Class or excitement?


Those three words summed up a discussion after tasting Pichler Riesling Steinerthal, Smaragd 2009. This Austrian wine was elegantly bottled and looked expensive (£33 Wine Soc. – most expensive Austrian)
Once in the glass, the bright lemon colours were clear and there was some viscosity to show for the 13% alcohol level. The nose was aromatic but also reminded me of the grassy tones of a Sauvignon but there was more sweetness than that grape variety. There was none of the characteristic kerosene Riesling bouquet. (It was a blind tasting). The palate gave away its Riesling qualities – it was dry, with a gentle acidity that didn’t dominate but rather refreshed its richness. It had a weighty mouth feel and we both agreed it was a very well made, distinguished wine. It still had some years to be enjoyed before its dotage – and even then would still be attractive.
But exciting? Classy – without doubt. It had roundness, balance and even freshness, a great food wine – as well as an aperitif. But exciting – I’m not so sure of. It lacked a nervy edge which it was probably never designed to have. A safe pair of hands, beautifully manicured.


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