The 2003 Riesling Zöbinger Ried Heiligenstein is one of the most fascinating wines I have ever tasted from Willi Bründlmayer. The grapes went through hell in summer 2003, and although they were ripe by the end of September, they were not picked until the end of October in the snow at zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). The resulting wine is full of finesse on the nose. Bottled with 15% alcohol, the wine opens pure, fresh, very delicate and complex, with the obligatory flinty, herbal and coolish yet ripe fruit aromas. Fig chutney and potted ginger come to my mind. On the palate, this is a mature, very intense and juicy, silky-textured, gentle and elegant Heiligenstein that is warm in its fruit flavors but precise, herbal and spicy-piquant on the finish. This is a great and shining, generous and terrific wine with finesse and chamomile aromas from the nose until the endless aftertaste. Tasted at the domain in September 2020. (SR)
The sun and warmth of the vintage is apparent in the first sip of this wine, from the richly floral and fruity scent to its juicy tangerine flavor. That fruit, however, tapers off gently into a rich minerality, so earthy it recalls a freshly turned field of rich, sun-warmed soil. The flavors last for minutes, revealing more notes - flowers, spice, pepper - powerful yet graceful, even delicate. A coup for 2003.
The Alte Reben bottling from Bründlmayer comes from a parcel of forty-five to fifty year-old vines in the Heiligenstein, and the 2005 weighs in at a rather heady 14.5 percent alcohol, though at least today the wine shows cool on the backend with no signs of uncovered alcohol. The bouquet is quite closed, but deep and serious, as it offers up scents of grapefruit, a bit of tart guava, smoky tones, lemongrass and a lovely base of soil. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and pure, with good mid-palate depth, a surprisingly “cool fruit” silhouette, and a very long, transparent and snappy finish. Based on how the wine is showing today, it would seem that this wine will age quite gracefully. But I have scant experience with white wines at this heady level of alcohol aging beyond a handful of years, so despite the wine showing lovely balance at this point in time and no signs of heat, I really am not sure how well it will evolve as the fruit component begins to change with bottle age. It will be very interesting to follow this wine, as today it is impeccably balanced. (Drink between 2012-2030)
A full-bodied wine with great minerality and steely flavors along with green, grapefruit flavors at this young stage. But it is just setting out, and within 2–3 years will soften, and open up into a ripe, intense wine with beautiful yellow fruits. (RV)
The oldest vines in Heiligenstein were left to pick until last and the result displays tremendous depth and intensity. The aroma here is almost all mineral today, but one can coax out site-typical floral and herbal notes which are then reinforced on the palate, with an abundance of pit fruits, licorice, salt and pepper. Full and rich, glossy and glyceral, without in any other way betraying its 14.5% alcohol. Striking length of floral perfume and pungent minerality. Potential 2 stars.
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