All wines stored at 55° and 70% humidity
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.
This Wachau titan always works 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 this wine 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.