It’s unanimous: 2021 in Austria was bloody brilliant.
There was a cold spring, a cool summer and a late start to picking that eventually kicked off during a constant, dry, sunny early autumn. It then ended gloriously with what the Bründlmayer team called a “golden finale” in late autumn.
“The 2021 vintage was for us almost perfect,” says Weinviertel organic ace Ingrid Groiss. “In years like 2021 when we harvest a little bit later, we see that the wines are really expressive and show almost gleaming fruit. And because of the great ripeness, the acidity we have in the wines is really round and ‘soft’.”
Bründlmayer‘s Andreas Wickhoff MW was likewise smitten with the fruit.“Musts not only revealed stupendous analytic parameters, they also tasted incredibly fresh, pure, highly aromatic, and multi-layered while showing even more profoundness than the charming 2020s,” he reported. “2021 has already proven excellent for our classic early releases.”
Andreas’s counterpart at Domäne Wachau, Roman Horvath MW, also hailed the “picture-perfect” autumn. “Glorious weather, filled with plentiful sunshine, dry days and cool nights — ideal conditions for the optimally ripened fruit that powers a truly grand vintage,” he gushed. “This year will be remembered for its wines of good concentration and compelling elegance and finesse, combined with depth, tremendous momentum and tension on the palate and channelling acidity.”
2021 Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Terrassen Federspiel $32
In 2021 a notably cold spring and a cool summer pushed back the growing timetable. Then came a picture-perfect autumn: glorious weather, filled with plentiful sunshine, dry days and cool nights — ideal conditions for the optimally ripened fruit that powers a truly grand vintage. This year will be remembered for its wines of good concentration and compelling elegance and finesse, combined with depth, tremendous momentum and tension on the palate and challenging acidity.
Grapes for Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen were carefully hand-picked from steeply terraced vineyards throughout the Wachau valley. Work in the vineyard takes place based on sustainable and, increasingly, organic principles, without the use of insecticides or herbicides, and grapes are hand-picked. The grapes are carefully selected and then processed in a pneumatic tank press, with the must then fermented under controlled temperature and aged on their fine lees in stainless steel tanks.
Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen is a real benchmark wine from Wachau, characterised by fresh fruit and pronounced minerality. The wine offers distinctive aromas of green apple, white pepper, hints of mango and delicate herbal notes This Federspiel is a classic example of Grüner Veltliner with its medium-body crisp acidity, juicy fruits and white spice on the finish. The name Federspiel is derived from falconry which was a very popular leisure time activity among the nobility in medieval times. The falcon stands for the remarkable elegance of these dry white wines. – Roman Horvath MW, Domäne Wachau
The nose is fragrant, with delicate and charming appley aromas. This is fresh and tight, and the fine acidity gives a tangy, almost sherbetty aftertaste. Precise and persistent, with a long, dry finish. It’s been bottled recently, but is already approachable.90 points. Stephen Brook, Decanter Magazine
2021 Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Ried Kaiserberg Federspiel $40
“Kaiserberg “(the “emperor’s hill) was the ancient campground of emperor Charlemagne, who banished the Avars from the Wachau around 800 AD. The vineyard is situated west of Dürnstein. Wines from Kaiserberg are renowned for their superb overall balance and their classical mineral character.
The grapes for Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Kaiserberg were carefully hand-picked. Our modern grape reception system enables us to select only 100% healthy grape material. Short maceration, gentle pressing, overnight sedimentation, and temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel define the vinification process. Before bottling, the wine matured on the fine lees for several weeks.
Intense aromas including white flowers, subtle hints of stone fruit and smoky sweet spices as well as elegant tropical fruits. In the mouth it is a well-balanced, fresh wine with lively acidity, flavourful fruit and well-structured salty character causing it to linger on the palate. The name “Federspiel” is derived from falconry which was a very popular leisure time activity among the nobility in medieval times. The falcon stands for the remarkable elegance of these dry white wines. – Roman Horvath MW, Domäne Wachau
From a steep, terraced slope on the west side of Dürnstein and cultivated on paragneiss soils, the 2021 Ried Kaiserberg Dürnstein Grüner Veltliner Federspiel offers a coolish and spicy, pretty smoky and herbal bouquet of white-seed fruits. On the palate, this is an intense but also structured and piquant Veltliner with a long and complex, finely bitter finish. Excellent. This is a classic Grüner with a rather coolish and stony nature. 12.5% stated alcohol. Screw cap closure.92+ points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
2021 Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Ried Liebenberg Federspiel $40
The history of the vineyard Liebenberg dates back to the 14th century. Early records mention “lieb’nperig“, which later became “Liebenberg”. The views of this south- and southwest-facing site are lined by stone walls. Liebenberg is situated in the western part of Dürnstein and has rather cooler influences compared to, for example, Kellerberg. Liebenberg is one of the most fascinating vineyards in the Wachau; various forms of paragneiss represent the parent rock for the soils. Dark amphibolite outcrops are scattered everywhere, and amphibolite is also found in the stone walls. Due to its meagre terrain, the wines are characterised by elegance and subtle minerality.
The wine shows hints of ripe yellow apple, white peach, spicy notes of pepper and subtle hints of papaya; the palate is pronounced with a salty character, juicy fruit and lively acidity that complement the long lasting and powerful mouthfeel. – Roman Horvath MW, Domäne Wachau
From a steep, terraced, south-facing slope with ancient dry stone walls and weathered gneiss soils, the 2021 Ried Liebenberg Dürnstein Grüner Veltliner Federspiel opens with an intensely mineral bouquet that is reminiscent of Prinz Salm’s Wallhausen Felsenberg Nahe Riesling Grosses Gewächs from green slate. This is very clear, elegant and complex, with vegetal rather than fruit aromas and this characteristic saline tone from weathered gneiss. On the palate, this is a refined and crystalline, finely tannic Veltliner with intense, elegant fruit. Everything here is perfectly interwoven and simply outstanding in its terroir expression. If the Bruck is the “must buy” of the domaine’s Rieslings, the Liebenberg is a star of the Grüner Veltliners. Definitely a grand cru with long-lasting salinity and finesse. Gorgeous! 12.5% stated alcohol. Screw cap closure.94 points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
2021 Domäne Wachau Riesling Terrassen Federspiel $32
Grapes from different small, terraced vineyard plots were carefully handpicked for this wine. The majority of the grapes come from the vineyards surrounding Spitz, Dürnstein and Weissenkirchen. This Riesling Federspiel reflects the unique climate and primary rock soils of the Wachau Valley.
Work in the vineyard takes place based on sustainable and, increasingly, organic principles, without the use of insecticides or herbicides, and grapes are hand-picked. The grapes are carefully selected and then processed in a pneumatic tank press, with the must then fermented under controlled temperature and aged on their fine lees in stainless steel tanks.
Present and pronounced on the nose this wine displays stone fruit, delicate lime and hints of ripe pear. On the palate there are flavours of juicy white peach and subtle hints of apricot. This wine is well balanced by a refined structure, very fresh, crisp, and plush acidity. The name “Federspiel” is derived from falconry which was a very popular leisure time activity among the nobility in medieval times. The falcon stands for the remarkable elegance of these dry white wines. – Roman Horvath MW, Domäne Wachau
The 2021 Riesling Federspiel Terrassen opens with a ripe and finely concentrated, fleshy bouquet of spicy Riesling berries intertwined with iodine notes of crushed stones. On the palate, this is a mouth-filling, intense and remarkably complex and juicy dry Riesling that is more suitable for a dinner than as an aperitif. The acidity is more mineral and intertwined with phenolics rather than racy. This is a serious wine in fact. 12% stated alcohol.90 points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
2021 Domäne Wachau Riesling Ried Bruck Federspiel $43
Bruck is probably one of the most exciting and unique vineyards of the Wachau. It is situated on the very edge of Austria’s winegrowing zone. Thanks to the particular microclimate, the grapes in the south facing and steeply terraced Bruck vineyard ripens beautifully. Wines from Bruck are characterised by distinctively cool scents and particular elegance.
The vines are cultivated on extremely steep terraces. The average yield was 2.5 tonnes per hectare. Grapes for Riesling Federspiel Bruck were carefully hand-picked at the middle of October. After maceration and temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks the wine matures in stainless steel before bottling. The distinctive “Bruck-style” is smoky with a precise structure and complex rich stone fruit aromas and exotic. The palate is balanced and elegant tasting of peach, ripe apricot and delicious apple. The persistent minerality and racy acidity are well balanced by this wine’s full body and lasting finish. The name “Federspiel” dates back to medieval times and is derived from falconry. The falcon is symbolic of the elegance and liveliness of the Federspiel wines. – Roman Horvath MW, Domäne Wachau
From a steep cru on gneiss and marble in the cooler Spitzer Graben area of the Wachau, the 2021 Ried Bruck Spitz Riesling Federspiel opens with a deep, pure and intense, very elegant and complex nose with ripe Riesling aromas intermingled with enormously stony notes. On the palate, this is a spectacular, complex and refined Riesling with great intensity and terroir expression. The term Federspiel downsizes this Riesling a bit, although it is an elegant, medium to full-bodied wine that has the complexity, finesse and intensity of a grand cru. Definitely a wine to have from this superb vintage. The aftertaste is spectacular in its mineral tension and salinity. That’s Riesling at its best! 12.5% stated alcohol. Screw cap closure.95 points. Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
2021 Domäne Wachau Riesling Ried Steinriegl Federspiel $43
Steinriegl is a southwest-facing steep vineyard in the wine-growing village of Weissenkirchen. The terroir is characterized by its proximity to the forest, the cool terraces and the rich lime silicate soils. The wines offer a firm texture, elegance and appealing flavours.
Dense and intensive on the nose, an abundance of white flowers, apricot, subtle hints of spices and elderflower; the flavours follow through on the palate, very multi-layered, the mouth-watering acidity is beautifully balanced by the flavourful fruit; a very elegant Riesling with character and strength. – Roman Horvath MW, Domäne Wachau
2021 Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Kamptal Terrassen $43
This Grüner Veltliner is a blend of wines sourced from different terraced vineyards at altitudes of 260m to 380m. The elevated terraces consist of stonier soils (schisted granite). The vines there show aromatic expression, good acidity, elegant stone fruit and lots of minerals. The lower-sited terraces mostly of layered fertile loess show more body and ripeness. By combining those two characteristics we produce a classic Grüner Veltliner with both finesse and a certain vigour.
Attractive, juvenile bouquet of fine density, pure-flavoured, fresh citrus peel and pome fruit notes accompanied by fragrant notes of hay and acacia flowers. It’s slightly yeasty, dry and super fresh with moderate body and a fine grip showing a quite firm structure; again sappy pome and stone fruit tones, hints of green tea, spice and salinity on the mouthwatering finish. Classic western Kamptal style in a great, cool vintage. – Weingut Bründlmayer
2021 Groiss Grüner Veltliner $32
100% Grüner Veltliner from calcareous loess and ferruginous soils. Selectively hand harvested in September and October in several steps. Eight hours’ maceration on the skins. Gently pressed without stems and fermented with a combination of vineyard and neutral yeasts. Aged on the full lees in stainless steel tank. – Ingrid Groiss
This gorgeously lively 2021 Grüner Veltliner is juicy yet finely delineated. The nose is highly floral, with jasmine and elderflower notes above wet stones. There’s nutmeg and white pepper, too. It has a mouth-filling juiciness but is also sleek and straight through the mouth. It’s clean and slaty and snakes along through the finish with ripples of ripe acidity.Ed Merrison, CellarHand
2021 Groiss Gemischter Satz $32
Gemischter Satz is a wine from different grape varieties that are grown together in a single vineyard. The grapes are hand-harvested together and are also processed together. It’s the most traditional way of planting in Austria. Among the varieties in Ingrid Groiss’s Gemischter Satz are Chardonnay, Müller Thurgau, Welschriesling, Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Grauburgunder, Pinot Blanc, Frühroter Veltliner, Neuburger, Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Sämling, Roter Veltliner, Grauer Vöslauer, Hietl Rote, Weiße Vöslauer and Silberweiße. The soils are calcareous conglomerate.
Selective hand harvesting in October. Ten hours’ maceration on the skins. Gentle pressing without stems before spontaneous fermentation. Aged on full lees in stainless steel tank till bottling. – Ingrid Groiss
Elderflowery note among lots of flowers on the nose. Green and yellow fruits and a touch of seaspray. It’s medium-bodied with lots of fresh juice running the gamut of yellow-green fruits, but it’s anchored by a firm, stony core with crab apple crunch and spice. Flowing yet taut in feel, with a refreshing briny twist on the finish.Ed Merrison, CellarHand