There are few white wines I’ve found that are as compelling, complex, and consistently outstanding as Franz Hirtzberger’s Rieslings from the Singerriedel vineyard in the Wachau.
For aromatic depth, finesse, and its propensity to age gracefully, Hirtzberger’s Singerriedel stands among the elite expressions of dry Riesling, alongside the top Grosses Gewächse from producers such as Dönnhoff or Klaus-Peter Keller, Trimbach’s Clos Ste. Hune, or other great dry Austrian Rieslings such as FX Pichler’s Kellerberg.
The Singerriedel vineyard is a terraced vineyard in the town of Spitz along the Wachau. Another vintner with plots in the Singerriedel, Franz Joseph Gritsch, has spoken before about the challenges harvesting it — harvesting is only possible by hand, as tractors cannot be used on the steep gradient.
There’s little ‘earth’ in the vineyard, but rather many varieties of stone including gneiss, mica and schist. The slope and terracing of the vineyard allow for all the Riesling vines to enjoy great exposure to sunlight, and Hirtzberger’s wines from this vineyard always manage to come across with a sensation of high ripeness and concentration even in cooler years, while at the same time conveying a finesse and elegance found in few other dry Rieslings.
Though the wines are rarely cheap, they’re some of the most thrilling and age-worthy white wines I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy, with powerful, ripe fruit and florality in their youth, and more savoury, complex and mineral flavours developing with time in bottle.
Tasting notes follow below the fold.