Generally considered Austria’s best winery, based on steadily outstanding wines across the entire range. Remarkable attention to detail for a large (by my standards at 60 hectares) winery. The wines are quite unlike any wines I know, not in their actual flavors, but rather the way flavors are presented to the palate. They are, it might be said, the Stradivarius of wines, distinguishable (and made precious) by the beauty of their tones. Indeed, I always seem to think in sonorous terms for Willi’s wines: “THE ACOUSTICS of the fruit are perfect,” I wrote at one point. You taste class immediately. Stuart Pigott described them as “silky.” I find them either lovably impressive or impressively lovable or who knows? Both.
Tasting notes unavailable.
Named for the Y-shaped trellising system that increases leaf canopy, thus shading the grapes and giving more photosynthesis. It also “looks like the vine is throwing its arms up toward the sun,” says Willi (poetically!), who adds, “And it shows that you don’t need old vines to give great Riesling.” I quite lost it here. The wine is rapturous. It’s a quintessence of all the fruits and exotica of Riesling; utter pagan orgy of Riesling. The Alte Reben is religious, but this one is orgastic.
The wine is named for the Y-shaped trellising system that increases canopy, thus shading the grapes and increasing photosynthesis. For the last three vintages, Lyra has become almost overwhelmingly beautiful. It smells like the pears in the Garden Of Eden, or like a cool cream in which yellow rose-petals and vanilla bean have been steeped. Cool and infinite; a tight nucleus of mineral and Saturn-rings of fruits, flowers and herbs. It isn’t overwhelming power—though power it has. It’s an almost devastating beauty. ~Terry Theise
This is a superb Willi-red. The fervently attractive aroma leads to a warm and generous SL that stops just short of succulence, but enacts an affectionate complexity. ~Terry Theise
First offering. And an utter contrast to Lyra. This is all herbs and stones and hay, all in an ever-shifting mosaic; exceptionally pure, Gregorian, woodsy, even spicy and minty; it’s Riesling asserting every one of its flavors that aren’t flowers or fruits. I don’t know what’s on the far side of this, nor do I insist it’s as sensually pleasurable as the Lyra, but I’m sure they only make complete sense as a unit, each fitting over the other’s shadow like a palimpsest. (A short note to my somm friends. I know your wine programs are not dissertations into the Very-Meaning-Of-Wine-Itself. Yet I also know that these two wines form a whole that’s enormously greater than the sum of its parts. And if you drink these two Rieslings together, a door is flung open and your knowledge of wine is catapulted forward as if you’d been shot from a trebuchet.) ~Terry Theise
If I had to choose one GV from this portfolio to get all up in your shit with, saying “Really? You think this grape is just trendy?? You don’t think it’s important???” I’d reach for this one. It’s doughy, mineral and powerful; amazingly high-toned for its mass; stony, but smooth stone, not gravel and not pulverized; toasty, mint and pink peppercorns; very Burgundian except again, what white Burgundy has this stony magnificence and huge solid core today? And which do you dare to lay down for thirty years?? ~Terry Theise
Lemon balm, laurel, balsam and aloe; mineral just pours through in a soaking stream, leaving an exceedingly fine-grained salty residue; the exotic sexy richness is coiled in its corner, visible and waiting. ~Terry Theise
The wine is named for the Y-shaped trellising system that increases canopy, thus shading the grapes and increasing photosynthesis. It also “looks like the vine is throwing its arms up toward the sun,” says Willi (poetically!), who adds, “And it shows that you don’t need old vines to give great Riesling.” The 2013 is graceful and massive, dense and weightless, a whirligig of complexity in which a hundred elements glide in an esoteric dance, moving quickly, stepping lightly; it is somehow both serene and hyperactively intricate. ~Terry Theise
It’s the high altitude as much as the soil (paragneiss, mica-schist, amphibolite) that gives this Grand Cru its character, and makes this the most Riesling-like among Willi’s Veltliners; this wine’s full of lime and balsam; it’s smoky and quite unlike any GV I’ve ever had; polished, glossy, intense and replete with sweet-green; creamy yet cool, like liquid marble; balsam, orchid, winter oolongs (Lishan)—all Riesling descriptors. ~Terry Theise
The flat vineyard is basically gravels over a loess bedrock, tending to give solid stony wines. This wine is certainly impressive, massive and solid, almost not ‘GV” any more. I wonder whether Vincent isn’t ‘forcing’ it into a power and density it doesn’t want to contain. A thicker mid-palate would have joined the somewhat monolithic solidity to the varietal vetiver. In the end there’s an herbal saltiness and chili-thread warmth, and all of it is brilliant, strong and intense, yet curiously not rich. -Terry Theise.
The vineyard is like a petting zoo of minerals, and the wine is a Riesling for those who do not demand “fruity” flavors. Indeed the ’15 tastes like actual caraway seeds were dissolved in it, with woodruff, dried marjoram, pine-resin, with minerality only emerging on the finish.
Now a cuvée of 10-11-12, deg 12/2014; less berried and more rose-hips; still a Blanc-de-Noir color (in other words, not pink); actually classic and wonderful fruit, in all ways more elegantly “mainstream” than before. “It’s coming closer to Champagne, but with more acidity,” says Willi. “It should convey the sense of Rosé but not the color.” It would wreak utter havoc as a ringer in
a Champagne tasting. ~Terry Theise