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Top Chardonnay from Wachau

A Chardonnay Schlossgarten 2000 Smaragd from Franz Hirtzberger was my Wachau wine of the week when I visited the estate this Saturday. No Grüner Veltliner, no Riesling. No famous Singerriedel, no legendary Honivogl – although these wines are also brilliant. The Schlossgarten surprised me most because I haven’t expected such a world-class Chardonnay in the epicentre of Gruner and Rieslings. 

In the past, I tasted and enjoyed some Chardonnay from this region. However, I was never as much impressed than this time. The Schlossgarten was in top form and at its peak when I tasted it together with Franz Hirtzberger at the winery. Fresh and ripe at the same time. Focused, dense and incredibly complex with ripe apple, pear quince aromas, walnut and honey in the finish. (By the way: Another surprise was their Weißburgunder which showed power and finesse with his blossom perfume.)

We also took the Grüner Veltliner road – after we had some of the Rieslings at the Domäne Wachau tasting the days before. The 2019 collection was impressive. The Hirtzbergers focus on full physiological ripeness – with late picking – instead of many efforts in the cellar. This fruit ripeness is the perfect partner for the freshness of the sites of the village of Spitz, which is located in the cooler western part of Wachau.  

From the lightest Steinfeder level up to the Smaragd, all wines performed exceptionally well. They show focus and the distinction of their origin. 

The Spitz Grüner Veltliner Steinfeder 2019 is the perfect wine for every day – lean, fresh, straightforward with its appealing lime aromas. 

One step up the ladder, the Federspiel 2019 adds distinctive mineral and salty notes in the finish. 

The Smaragd wines – top of the Wachau category – reveal the full potential of the region. The 2019 Grüner Veltliner Rotes Tor showed typical tropical fruit, peach, apple and honey with a long lingering mineral finish with much more future potential. How these wines are developing, showed the 2011 vintage. Quince, ananas, apricot peel and smokey herbal aromas with honey and mineral. Just lovely.

The top of the range, the Grüner Veltliner Honivogl 2019, is a wine to buy for the next generations. Refreshing acidity, very dense and concentrated still very focused, not heavy. The wine provided layers by layers of tropical fruits, spices, smoke and minerals, herbal notes with a touch of honey end in an extremely long, salty and stony finish.