Riesling - Leo Alzinger
Leo Alzinger is based in Unterloiben and is without doubt one of the true Wachau superstars.
This fine estate makes superlative single vineyard wines from premium mountain sites including Loibenberg, Steinertal, Hollerin and Liebenberg, with soil types including sandy loam and eroded primary rock.
The estate totals about 8 hectares and production is very small at just 5000 cases per year. Grape varieties are 55% Grüner Veltliner, 40% Riesling - there used to be Chardonnay but it is gone, we have some of the last worldwide and it is truly magical.
There are in fact two Leo Alzingers, Father and son, with Leo Junior having joined his Father in 2000 is now in charge. The third generation has a few years to go yet...
Whatever the generation, Leo Alzinger's wines are simply awesome. They are right up there with the very best the Wachau has to offer and deserve every bit of attention they get. The superstar status is well deserved, yet this remains a small family business embodying individuality and an unceasing quest for quality.
A mature Alzinger wine is a joy to imbibe, if somewhat hard to come by. Alzinger's wines are bottled quite late by Wachau standards, often in June or July, while the Wachau rules permit earlier release of Smaragd wines to the market on 1 May.
Many would say Riesling is the best wine grape in the world. It is certainly one of the Great Whites.
German Riesling (Mosel)
The Mosel is Riesling country at its best, exquisite wines that are full of fruit.
Vineyards cling to the banks of the river. The steepest valley slopes make the best wine, and mankind has found the best spots over the centuries. The region has many unique sites and styles. In general, however, the wines are characterised by a minerality and citrus acidity derived from the slate soils. The fruitiness is more exotic and, with age, come the mineral notes often tagged as "petrol" (to me, it always smells more like beeswax).
Our reference for the Mosel is Patrick Philipps in Graach. Taste his Auslese and know this is what Riesling should be. In Erden we have found perfectionist mineralist Schmitges. Both Philipps and Schmitges make a full range of fabulous wines but, as a rule of thumb, one has a perfectly balanced edge on the sweet wines and the other's perfectionism shines in the dry wines. Further upriver the Kollmann-Becker family offers a great introduction to German wines.
Riesling is fussy about where it is planted but it thrives on many outstanding sites in Austria. Fine Rieslings are typically dry and substantial, yet have a raciness and delicacy that is second to none. The minerality in these wines is also very distinctive. A peachier, floral side of Riesling often comes out.
We have many fine Rieslings from Austria. Wachau's Leo Alzinger is legendary world wide. The Waldschütz Rieslings are possibly the best wine for your money in our entire catalogue. Diem's Rosenhügel is a masterpiece of subtlety. Arndorfer gives it a touch of oak. Buchegger makes warm filling Rieslings - and there are a few more to explore.
Riesling Federspiel Dürnsteiner Leo AlzingerEntry level Alzinger is already a Riesling to behold
Riesling Smaragd Steinertal Leo AlzingerThe Riesling lover's cult Riesling
Riesling Smaragd Hohereck Leo AlzingerAlzinger is a Riesling superstar.
Riesling Smaragd Loibenberg Leo AlzingerThe warmest of Alzinger's location so the riper, fruitier of them all
Riesling Smaragd Hollerin Leo AlzingerAlzinger is a Riesling superstar. Hollerin is a sweet spot, more complexity but still a good price
Riesling Reserve Leo AlzingerBest after 20 years, but sooo good now.