Rock Dog: Riesling Holy Ground - 2014 Nikolaihof Riesling Steiner Hund

Posted by Joe Salamone

"Almost savagely intense" -David Schildknecht

When you talk to Austrian fanatics about the best vineyards, you hear the same thing: Kellerberg, Singerriedel, Steinertal and Steiner Hund.

Terry Theise sums up this sentiment nicely when he writes: "The tiny [Steiner Hund] site is doubtless one of the 5-10 greatest bits of land on which Riesling grows."

In short, Steiner Hund is Holy Ground for Riesling.

Nikolaihof's Steiner Hund may be the most mysterious (and compelling) dry Riesling in Austria and elsewhere. Each year, this is one of two or three Austrian releases that we're most excited about and buy for our cellars.

Getting your finger on the pulse of Nikolaihof's Steiner Hund is no easy task. There's always a dimension of complexity and mysterious minerality that's impossible to firmly grasp. If the wine has a clear signature, it's a rich and often creamy texture with notes that suggest minerals, flowers and earth simultaneously.

The 2014 is Stein Hund exactly as we like it. It has a complicated depth that covers everything from savory, earthy, mineral notes to stone fruits, spice, and floral notes. The radiance is a razor-like cut that nicely animates the wines haunting meatiness.

The Steiner Hund site is a small exceptional piece of land for Riesling. The "catch," however, is that this plot of land lies just outside the official boundaries of the Wachau, and as such it cannot have a "Smaragd" designation - so it goes under the cover of "Reserve," meaning simply that it is a wine harvested later and, in this specific case, aged for an extended period of time in older, neutral barrels.

This is one of Austria's most soulful bottles that only gains in fascination and outright complexity with time in the cellar. We strongly encourage you to purchase at least a few bottles to track this over the next couple of decades.

To order, email or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits