Alzinger - Hollerin Riesling Smaragd Wachau 2019 (750ml)


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Producer Alzinger
Country Austria
Region Wachau
Varietal Riesling
Vintage 2019
Sku 4319
Size 750ml

Wine Advocate: 94 Points

From the opposite side of the Kellerberg with a deep mix of weathered gneiss and loamy soils the 2019 Ried Hollerin Dürnstein Riesling Smaragd is clear bright intense and spicy on the rich and coolish elegant and deep nose. Based on the fruit of 60- to 70-year-old vines this is a salty-piquant vital and energetic Riesling with rich and ripe fruit concentration and vivacious vibrantly fresh mineral acidity that delivers grip and tension. Excellent indeed. 12% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in June 2021. Leo Alzinger reports on 2020: "Until August 22 it was like a picture-book summer here. The year was warm and dry but then it got relatively cold again in March which delayed the flowering. From the flowering on there was a great mix of beautiful weather with temperatures partly above 30 degrees Celsius and rainy periods. The hailstorm coming from the west on August 22 reached from Spitz to the Traisental but spared Weissenkirchen completely and the Liebenberg. In the Loibenberg the north-south lines at the bottom of the hill had the most severe damage. After the hail it became relatively nice and dry again so we got off lightly in terms of quantity. The losses are 20% to 30% but from the quality point of view we are very satisfied. Before the main harvest we picked through all the vineyards once just on the west side to cut away all the hail grapes. To make it go quickly at the end we increased our staff by 30%." Pre-selection didn't begin until the fourth week of September and the harvest lasted until the end of October. After the Veltliner there was a full week's break before the Riesling harvest?longer than ever before. Compared to 2018 2019 was significantly better in terms of precipitation distribution and also nowhere near as warm "although of course the 10-year average temperatures were then still above average" Alzinger said. "It wasn't as cool as 2010 or 2013 but it wasn't as warm as 2015 or 2018 either. I would rather say we were right between the extremes in 2019." It got cooler toward the end of August which slowed things down considerably. However it got warmer again after the harvest started in the third week of September but fortunately it stayed dry and even windy. This led to rapidly rising sugar levels especially in Grüner Veltliner which was harvested completely within two and a half weeks. The sugar rose rather slowly in Riesling which Alzinger was able to pick entirely in the second and third week of September. Both 2019 and 2020 are lighter vintages than 2018 which together with 2003 was the earliest vintage ever. "In both years we learned a lot about keeping acid alive and delaying sugar ripening" Alzinger says. What for example? "We do much more elaborate canopy management today. Whereas we used to break the stingy shoots out of the grape zone after flowering ended and also exposed the grape zone early which brought air but also allowed the sun to burn down on the grapes from both sides and later caused a rapid loss of acidity at the onset of ripening today we sting only on the east side but leave the west side dense and only shorten the foliage wall. However since air movement is always important to prevent disease you have to take out a little more foliage in humid weather than in dry but you learn that quickly. It's just more effort because the shoots naturally grow back. In any case the shading of the grapes brings massively higher acidity values especially with Veltliner which in warm years always shows tartaric acid but no malic acid. And also with Riesling I don't make UV radiation smell in my wine as it often does with Rieslings from the southern hemisphere." I still have to taste some of the finest 2020 Smaragd wines by occasion yet the 2019s already have so many highlights even among the Grüner Veltliners. Both Riesling and Veltliner from the Loibenberg are two of my very favorites of a range that doesn't show any disappointments or reflections of a problematic end of the season. Alzinger has again produced a fabulous series of wines.

Wine Spectator: 94 Points

Very pure detailed and elegant this white features elderflower peach pear grapefruit and mineral aromas and flavors on a seamless frame. Shows latent power yet feels more about finesse with terrific length. Drink now through 2030. 600 cases made 100 cases imported.

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