 2005
Schloss Goberlsburg Gaisberg ‘Alte Rebe’ 2007
Bründlmayer Riesling Heiligenstein Spätlese Trocken 1971
Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Heiligenstein 1973
Hiedler Riesling Heiligenstein 1993
Bründlmayer Riesling Heiligenstein ‘Lyra’ 1997
Mind blowing, right?
But, it wasn’t all about the wines – though of course they were certainly stars – we also learned a decent amount of the Kamptal region, in general, and, of course why these wines are suitable for aging.
Let’s start with Grüner Veltliner. To start, it’s important to understand the Kamptal. As eloquently said by Michael Moosbrugger, “…the Danube makes the Kamptal,” as it has historically left deposits along it and, as a result, the majority if loess soils with loam terraces. “Loess is a very important soil for Grüner Veltliner,” followed up Ludwig Hiedler, which is partially what gives it the potential to age. The soils have a high concentration of minerals which is translated in to the wines.
Riesling, on the other hand, is situated on the terraces where loess would crumble and loam is prevalent. Terry pointed out to us, whilst we were tasting the Gaisberg, that it is a “Riesling lover’s vineyard.” And that is something no one could deny after tasting the wines.
Ultimately, the winemakers explained that when you give Grüner Veltliner and Riesling 40 years to age, respectively, ultimately, the Grüner Veltliner will always taste younger. This have been the case over and over again – what it is in Austria that makes this true has yet to be discovered.
But we were also left with some important takeaways…. When it comes to Riesling and Gruner Veltliner in Austria, the fact is, the more one drinks, the less they know. That’s the nature of the business though, which is what keeps us coming back again and again.
In conclusion, this mind-blowing experience left some of NYC’s top tasters in awed, slightly tipsy from swallowing wine at 10am, and in an unbelievably good mood. Special thanks to Michael Skurnik Wines & Terry Theise for making it all possible.