2009 Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Reserve Riesling, Wachau

2009 Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Reserve Riesling, Wachau image

(96 Points) “Nikolaihof’s recently released 2009 Riesling Steiner Hund Reserve delivers a scintillating, virtually mesmerizing array of high-toned floral and herbal scents of distillate-like high-toned penetration. I’m not even going to start trying to name them! Added to that are wet stone intimations of the mossy, alkaline, iodine-like and otherwise mineral elements that inform this wine’s finely, seamlessly, and complexly woven carpet of flavor. While there are gloss and silken texture present, there are also cut, energy and refreshing brightness that belie the nature of the 2009 vintage. Seeds and grains seemingly as varied as the herbs and flowers with which this wine announced itself, lend deeply mouthwatering savor as well as enhanced invigoration to almost unending primary juiciness of apple, lime and white peach. A bell-like sense of clarity permits every nuance of this amazing Riesling’s kaleidoscopically interactive oscillations to reverberate. (Pick your metaphor: on another occasion, I imagined the clarity of a pristine pool through which the interactive elements shimmered.) Plan to follow this for at least another decade.



“Despite the dry conditions, we always managed to get just enough rain,” says Nikolaus Saahs of 2012. The staunchly and long-standing biodynamic Nikolaihof prides itself on the extent to which this results in their harvesting well-ahead of their fellow Wachauer; but in 2012 it was virtually impossible to get significantly out ahead of the whole pack when many growers began picking by late September, and the Nikolaihof – in starting during the third week – were following their typical schedule. The earliest-released results – fewer than half of any Nikolaihof collection being bottled and released in the year following harvest – display the fruit-forwardness of their vintage, with less nuance or intrigue than is sometimes found already in very young Nikolaihof wines. As usual, I had my first opportunity to taste certain 2011s alongside the initial releases from 2012, and I re-tasted other 2011s in the course of last year, from which I predict that – in contrast with most Danubian Austrian estates – vintage 2012 here will prove outclassed by its immediate predecessor. Even by Nikolaihof standards, the array of late- and “Vinothek” (very long cask-aged) releases over the past couple of years has been extraordinary, and while they may be expensive, they deliver unparalleled intrigue and rarified pleasure that promise to persist in bottle for many more years.” Wine Advocate.


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