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Terroir-Transparent, Über-Refreshing Grüner from Alzinger

Stylized image of Alzinger, Durnstein Federspiel Gruner Veltliner, 2022
The Danube forms in Germany’s Black Forest, thanks to the confluence of streams flowing down from the Alps. It then heads east, across Southern Germany, and enters Austria. Shortly before arriving at the first of the several great European capitals that it nourishes – Vienna – it carves out a deep, snake-like valley, with terraced vineyards rising up on its northern banks. This is the Wachau.

At the bottom of those terraces you find, of course, deposits from the great river. Many of the pebbles here have already traveled for hundreds of miles, and are therefore nicely rounded. The pebbles are mixed in with gravel and gneiss. On its surface, there is loess – loose, silty soils deposited by the wind – that are considered perfect for Grüner Veltliner.

This is the center of Leo Alzinger’s universe. His winery is Unterloiben, just around a bend in the Danube from the village of Durnstein. Walking from Alzinger’s winery into his Dürnstein vineyards, you will come across some of the greatest names of Austria, like Pichler and Knoll. Among these giants, Alzinger’s stands out for their transparency and purity. They are less opulent, and more refreshing.

In Durnstein, Alzinger produces Grüner Veltliner from a number of the parcels grown in the Danube’s river banks. Made in a lighter, Federspiel style (a Wachau designation used for wines between 11.5% and 12.5% alcohol), it is zippy and pure Grüner: lime, lemon and white pepper, framed by sizzling acidity.

This is an ideal warm weather white wine. Get your bottle nice and frosty in the fridge. Pair it with a plate of olives, or maybe a bowl of potato chips. Refresh.


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