You are using an old browser that may not function as expected.
For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member

Throughout Lower Austria, the Veltliners coped noticeably better with the 2014 vintage conditions than many other varieties, which is particularly often evident in the Wachau in comparison to the Riesling. Although many top producers did not present any wines to us this year, mainly because the quantities were already quite small, the wines tasted should be quite sufficient for a meaningful overview.

Accordingly, even the Riesling Smaragde wines of some high-class producers and from famous vineyards were not as expressive as usual, in contrast to the consistently convincing Veltliners. At times they seemed rather sparse and acidic, sometimes even slightly green. All the more remarkable is the performance of the successful estates this year. Because there are also first-class Rieslings in the Wachau in 2014, you just have to look for them a little more thoroughly.

Riesling: mixed with tops

Rudi Pichler presented us with the widest range of Rieslings this year. His Federspiele and also the "smaller" Smaragde are consistently good to very good, but cannot reach the class of the best years. The situation is different with Kirchweg, Hochrain and the magnificent Achleiten, a highly elegant, bone-dry, deep and complex top Riesling that is rarely found even in very good years.

The Smaragde from Steinriegl and Freiheit by Johann Schmelz are hardly less impressive, although they are, as always, somewhat more powerful and expressive than the Pichler versions, without being heavy. Högl, too, has another Riesling in the Wachau top range to offer with his "Vision", which does not seem completely dry, but should be left in the cellar for a few more years.

Other very good representatives of the vintage are the two Setzbergs by Johann Donabaum and Josef Gritsch, Roman Gritsch 's Tausendeimerberg, Högl's Bruck and Josef Fischer's Kirnberg Reserve, a wine from Rossatz on the other side of the Danube opposite Dürnstein. Also highly recommendable and extremely affordable are the "Point" from the Deim winery in the Kamptal and the Silberbühel from Edlinger, another wine from the right bank of the Danube, this time from Mautern, directly on the border to the Kremstal, where the winery consistently produces solid to very good wines at consumer-friendly prices.

All currently tasted Wachau Rieslings can be found here.

Grüner Veltliner - all good

Rudi Pichler is also ahead in Grüner Veltliner this year with his Achleiten, closely followed by Hochrein from the same winery, Wolfgang Bäuerl whose Veltliner Smaragd from the legendary Kellerberg 2014 has a completely different class than the corresponding Riesling, as well as Johann Schmelz with a first-class, densely woven Höhereck and Josef Högl with his Kaiserberg. Behind them, there is another Veltliner by Rudi Pichler, the Köllmütz, Johann Donabaum's Kirchweg, which still has room for development, and another wine by Schmelz, the Pichl Point.

The Veltliners often performed convincingly below the Smaragde level. Karl Stierschneider 's Federspiel from Achleiten is just as wonderful a wine as Rudi Pichler's "Terrassen" or Roman Gritsch's already outrageously priced Gasselreith. Johann Donabaum's Point and Bäuerl's Loibenberg are also a pleasure to drink.

Some reserves, including semi-dry wines, regularly come onto the market with a certain delay. The 2013 Veltliner Smaragd from Josef Gritsch's winery is a great wine that does not need to hide from the best wines of much more famous wineries. Even more powerful and also rather old-fashioned are Schmelz's 12 Pichl Point "33" with its clear liquorice aromas and a certain ginger pungency, as well as Karl Lagler's semi-dry "Edition Traditionell" from the same year, in which depth, complexity and clear minerality well outweigh the high alcohol and sweetness.

You can find all the Wachau Veltliners currently being tasted here.

Pinot Blanc - no reason to complain

Among the Pinot Blancs, Lagler comes up with a very similar wine: a 2011 semi-dry reserve from Hartberg, which is also quite powerful and melting, but has developed amazingly well since the last tasting about two and a half years ago. The best 2014 Pinot Blancs from our sample once again came from Pichler and Schmelz, but Christian and Romana Eigl with their Kollmitz Smaragd and the Krems-based Malat winery with its Am Zaum from Mautern also stood out positively.

Click here to see all the Wachau Pinot Blancs currently being tasted.

Related Magazine Articles

View All