A Vocabulary Impossible to Master: 1997 Nikolaihof Riesling Vinothek

Posted by Joe Salamone

A Vocabulary Impossible to Master
1997 Nikolaihof Riesling Vinothek

Nikolaihof's Riesling Vinothek is one of the more mysterious and singular bottlings in the world of fine wine.

The decision to make a "Vinothek" at Nikolaihof is made at a very young age, based on a certain potential, on a certain indescribable quality.

Once the decision is made, however, the rest is just patience. Vinotheks are held back, kept in large oak casks, undisturbed, for a very long time - well over a decade.

The 1997 marks the fifth Vinothek release and the third Riesling release.

If the 1990 became a cult favorite and the 1995 enjoyed sudden celebrity from a sterling review from the incredibly sharp David Schildknecht, then the 1997 may turn out to be the most impressive one to date.

For me, and many long-time buyers of Austrian wine, 1997 in the Wachau is one of the great vintages of the past twenty-five years.

The 1997 Riesling Vinothek shows the intensity, the precision and general completeness of the vintage very well.

Along with all of this, it adds plenty that's unique to the Vinothek bottling. It's incredibly nuanced and integrates a hugely complex vocabulary that is nearly impossible to master.The wine seems to ricochet through the natural world, bouncing from floral to earth, to stone fruits, to minerality in dynamic interplay.

Because of their unique, oxidative aging process, "Vinotheks" develop for a long time once open - in fact they very much need air. Opening this bottle many hours before you drink it, even a day before, will only bring the wine out of its shell.

This is a haunting, endlessly fascinating bottle of Riesling. There's simply no other bottle on earth like it.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits