“The back label suggests shaking this up before serving, so I did,” said our pourer as he placed the glasses in front of us. Presented blind, we knew that the wine was a 2017 grüner veltliner from the Wachau, but it didn’t look like any of the others in our tasting. Neither did it taste like them, though it was bewitching in its own unique way: It feels like a cloud—a pillowy cumulonimbus filled with aroma. There’s a hint of cedar, ginger, peach skin and porcini as it scuds across the palate; with air, those notes become more grüner-like, scents of orange mingling with herbs, all of it carried with a green-apple verve. It’s clean and energetic, with a mesmerizing balance of weightlessness and fullness that would suit sushi extremely well.
Later, when the wine was revealed, it turned out to be Georg Högl’s Freigeist (“free spirit”) Grüner Veltliner. He makes it by macerating the berries with their skins for 35 days, then pressing the juice into 500-liter Manhartsberger oak barrels, where it rests on the lees for 10 months. Bottled without filtering, and with very little sulfur, the finished wine is as cloudy as a hefeweissen beer; if you prefer a clearer white, let the bottle sit upright for a couple of days and then decant.
Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.
This story appears in the print issue of February 2020.
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