Nigl Dornleiten Riesling 2017
Subtle nose with attractive, bright fruit, elegant lemon notes, hint of stone fruit, a little white bread, lightly spicy; an immediately appealing, typical varietal example, light-bodied, delicate structure, pleasantly juicy, a touch of residual sweetness, lemon zest, straight, crisp finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Martin Nigl is a first generation winemaker, beginning in 1985 after convincing his family to keep the fruit from their small quantity of vines and bottle it themselves rather than selling it to the local co-op. The history with grape-growing is not nearly as recent though; the Nigl family has been farming here for over 200 years.
Martin practices sustainable farming, never using herbicides or insecticides, plants cover crops of legumes and herbs, and avoids copper, a mainstay in the biodynamic arsenal, but which he considers detrimental to his vines’ vitality, and harmful to the soil.
In the cellar, Nigl works almost exclusively in stainless steel, never de-stems, uses only ambient yeasts, settles musts by gravity only, racks twice and never fines before bottling. The resulting wines are some of the most crystalline, transcendent bottlings in the portfolio.
The region of considerable geologic diversity and microclimates, Kremstal extends virtually without border east from Wachau along the Danube River. Its magnificent terraced and rocky vineyards in the west alongside Wachau include some of Austria’s most esteemed Riesling vineyards, the (Steiner) Hund and Pfaffenberg, as well as Kögl and Wachtberg nearer to the city of Krems. After Krems, the vineyards become excessively steep upstream around Senftenberg where Riesling and Grüner Veltliner thrive. Grüner Veltliner does best from here east where the soils become a mix of sand, gravel and loess.
Grüner Veltliner and Riesling together comprise two thirds of all of the Kremstal vineyards; the region itself represents about five percent of Austria’s total vineyard area.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.