Taste the Tasting: Alzinger – One of the World’s Elite Dry Riesling Winemakers

Posted on: 01/30/19 6:52 PM


Endlessly complex and mysterious, the wines of Alzinger are not only a reference point for the greatness of Austria, but for wine itself. On January 14th we were treated to one of the most highly anticipated events of the year when Leo Alzinger presented his portfolio of stunning Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners. Often compared with the greatness to the likes of Raveneau, those lucky enough to be in attendance bared witness to some truly remarkable wines.

If you have never had Alzinger, trust us you should. If you don’t understand or believe in the significance of what legendary Gruner Veltliner or Riesling can do, then you owe it to yourself to taste and experience these wines. Mineral, detailed, haunting and ephemeral, they are not loud, or obvious. Instead the power of these wines come by their subtlety, harmony and detailed transparency. They are, in short, extraordinary.

To celebrate what was surely one of greatest tastings of the year we are opening up the floodgates and making our entire Alzinger collection open to public hands. This is a rare and incredibly special opportunity to buy wine usually not for sale (forgive us but we historically keep our Alzinger allocations for ourselves). Both 2016 and 2017’s are gorgeous vintages, 2017 in particular was year that bore complete masterpieces for Alzinger. Don’t miss this.

More About the Wine

2016 Alzinger Ried Mühlpoint Gruner Veltliner Federspiel

“Also livelier than usual. I like these! They’re frisky, almost jittery, they have puppy-energy, and this one shows a certain gravelly mineral below its green bean generosity.” Terry Theise

2016 Alzinger Dürnsteiner Riesling Federspiel

“…Shade-like, mineral and Sencha and lime and herbs. Potentially exceptional.” Terry Theise

2017 Alzinger Dürnsteiner Gruner Veltliner Federspiel

“I can’t remember a better vintage of this “basic” Federspiel. It has a wonderfully pretty fragrance leading to a stunningly expressive Federspiel; roasted haricot verts; firmly spicy but with secret-sweetness, into a solid stern finale. Everything the category could be, and seldom is.” Terry Theise

2017 Alzinger Dürnsteiner Riesling Federspiel

“Again an exceptionally good Federspiel! Solid, stony and lovely; salts and verbena and a complex finish of herbs, wintergreen, aloe and mineral.” Terry Theise

2017 Alzinger Ried Hollerin Riesling Smaragd

“Essentially the lower slopes of Höhereck (and Kellerberg, obliquely), it gives the most apricot-driven Riesling among Alzinger’s Smaragds. This one starts out with greener flavors than usual until a Victoria-Falls of stone fruit overwhelms, generously and lovingly. But it’s not a soft love, glorious though it is. There’s also a rock slide Christmas-tree thing above (or below) the white peaches. I don’t recall a Hollerin this schizy, and I think it is wonderful.” Terry Theise

2017 Alzinger Ried Höhereck Riesling Smaragd

“How inconvenient that my usual-favorite of Alzinger’s Rieslings is the one they barely make. It’s a tiny plot and they get “around 800 bottles” in a good year. Yes—bottles. All I can say, after all these years, is—from this tiny place comes one of the earth’s great wines, the terminus of every great facet of Wachau Riesling, the herbs from this, the peaches and plums from that, the mangoes from another, the smoke from yet another—all there. The ’17 is, typically, complete. It’s the flavor of fullness, as if nothing else could be anticipated. Herbs, rocks, roasted veggies, salts. But the overall level of Leo’s ’17 Rieslings is so high that this doesn’t soar above as it often does. It’s just marvelous.” Terry Theise

2017 Alzinger Ried Steinertal Smaragd

“Wild screaming lime aroma, and here’s the Physio “secret” sweetness to elevate this to the divine, though it’s a wild and savage divinity, maniacally vivid and spicy.” Terry Theise

Posted in Daily Flash By Tim Sellon