London International Wine Fair was an opportunity to try some new wines and catch up with old friends.
Domäne Wachau CEO Roman Horvath in London a few months earlier (see here); he was unable to make the London International Wine Fair on this occasion, but Domäne Wachau's importers, Alliance Wine, were showing a range of 2010s, plus an old favourite.
I started with two Grüner Veltliners - the 2010 mid-level Federspiel showed lots of varietal character with puy lentils, celery and white pepper on the nose. On the palate it is bright and lively with focused acidity and good minerality on the finish.
The top-level single-vineyard Smaragd from Achleiten was richer, heavier and weightier with more intensity.
2010 was a distinctly cool and difficult year for the Wachau and Lower Austria in general - as a result, the wines from this year are showing more in the way of focused acidity and precision which in turn enhances their minerality.
The Riesling Federspiel was, by contrast, more approachable and less intensely mineral. On the palate it was mouthfilling with zippy acidity.
Most Austrian stickies are made in the warm, low-lying region of Burgenland, but in a warm year such as 2008, the Wachau also produces dessert wines at Beerenauslese (BA) and occasionally botrytis-affected Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) level.
The last warm year in the Wachau was 2008 and I have been lucky enough to review the BA from this year a couple of times before.
Wachau stickies are lighter and fresher than those from Burgenland and this one showed apricot and acacia, with hints of marmalade.
Recommended wine - the dessert wine definitely gets a thumbs-up, but for a good-value introduction to Austria's signature grape from its most prestigious area, it has to be the Grüner Veltliner Federspiel.
Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel from £8.06. Imported by Alliance Wine and available from Waitrose.
Domäne Wachau - http://www.domaene-wachau.at/
Alliance Wine - http://www.alliancewine.co.uk/
Waitrose Wine - http://www.waitrosewine.com/