2013 Berry Bros. & Rudd Grüner Veltliner Weingeberge, Federspiel, Nikolaihof
Jamie Goode - 09-Apr-2014
About this WINE
Nikolaihof dates back almost 2000 years to Roman times and is the oldest wine estate in Austria – the first documented references to wine production here date back to 470 AD. Within the courtyard of the estate, the remains of the early Christian Agipitus Basilica can be found. Here a synod, convened by the Bishop Pilgrim of Passau, was held in 985 AD.
The earlier Freihof was first referred to in 1075 as the central administrative headquarters of the Passau monastery of St Nikolai. For centuries it remained the political and ecclesiastical central point of the region.
Today a combination of tradition and strict adherence of biodynamic principles lie at the heart of the winemaking philosophy and the Nikolaihof estate is certified with Demeter. The vineyards cover approximately 20 hectares, with plantings of Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Weissburgunder, Malvasia, Neuburger and Chardonnay, though it is the Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners that have established the strongest following around the world.
The biodynamic philosophy is evident from the vineyard through to the winery and no synthetic sprays, chemical fertilisers or weed killers are used. No genetically-modified enzymes or yeasts and no artificial concentration methods are employed. Naturally occurring yeasts carry out fermentation and winery practices are undertaken only on suitable days in the biodynamic calendar (bottling is only carried out on fruit days). The results of this meticulous approach are wines that express pure varietal character and a distinct sense of place.
Grüner Veltliner is Austria's most famous grape variety. It is indigenous to Austria and is grown extensively in every Austrian wine region with the exception of Steiermark. It constitutes 36% of all vineyard plantings with the best wines coming from the north-east of the country, particularly regions such as the Wachau, Kamptal and Kremstal which border the Danube river.
Grüner Veltliner is a late ripening variety that typically produces wines that are pale green in colour and display fruit notes of grapefruits, limes, pears, and sometimes hints of white pepper. They normally possess a steely backbone of acidity which enables the best bottles to age gracefully. The grape's natural acidity accompanied by its restrained and understated fruit characters makes its wines ideal partners for food. A marvellous alternative to the more mainstream white grape varieties.
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Our inaugural Own Selection Grüner Veltliner is from the prized Wachau region of Austria. This fine example comes to us from the ancient winery of Nikolaihof, whose roots date back 2,000 years to Roman times. Organic and biodynamic fruit is from 45-year-old non-irrigated vines from the single ‘Im Weingebirge’ vineyard. The nose sings of fresh hay, sunny cereal, river stone and smoky citrus aromas; for this is a ‘Federspiel’ wine, hence the light as a feather style. Medium bodied, it’s delicate and flowing, river like, with white peach stone flavours and sapid crystalline rock minerality.
David Berry Green
The Austrian grape Gruner Veltliner has become synonymous with elegant, dry white wines for early to medium-term drinking. While neighbouring grape Riesling can be pungently aromatic and incisive, ‘Gruner’ is more restrained and softly spoken. This particularly fine example comes to us from the ancient winery of Nikolaihof overlooking the river Danube.
Our Own Selection Grüner Veltlineris actually a single vineyard wine, from the Saahs family’s ‘Im Weinebirge’ (‘In the mountains’) plot, that refers to the Dunkelsteinerwald foothills that dominate the landscape; the vineyard first being documented in 511 A.D. It’s made from organic and biodynamic fruit too, without the use of selected yeast, that lends an extra purity and transparency to the wine; the fruit of 45 year old, non-irrigated vines, giving extra intensity.
This light/medium bodied, dry white wine (3 grams of residual sugar, 6.4 grams natural acidity) is distinctly noble.
With a focus on provenance, these superlative bottles are classified by commune and highlight the fruitful collaborations between the producers and buyers, creating wines with superb finesse.. Whether from Pomerol or Meusault, Barolo or Gevrey-Chambertin, the design of each label references its region of origin, prominently displaying both the name of the estate and the signature of the buyer.
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