Two thousand-fifteen, a stress-free vintage for growers, overflows with generous, lovely wines that belie mid-summer drought and record-setting heat.
At several stages, the 2014 growing season in Austria’s Riesling and Grüner Veltliner-dominated growing regions offered a near mirror image of conditions in 2013. Yet, meteorological opposites though they often seem when viewed on a month-by-month basis, each ended-up delivering wines comparatively high in dry extract, pronounced in acidity and low in alcohol. The deviations from the norm in 2014, though, were extreme. And only very selectively could growers achieve ripeness and depth of flavor—not to mention aromatic and textural allure—that could be compared with the norms of downright sensational 2013.
Despite a growing season marked by a dry summer that was statistically among the five hottest of the last century, Austria’s 2013 Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners display exceptionally bright acidity, clear flavor definition and uncanny complexity.
I found growers in high sprits when discussing their 2013s. After extremely low yields in both 2012 and 2010 caused commercial difficulties for many estates, the more bountiful 2013 also brought relief in terms of production levels. Given that 2014 will again be very short in volume and largely mediocre in quality, consumers should carefully scout the available selection of 2013s at their local wine shops in order to buy the best bottles while they are still to be found.
Although he prefers cooler vintages, Lucas Pichler from Oberloiben in the Wachau is pleased with 2012
Verticals & Retrospectives, Austria
Listening to Gerhard Kracher talk about his family can only be described as emotional. Kracher’s grandfather, Alois Sr., was chronically undernourished and was thus mistaken for a boy and spared by the Nazis during World War II. Kracher’s father, Alois Jr. ‘Luis’, was one of the most beloved figures in the world of wine. Luis Kracher put his estate on the map with a series of stunningly beautiful and rich dessert wines that showed the world what was possible with meticulous viticulture and inspired winemaking.
In many respects, Austrias 2008 vintage follows 2007 seamlessly.
After a vintage like 2006, which brought so many potent white wines, wine lovers should be pleased about the moderate alcohol content, vibrant acidity and elegant fruit of the 2007s.
Austrias 2006 vintage frequently brought quite powerful white wines, particularly in Lower Austria (Niederösterreich).
Had the weather gods not changed their demeanor at the end of summer and provided five weeks of beautiful sunny weather beginning in early October, Austria's 2005 harvest would have been a disaster.