2006 Alzinger Riesling Hohereck Smaragd
Is this the rarest bottle in Austria?
Eh... probably not.
BUT, to me, it certainly feels like one of the rarest bottles out there. It's a wine that I've been trying and trying and trying to find, with no success...
The Hohereck is a famous little sliver of a vineyard, tucked between the Kellerberg and Hollerin, two "Grand Cru" sites of serious stature and reputation.
If the petite Hohereck has enjoyed little of the fanfare awarded the other two sites, if it has flown under the radar as it were, this is because it's essentially never been on the radar. So little of this wine is bottled that it rarely ever even makes it to the U.S.
In a way, this is its U.S. premier, and what a vintage to make an entrance! While the ripe 2006 vintage in Austria shaped more than its fair share of monuments, Leo Alzinger and his son Leo Alzinger deserve special props: Their collection, from the Steinertal to Loibenberg and everything in between, is simply spectacular.
Ripe, dense, luscious with juicy fruit, yet also, as is the style of Alzinger, meditative, calm, sown with mineral and fresh greens.
Maybe I'm a bit manic this morning, riding the high of a dazzling 1994 Alzinger Steinertal a small group of Austro-fanatics enjoyed last night at Craft Bar, but I'll say that I think Alzinger is among the greatest estates in Austria, one whose rather subtle and meditative style so often gets overlooked, lacking the obvious razzle-dazzle.
But for those who value detail, precision, clarity, there are simply no better wines coming out of Austria.
I've written this before, but for those of you who enjoy Chablis for its array of stone and rock, for those of you who thrill to the delicate, porcelain-like Rieslings from the Saar Valley, these wines are incomparable.
As with just about all Alzinger wines, these will disappear quickly. And when they're gone, they're simply gone. These are cult bottles - as with the wines of Vatan and Verset and a handful of other geeky little treasures, once these wines go into a cellar, they rarely ever see the light of day again.
Except of course, when they're put on the dinner table. There are few things better.
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