2012 Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein Alte Reben


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Average Score 94.0

Brundlmayer’s 2012 Riesling Heiligenstein Alte Reben is among those of its vintage that combine richness with vivacity, and it also illustrates the increasing ability and interest on the part of Austrian growers to moderate must weights and hence finished alcohol, which in many recent bottlings from these old vines as well as from their younger “Lyra”- trained neighbors has proven at least a slight handicap to poise and complexity. Lime rind bitterness and sting of nettle lend near face-slapping invigoration to a wine full of juicy fresh lime and apple and tinged with stony and saline elements. From a sample of just two bottles – and thus statistically insignificant – such was my impression of this wine from a Stelvin-sealed bottle as utilized in the winery tasting room but not commercialized. From a natural cork-sealed bottle (whose contents determined my rating), it blossomed into the specific florality associated with this site and exhibited by the corresponding “regular” bottling (which was bottled solely with a Stelvin closure). Smoky hints of black tea serve for counterpoint in the nose as well as on the palate, which exhibits alluring textural refinement allied to liquid perfume – imagine the bittersweet impression of sucking on honeysuckle stems – rendering the polished yet animating palate here absolutely ravishing. The finish here represents a resonant, umami-rich afterglow of zesty, piquant, saliva-inducing and diversely mineral impressions. This beauty ought to merit attention through at least 2025 (from vintages from the 1990s, these vines have accumulated a superb track record). ||“Two thousand twelve is a perfect vintage,” enthuses Willi Brundlmayer, “with great high points but high quality throughout,” and I am certainly not going to dispute that the collection in question commences at an unusually high level even by his extremely well-established standards. Incidentally, Brundlmayer relates that he has only in recent years been laying away portions of his most important wines sealed with screw caps (a form of closure that he has been utilizing for some time in his tasting room but only recently begun marketing) and wants a few more years of experience in comparing these with natural cork bottlings before considering any major change in his routine. Wine Advocate.April, 2014

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