Domäne Wachau's 2018 Releases(from source CS)

By Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate

Roman Horvath MW is pushing the boundaries when it comes to the finest wines of the domain, the single-vineyard Smaragds. The 2018 Rieslings from the Achleiten, the Singerriedel and the Kellerberg are world-class wines, as is the 2018 Kellerberg Veltliner. The sneaking stars of the 2018s, however, are two Federspiel selections. It is fascinating to compare the great Riesling Ried Bruck from the cooler Spitzer Graben with the Riesling Ried Loibenberg from the warm east. The prices not only of these but also the Smaragds are still quite reasonable (the more so since Austrian wines are not affected by the special import taxes valid since October last year), so you will never regret having ordered a Domäne Wachau wine that belongs to the peak of what the Wachau is producing today.

Keep in mind that the Domäne cultivates one-third of the total acreage of the Wachau, even though it is underrepresented in the far east of the Wachau. However, 40% to 50% of the acreage in the cooler Spitzer Graben, respectively in the western part of the region, is cultivated by their vintners, and that's something Horvath is appreciating with a smile in regards to the series of warm vintages in the last decade. Horvath and his team prefer a cooler, lean and elegantly fruity wine style anyway, or if you like to draw comparisons, you'll find more Alzinger in the Domäne wines than Hirtzberger. Botrytis doesn't occur anyway, but if so, it is completely sorted out for the grands crus and only used if perfect for the broader and more textured base wines. Horvath sees 2018 and 2017 as the same quality level, knowing that only the future will show if one of the two vintages is even more potent or complex. Horvath also doesn't like to opt for one variety, Riesling or Veltliner, to be the star of the 2018 vintage: "Normally it should be Riesling in 2018, but I am not sure if this is really the case." We will see, yet if you ask me, I'll opt for Riesling.

The excellent quality of the Smaragd wines of the Domäne has two main reasons. First of all, all the vineyards are certified sustainable now, whereas almost 40 hectares in the terraces are currently transferred to organic farming. The second reason is the new state-of-the-art winery, especially the receiving point of the grapes and the gentle processing. The aging, however, is in the same old cellars and in stainless steel tanks, large oak vats and clay amphorae as well as concrete.

The 2018 harvest started on September first, earlier than ever before, but went until the third week of October. The selections were very strict, which declares the precision of the finest wines. In 2018, only a few noble sweet wines were selected, in contrast to the former vintage.

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