2015 Nikolaihof Hefeabzug Grüner Veltliner Wachau

SKU #1285340 92 points Vinous

 Bottled off its lees, as its nickname implies, this now has tough competition from a second cask of the same base wine that was bottled unfiltered under the nickname 'Zwickl.' (See my accompanying review of that bottling.) But this Hefeabzug is quite distinctively delicious. Chamomile, hay, artichoke, lima bean, cucumber, cress, crunchy apple and nearly ripe Bartlett pear combine on a fetching nose and buoyant, silken-textured, infectiously juicy palate, leading to a luscious and refreshing finish tinged with saliva-inducing salinity and invigorating impingement of chalk and stone. This isn’t the first Hefeabzug installment to have (barely) cracked 12 percent alcohol, but is nonetheless delightfully buoyant as expected. Nor has the extra ripeness of this vintage in any other respect compromised the characteristic virtues associated with Nikolaihof Hefeabzug, the best installments of which can age impressively. (DS)  (2/2017)

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Price: $22.99
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Gruner Veltliner

- Grüner Veltliner is the most widely planted grape variety in Austria, making up about a third of all the vineyard land in the country, according to importer extraordinaire Terry Thiese. The varietal has definitely increased in popularity of the past few years, as sommeliers and wine directors loaded their lists with this spicy white because it pairs well with so many things. Its bouquet has been described as floral, tending to toward musky, with hints of peppery greens, lentils, citrus and red fruit with a distinctive mineral quality. In the mouth the wine can be broad or precise, but is almost always distinguished by bracing acidity and flavors that mirror the nose. A notoriously good ager, you can drink GrüVes in their youth, or let them evolve in complexity in your cellar.


- Austria is a well-respected wine-growing region in Europe. Yet, even though they make about a third the volume of wine as Germany, not many of these fine bottles make it to the shelves of American wine merchants or restaurants. Lucky for us, their anonymity has translated into incredible value from simple, everyday whites to exquisite dessert wines. Austria shares many grape varieties with Germany—Riesling is king here, too. But the style of Austrian whites is much dryer and more potent. Grüner Veltliner is Austria's second-most-important varietal and makes whites of great versatility and pleasure.