This muscular dry Austrian riesling has an intense, tangy acidity: almost-aggressive lime and puckeringly tart plum flavors ride on the sweeping alcohol. But what's noteworthy is a charming floral quality; the perfumey chamomile notes in the core of this wine keep it from austerity.
'Wachau' on Serious Eats
At the recent Theise portfolio tasting, the Nikolaihof wines stopped me in my tracks—not just the riesling, but the Grüner and Gelber Muskateller as well. Sipping these wines, the buzz of the room blurred into the background, and the flavors washed over me: fruit and stones, flowers pressing through slate, herbs releasing their oils. So I've been hoarding this bottle, waiting for a night when I had a good long time to spend with it.
The word Smaragd means emerald—the category is named for lizards sunning themselves where grapes get ripe and flavorful. These ageworthy wines are required to be at least 12.5% alcohol—big, that is, for Austria. At best, these rieslings are focused and tart and deeply mineral—the vines have fought their way through primary rock and drunk up what's buried there.