2014 Nikolaihof Wachau Riesling Vom Stein Smaragd

Year: 2014
Appellation: Wachau
Country: Austria
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 97
James Suckling: 95
Wine Enthusiast: 94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.5%
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"From a coolish and rainy vintage and aged in large oak casks for 2.5 years, the 2014 Vom Stein Riesling Smaragd is clear, pure and fresh but also pretty intense on the nose that shows citrus and rather more white than yellow-fleshed fruit aromas. Lean but lush and intense on the palate, this is an elegant, vital and slim-lined Riesling with a persistently salty/mineral and tensioned finish. This is a very delicate Smaragd with appealing fruit that will age very well. It will never be super great, but it will always be a stimulating and enjoyable wine that serves well with many dishes. Only a little bit of botrytis here. Bottled in September 2017. Tasted at the Nikolaihof in Mautern/Wachau, September 2018." (WA)

"In a departure from usual Nikolaihof practice – given that it had by then been filtered and assembled into tank – I was offered my first taste of this wine shortly before the initial, December 2017 bottling. The wine was exciting then, and when re-tasted repeatedly in the course of 2018 had only gained in stature. Moss, lemon zest, peach kernel and toasted grain on the nose put me in mind of a relatively austere white Burgundy. But that sense of kinship dims with the emergence of high-toned hints of lavender and mint, mouthwatering ocean breeze and a sappy, juicy abundance of fresh lime and white peach juiciness on the silken palate. There are also faint hints of kirsch and mothball such as one can encounter from time to time at this address and to whose volatility some tasters might object. The finish is transparent to a veritable carpet of mineral matter – albeit a levitating, vibrantly undulating one! Crushed stone, alkali, mineral salts and iodine combine with herbal and protein-rich flavors for something approximating a blend of oyster liquor and clam stock that set my salivary glands to palpitating. And now for the astonishing kicker: This remarkable stuff filled the largest cask in the Nikolaihof cellar, with a capacity of 12,000 liters! Half was bottled in 2017 and 2018; the rest will be held back – let’s hope eventually to inform a Vinothek offering. “The only sense in which this wine needed to be bottled,” noted Saahs, “was in order to avoid Vom Stein Smaragd temporarily dropping from our price list and to make room in the cellar. It wasn’t the phases of the moon calling the shots,” he added with a sly grin. (Re-tasted alongside, the corresponding 2013 showed at the upper end of my earlier projection. But despite issuing from one of the two finest Wachau vintages that it has been my privilege to taste as young wines, that 2013 doesn’t quite reach the complexity nor exhibit the clarity and energy of this 2014 – not for now, at least.)" (VM)

"An intensely minerally riesling that combines considerable power with a slim silhouette. Finely etched dried-pear and candied-lemon flavors echo through the long, subtle finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Demeter certified. Drink or hold. Screw cap." (JS)

"This wine's earth, straw and lifted lemon scents suggest evolution. The palate, on the other hand, is dewy and fresh, with pristine and pure lemon notes. Though edged with a beeswax-like quality, its central vein of bright lemon flavor radiates freshness. It's bone dry and light, with a lip-smacking, salty and long finish." (WE)