Stairway to the cellar at Nikolaihof. Make sure to walk on the left, as centuries of foot-traffic have worn the right side into more of a slope than a stair. (photo: Cari Bernard)

A Connoisseur’s Cellar, Part Six: Alsace, Austria, & Germany

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Today's installment brings us wines from Alsace, Austria, and Germany with a healthy mix of classic and avant-garde styles represented in the lot. Happy hunting! Cari Bernard

An Important Note:

These wines are in professional-quality wine storage, and we’ve just spent 3 days there inspecting every bottle in the cellar. Because of the large volume of wines they are not available for quick delivery - we can’t bring them back to the store at one time, but we expect to take them in here over the next couple of weeks. Please inquire if you have any questions about this.

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  • $24.99

Arndorfer 2005 Kamptal Grüner Veltliner Grenzenlos

Grüner Veltliner from vines planted in 1959 on a mix of clay, gravel, and limestone soils, aged in stainless steel for five years before bottling. 

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  • Biodynamic
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Meyer, Julien 1999 Alsace GC Riesling Muenchberg Sous Voile

This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.

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  • $49.99

Meyer, Julien 2001 Alsace Sylvaner GC Zellberg Nature L'Hermitage SV

This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.

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Nikolaihof 1998 Wachau Riesling Steinriesler

Last year the Saahs' released their 1999 'Steinriesler' which was essentially a 'Riesling vom Stein Federspiel' that had been raised in cask for over ten years prior to bottling. The story may sound familiar to those who've experienced Nikolaihof's legendary Vinhotek bottlings, but all those were Smaragd-level wines; this was their first experiment with a Federspiel that had been raised in this way, or so we thought. As it would turn out, they had started the experiment earlier with the 1998 but decided it just wasn't ready to release first. Whether or not you had a chance to try the stunning 1999, you won't want to miss this. "Steinriesler" is a charming colloquial name for the grape variety**, and while the wine certainly has charm, it's also loaded with depth and dimension. Not quite as expensive as the Vinothek bottlings, but every bit as fascinating and delicious. -jfr

**It's been brought to our attention that 'Steinriesler' is, in fact, a portmenteau coined by friend of both CSW and the Saahs family, critic extraordinaire, David Schilknecht. David combined 'Stein' (a reference to both the area's stony soil and the Wachau designation 'Steinfeder') with "riesler," the actual charming colloquial name for the grape variety, and the wine's moniker was born.

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Nikolaihof 2012 Wachau Grüner Veltliner Im Weingebirge Federspiel

Nikolaihof always makes the most serious Federspiels in all the Wachau; Im Weingebirge (a vineyard-name that dates back to the 6th century) is made from 50-60 year old vines, hardly material that one would expect to find in a "second wine." The wine is substantially richer and more defined than the 2012 Hefeabzug, and with its intricate depth and creamy complexity, really gets to the heart of the Nikolaihof style. Perfect for someone who loves the wines but cant' afford to drink Smargds and Vinhoteks every day. -jfr

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Breuer, Georg 2008 Rheingau Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling

This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.

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Lauer, Peter 1991 Saar Riesling Brut Reserve

Florian Lauer and his importer keep blessing us with more and more bottles of recently-disgorged vintage Sekt and we're in love with the 1991. Like other releases, it still clearly tastes like Lauer and the Kupp but this strikes us as perhaps the most complex yet. Earthy, stony, mossy aromatics with a good dose of fruit on the palate; dried apricots, sponti flavors, really killer acid and of course, slate, slate, slate. Florian says it's fruitier than the '93; we say it's fantastic! -jfr

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Lauer, Peter 2012 Saar Riesling Fass 13 Saarfeilser GG

So our pal Florian Lauer is in the VDP now and this means that two letters have been added to the labels of three of his already excellent dry wines, GG (Grosses Gewächs, or a dry wine from a top-quality vineyard). Saarfeilser is his warmest site with the large, round stones that remind us of the galets that are so prevalent in the Southern Rhône and while it can often be his most opulent wine, it took extremely well to the cool-toned 2012 vintage. This is our favorite Saarfeilser in years and we hope you like it as much as we do. -jfr

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Trossen, Rita & Rudolf 2014 Mosel Riesling Schieferblume

This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.

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  • Biodynamic
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Weiser-Künstler 2013 Mosel Riesling Feinherb

Playful, quirky, angular, lean, and rejuvenating—the core of Weiser-Künstler's style is represented here in all its glory. A very enjoyable, endearing wine with lovely cut, tension, and heady aromatics of dried flowers. Just a touch off-dry, but with a lot of structure. Jonathan Kemp

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  • Organic

Weiser-Künstler 2013 Mosel Enkircher Ellergrub Riesling Auslese

Sensational and pure. An ethereal, light wine that deeply betrays any notions about what a 7% abv Auslese tastes like. Softly sweet, but like a juicy apple, with enough tartness and acid to keep the wine fresh and lean. Finishes with texture, minerals, and salt. Jonathan Kemp

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