Nigl Freiheit Gruner Veltliner 2019
Freiheit shows pear and lime peel notes as well as floral and grassy components, with a clean mineral finish.
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.
Fun to say and delightfully easy to drink, Grüner Veltliner calls Austria its homeland. While some easily quaffable Grüners come in a one-liter—a convenient size—many high caliber single vineyard bottlings can benefit from cellar aging. Somm Secret—About 75% of the world’s Grüner Veltliner comes from Austria but the variety is gaining ground in other countries, namely Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the United States.