Chardonnay - 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.
What can be added to the vast amount that has been written about Chardonnay? It is a grape that has been adored and hated, often for the very same reasons. It has been created in some areas in such a way that the name of the grape is forgotten and the area name has taken precedence. It has been blended with practically everything else and made on its own in so many different styles, often creating a trend in the market and then, just as quickly, responding to shifts and recreating itself for changing tastes. From in-your-face big bold oaked monsters to supremely elegantly crafted masterpieces, we have tried them all and all of them have been loved, at least by someone, somewhere.
It is impossible to give any generic tasting characteristics of Chardonnay as it is such a versatile grape and differing methods of vinification can lead to very different aroma and palate results.
We offer Chardonnay from France (Beaujolais, Mâcon, Burgundy, Savoie, Jura), Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Each is a fine example and each a different expression of this international superstar. Of course the less well known areas hold previously untasted secrets, Wachau, Styria, Burgenland, Weinvertel, Geneva and Valais. Forget any prejudices and long-held beliefs, this is where the new Chardonnay adventure begins.
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