• Wachau Whiplash:  Steinertal 3-Ways

    Wachau Whiplash: Steinertal 3-Ways

    The Wachau's Steinertal is a vineyard that's long intrigued me for many reasons. Located on the eastern edge of the region, close to the start of the Kremstal, it carries a bit of a multiple-personality character. Riesling and Gruner Veltliner from this Austrian Grand Cru on one hand is fragile from frigid, whiplashing northern night winds. Yet, the steep amphitheater setting and Gföhl gneiss soils bring white peach and jasmine notes with a broad, mouth-coating texture held tightly together with a wicked edge of minerality. Within the context of the great vineyards of Austria, Steinertal's grandeur is only matched by its painfully small quantities from our favorite producers.

    Today, I'm happy to offer three examples of Steinertal from two producers who capture the site's most straight-line and regal personality,
     Alzinger and Tegernseerhof, complete with special mixed 3-pack pricing.

    These two Wachau titans always work to avoid botrytis influence (the noble rot that endows honeyed and viscous traits), making their wines extra linear and crisp. There's a mouth-watering element to each of these three that I really find myself craving more and more with Wachau wines. There's no way around it, the warming temperatures over the last couple decades have turned many Wachau wines into full-throttle powerhouse Rieslings and Gruner Veltiners. I tune out really quickly when presented with this style, as the baked fruit and higher alcohol just misses the mark for me.

    What brought me into Austrian whites from the start was their tighrope balance of bone-dry stone fruits and ultra-detailed minerality that reflected terroir from one parcel to the next. Neighboring Loibenberg may be the more famous Wachau site, but Steinertal brings a sharper focus that has always been mesmerizing for me. Quantities here are always much smaller and I try to secure as much as I can each vintage. Quantities today are very limited.

    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Summer of Riesling:  Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Edition!

    Summer of Riesling: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Edition!

    While Summer of Riesling always pulls me towards this noble variety from corners of France, Germany, and Austria, there's just something extra clarifying about the diamonds from the former Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Last night was the first of the year at home where the open windows and doors didn't quite do the trick, so I reached for a 2013 A.J. Adam Dhroner to pour alongside the local San Diego sea bass, and all was right in the world.

    These three zones in western Germany are where Riesling is endowed with the most cut and precision. Residual sugar often provides the ideal balance to counter the wicked high acidity. Though, warming temperatures have meant the dry and more off-dry styles are far more charming today than the teeth-chattering dry wines from decades past.

    The list is Mosel-heavy today, with superb value gems like the beautiful clarity found in all of the Weiser-Kunstler and Julian Haart bottlings. And, the greatest dry Riesling you've never heard of, Ulli Stein's 
    Alfer Hölle "1900", from both 2015 and 2016 - and, yes, those vines were planted in 1900! Saar's lineup is comprised of only two names. The legendary Egon Müller and today's younger rockstar, Florian Lauer. Chopin-to-Brahms, as I see it.

    And per usual, our Willi Schaefer lineup is so deep I thought it easier to embed a link to direct you to that list of dozens of wines.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen