Ross' Weekly Sip: F.X. Pichler
It is not often that one can talk about the greatest producer in a given country (but Austria is small, so here one has an advantage). And while there are many great wine-makers in Austria, none is more synonymous with great Austrian wine than F.X. Pichler or as he is simply called, F.X. In fact so riveting is his reputation that one author on Austrian wine who was prompted to list the 100 greatest producers in Austria, in order of greatness, lists F.X. Pichler as #1. When one tastes the wines, you’ll see why they impress all. They are truly monumental dry white wines – each with a mouth-filling presence, finish and complexity that leaves one speechless. Since the late '90s the wine-making has been done by his son, Lucas, who has now assumed the reins. Riesling Smaragd Loibnerberg is the quintessence of rich, exotic multi-layered Riesling. His Grüner Smaragd Kellerberg and Grüner “M” are the most rich and complex expression of this unique varietal one can attain.
In 2011, when I first began my journey through the ranks of the Court of Master Sommeliers, the pinnacle grape of Austria, Grüner Veltliner, was a complete unknown to me. It was a wine that I quickly set out to experience.
Upon my first ever sip, this was a grape that I knew was special, and would someday be right at home with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in the American wine diet. All the bone-dry, zippy, summertime acidity you’d expect from New Zealand, the body (although no new oak or butteriness) that you would expect from great French Chardonnay, but with a signature white pepperiness that is totally unique to the varietal.
It wasn’t until a trip to New York in 2015 when I was first able to taste the wines of F.X. Pichler that I really gained an understanding that Grüner wasn’t just an underrated varietal, it was one of the greatest white wines on earth! At its absolute best, the ‘M’ from Pichler in my glass aligned in quality with the great wines of Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne.
While the M is extremely limited, and priced as such, the Ried Klostersatz Federspiel speaks the story of the famed estate without the extravagant pricetag! The Ried Klostersatz is now avaialbe at all three Mike’s locations, and for the connoisseur of fine wine, the ‘M’ can be had via request to email@example.com.
Mike’s Wine & Spirits
2016 F.X. Pichler Ried Klostersatz Grüer Veltliner Federspiel $32.99
2016 F.X. Pichler M Grüner Veltliner Smaragd $79.99