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Terry Theise: Tasting Bründlmayer 2012

May 29, 2017

It was certainly plenty interesting in the 2011 vintage, a year when I’d have expected Willi’s wines to be overripe and overstated, but where they were in fact about as sublime as they have ever been. Among the Rieslings one goes all the way back to ’97 to see their equal. Fantastic, amazing. My “winery of the vintage” is barely high enough praise.

There are a lot of wines, but there are a lot of back-vintages, which is exceedingly rare in Austria, and I join Willi in our quixotically doomed attempt to wean buyers away from latest-vintage mania.

2004 Cabernet Franc “Cuvée Vincent”

I was seriously impressed with this, perhaps more than any previously tasted Willi-red. Unexpectedly ripe and gracious with a fetching aroma and a sweet-natured palate. And can you get Chinon with 12.5% alc that doesn’t have a bell-peppery stink? This is like a fine Chinon of the 70s or 80s.

2011 Zweigelt, 1.0 Liter

A pure fruit explosion; you should wear a bib when you drink it. It’s mega-ripe (13.5%) for a Liter, fabulously sappy and addictively pretty wine, all violets and huckleberries.

2008 Sekt

A delicious edition of this; “sweet” and straw and hay and pheasant breast and orange zest and Chinese 5-spice and freesia and mirabelle.  Just a little more brioche and it could pass for Champagne.

Sekt Extra Brut, N.V.

“In principle this is 2007-based,” says Willi, and honestly it’s so Marne-Valley it could almost be Chiquet. There’s more Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir in the blend to plump it up; it’s bright, open, a roll in the hay, the sweet hay. Very few Champagnes so easily manage this degree of dryness.

Sekt Rosé, N.V.

Based on ’08, as always PN-Zweigelt and St-L – boy is this pretty! Silky, careful exquisite fruit. A stylish and delicious rosé.

Grüner Veltliners

2011 Kamptaler Terassen

This has attitude in 2011; herbs and even a hint of lees; the palate is cool and minty, with a firm peppery finish. More of a textbook GrüVe than either the glowy 09 or the burly ’10.

2011 Grüner Veltliner Berg Vogelsang

As smoky as if it had botrytis, which of course it doesn’t. Boxwood and ore and shoot-smoke; juicy and pointedly spicy; Vogelsang at its most adamant and masculine, with an herbal mid-palate.

2011 Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben
2007 Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben (ABY-195)

When this is good it’s really good, and the ’11 has wonderful grip and elegance for “big” wines from this warm year; classic rusk and dried porcini aromas; salty and tatsoi and really good Pho; stern yet juicy, serious yet sensual. The ’07 gets better and better, now sweet-natured and warm. There’s also an ’08 in the wings, but bless him: we have the luxury of waiting for it. 

2011 Grüner Veltliner Spiegel 1er Lage

I only know this vineyard from Hiedler, who uses it to make lighter wines from Pinot Blanc. This wine belongs to Willi’s son Vincent, in fact, who bought the site from his father, planted with 45-50 year old GrüVe vines that used to go into the Alte Reben.  It’s a really stony GV; fennely and powerful; a wintergreeny sweetness below this megalith of steel and stone. Way to go Junior: an amazing maiden-voyage! One of the best GVs I tasted in ’11.

2011 Grüner Veltliner Lamm 1er Lage
2008 Grüner Veltliner Lamm 1er Lage (ABY213)

The word iconic gets thrown around too often, but here it applies: This is one of perhaps a half-dozen truly iconic Grüner Veltliners. The 1990 remains the single greatest one I’ve ever tasted. The 2008, which I’ve offered the past two years, is a masterpiece, just barely starting to show tertiary and woodsy tones. Built for the long haul. I always like this wine from the vintages where it struggles to be ripe.

And so I held out only moderate hope for the ’11. And was delightedly surprised, for it already shows powerfully swollen vinous-meaty aromas, quite open for a young Lamm. A whiplash of woodsy-barley richness on the tertiaryfinish; it’s like a big truffley veal chop right now, but there’s a lot of exquisiteness in store.


2001 Riesling Kamptaler Terassen

Well aren’t you a chipper guy! The wine is almost preppy. Snap to it, lad. Out in the sun in its dress whites. Crisp and starched. Ten-hut!

2011 Riesling Steinmassel 1er Lage
2006 Riesling Steinmassel

Here began a fantastically encouraging series of ’11 Rieslings, such as I have not experienced here for a good 12-14 years. This is the best Steinmassel for quite some time, capturing its fervent rocky minerality – it’s a high-up vineyard on gneiss, amphibolite and mica-schist – while being entirely juicy and approachable; redcurrant and herbal-leafiness, and if you like dry Riesling, then yummy.

The ’06 is a wickedly uncompromising fellow. I’d have been convinced if the wine had had 5-6 grams of rs; as it is, its mushroomy umami and caroby richness lead into a wine I find too dry, as if it had 75% caramel and then 25% steel. But – the wine is also compelling in its way, and you should taste and decide for yourself.

2011 Riesling Heiligenstein 1er Lage

Into its yellow exotic aromas, and with a very sexy palate; perfact mélange of steel and fruit and citrus and spice; textbook Heiligenstein – complex and delicious.

2011 Riesling Heiligenstein 1er Lage Alte Reben

I’d come to approach this wine warily, as it’s been over-endowed alcoholically for many of the past vintages. But this insane masterpiece just undid me. The alc is below 13.5, and this is every single thing this cuvée can be at its very best. Talmudic minerality, and to call its smoldering depth “chewy” implies you could chew it. I think you’d have to drill through this baby! Massive fruit, profound in every way. A wine for the ages, and (yet) another example that no wine at all comes anywhere near to Riesling.

2011 Riesling Heiligenstein 1er Lage “Lyra”

Named for the Y-shaped trellising system that increases leaf canopy, thus shading the grapes and giving more photosynthesis. It also “looks like the vine is throwing its arms up toward the sun,” says Willi (poetically!), who adds, “And it shows that you don’t need old vines to give great Riesling.”

I quite lost it here. The wine is rapturous. It’s a quintessence of all the fruits and exotica of Riesling; utter pagan orgy of Riesling. The Alte Reben is religious, but this one is orgastic.