A dense, layered white with apple, pear, flint and gunpowder aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, dry and flavorful. Bitter lemon, too. Very intense and flavorful. Drinkable now, but better in a year or so when it opens up.js
The 2018 Loibner Grüner Veltliner Ried Loibenberg Smaragd offers an elegant intense and rather coolish and flinty bouquet of ripe white fruits. With potted ginger flavors on the palate this is a full-bodied rich and concentrated firm and mineral Loibenberg with a long and intense yet pristine finish. Tasted at the domain in September and December 2019. "2018 is better than we initially thought if you like to summarize our findings in just one sentence" says Emmerich Knoll senior before we tasted through a lineup of the most recent vintage. "In spite of the dry weather and the early harvest our wines are much less abundant and due to their low acidity less broad than for example the wines of the 2011 vintage" which he describes as "above all powerful and broad-shouldered but neither fine nor elegant." He concluded his commentary by diplomatically saying "Okay we wouldn't have had anything against a little more acidity in 2018 but we don't miss it either." He also finds that even Grüner Veltliner doesn't have phenolic acidity and he's not even sure that Riesling will be ahead in 2018. The response in the press and among customers is balanced with regard to this question he reports. "Certainly however nobody would have thought that the Grüner Veltliner would at least be able to stand up to Riesling." Knoll senior sees 2018 as similar to 2017 and from the distance to 2013 and 1992. Yet unless asked he does not tend to compare vintages anyway since the character of the wine is more controlled in vinification today than in the past. In 2017 the weather changed earlier at the end of August but in 2018 it changed in September in the middle of the harvest. At Knoll the 2018 harvest began at the beginning of September and it was "anything but simple actually rather complicated" says the senior Knoll. Rot problems had already set in at the end of August and this made sharp selections necessary and forced rapid processing at temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). At Knoll too the hot midday and afternoon hours were omitted. The mash was cooled and then went into fermentation clearer than usual simply to prevent a too stormy fermentation. Also the pressing process was much gentler than usual due to the rising pH values. "The harvest was large enough" says Knoll pragmatically. The maceration times if they took place at all were also kept very short even for the Gelber Muskateller so as not to compromise its elegance and lightness. Emmy Knoll junior who finished tasting with me reported that in warm vintages such as 2018 it was important to slow down ripeness especially for Grüner Veltliner through higher yields. He was quite happy with the result yet I wasn't. To be honest I was quite disappointed by Knoll's Grüner Veltliners which I found somewhat diluted and not expressive at all. Luckily I tasted some of the Smaragd wines again in early December in a blind tasting in London and I liked them much better then. However I am still not convinced the Grüner Veltliners can compete with the Rieslings here in 2018. The future will reveal if I simply missed the right moment for these wines or if Knoll perhaps harvested too many Veltliner grapes in 2018. The vintage was generous by nature anyway. My favorites of the 2018 vintage are the Riesling Smaragd Ried Schütt (as it is almost all of the time but especially in warm vintages because the winds coming down from the creek cool the grapes) the Riesling Smaragd Vinothekfüllung and the Loibner Muskateller Smaragd.