If you’re a fan of dry Rieslings, the wines of Austrian producer Nigl are well worth seeking out, along with its whites made from the country’s other signature grape, Grüner Veltliner.
Martin Nigl’s Piri vineyard is not along the Danube River, where most of the top sites in the Kremstal region lie, but a few miles up the Krems Valley. The Privat bottling comes from grapes harvested late, giving it the weight and richness of a Smaragd from the neighboring Wachau region.
I bought a few bottles of the 1999 Privat Riesling when it was released in 2001, for $45 a bottle. The problem was keeping my hands off it for a few years. After the last bottle I enjoyed, in October 2003, I made a note to leave it at least another two years.
Now, more than eight years later, this Riesling boasts a rich golden hue and a bouquet of spring flowers, beeswax, peach and apple tart. It has mellowed to a rich patina of stone fruit flavors, allied to creamy texture, with fine lemony cut and a lingering finish. 93 points, non-blind.
The Privat was a delicious accompaniment to lemon sole poached in white wine, roasted Brussels sprouts and a simple heirloom tomato and avocado salad dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sadly, it was my last bottle.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Nigl Riesling Qualitätswein Trocken Kremstal Senftenberger Piri Privat 1999 (93, $57).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Rieslings from Austria.