FX Pichler is one of the greatest white wine estates in the world. They are ambassadors of the Wachau as one of the world’s most important terroirs. With sites like Loibenberg, Pichler’s Rieslings and Gruners are powerful, complex, and nuanced. The estate, which was founded in 1898, has been a pioneer of quality for decades. The “M” series (for monumental) is made with the ripest grapes and longest hang times such that their residual sugar excludes them from the Smaragd designation (don’t let the residual sugar fool you as these wines are dry). However, the M Riesling and Gruner Veltliner are two of the great Grand Cru bottlings of white in the world, and should be cellared alongside top Burgundy, Mosel, and Rheinhessen whites.
So, enough with the superlatives. The signature style here drives the wines through the house-style vinification process of steel ferments and ageing in 2,500 used Austrian oak casks on the lees. Many decry oak for Riesling and for good reason in most cases. But Pichler’s estate approach is ideal for their fruit weight. The touch is light and, with age, the integration of oak and fruit completes very well.
One of the best Rieslings in the world does not disappoint in the 2013 vintage. A stunning wine that is powerful and impressive now but that deserves long ageing to reveal the nuanced layers of complexity underlying its youthful power.
Even if you can’t spring for this expensive wine, any serious wine drinker owes it to themselves to taste FX Pichler, and Marquis Wine Cellars has several wines from their portfolio available. This is the first time since I started writing about wine 10 years ago that these wines have been in the BC market. Spring now and support this producer so we see them return on an annual basis.
The estate’s 10 acres is planted to 50% Gruner, 40% Riesling and 10% Sauv Blanc. The soils are decomposing slate, gneiss, and and granite alongside veins of iron-heavy soils. The Pichler Vineyards Kellerberg and Loibner are renowned for density – they sit right at the middle of two wind systems from east and west colliding right at the vineyard site. This creates extreme diurnal shifts as the source of winds shift.
2013 as a vintage led to concentrated wines due to low rainfall in July and August. This was followed by cool and wet letter in September which allowed grapes to slow maturation and harvest was in October.