A few months ago I declared a most enjoyable and very affordable Grüner Veltliner wine called ‘Little J’ my Wine of the Week. Having done so, the wine’s UK importer, Awin Barratt Siegel Wine Agencies, asked if I’d like to sample some more wines from the range, and the five bottles below duly arrived. I’ve also added my note on the ‘Little J’ for completeness. Little J’s producer is Jurtschitsch, a family-run business with three generations of Jurtschitschs involved including current winemaker Paul Jurtschitsch, though the first written records of wine being made on their farm date from 1541. Parts of the cellar originate from the 14th century. Although Riesling and Grüner Veltliner are their main products, the Pinot Noir tasted here is not a new invention: 1868 was the year the first Pinot vines were planted in the courtyard of their estate in Langenlois in the Kamptal region near Vienna. Since 2009, their vineyards have also been certified organic.
Jurtschitsch, ‘Little J’ Grüner Veltliner 2009, Austria
This has a hint of tropical fruit and even an estery banana note on the nose, some lightly custardy creaminess and a sprinking of white pepper. On the palate it is full and generous, and the flavour just bangs out of the glass with loads of apple and citrus, and again that little clove, pepper and spice background from the grape. Nicely confident and characterful stuff, it would be great with a bowl of gnocchi or pasta with pesto and chile. 88/100. £8.99, Inverarity One to One. See all retailers on wine-searcher.com.
Jurtschitsch, Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein 2010, Austria
The name Heiligenstein is derived from a medieval name, ‘Hellenstein’, meaning “hot as hell,” with reference to the sunshine on the south-facing slopes. Beautifully clear, limpid nose of fragrant apple skins and blossom, a touch of lime and a delicate spiciness. On the palate this has such a juicy, freshly-squeezed lemon and lime clarity, and although it is tight and lean, there’s lovely ripeness too. Long and elegantly framed by a mineral and citrus acidity, this is delicious, grown-up stuff. 90/100. £18.50, Corking Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com
Jurtschitsch, Riesling Loiserberg 2009, Austria
This Riesling is fermented in large barrels of Austrian oak with only natural, ambient yeasts. One year older than the Heiligenstein, there is little mineral development here, small notes of waxiness, and quite a rich feel to the fruit with lime and something a touch more peachy. On the palate it is very juicy, with a mountain-stream freshness and clarity. It seems a little more open and approachable now than the youthful Heiligenstein, though perhaps lacking a touch of its concentrated flavour. Very elegant. 90/100. Around £18.00, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner 2010, Austria
There’s a slightly cheesy note on the nose here that just muddies the freshness and herby mineral character of the wine. On the palate it is a lot clearer, and more decisively vibrant. The fruit is very dry, and the cool, underripe apple and pithy lemon character of fruit and acidity means this would probably fare better when matched to fish or perhaps a chicken schnitzel or other white meat dish. 86/100. Around £11.90, Corking Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com
Jurtschitsch, Grüner Veltliner Stein 2009, Austria
Selected grapes for this cuvée were picked at the beginning of October. Fermentation in stainless steel is followed by a period resting on the lees to add richness. There’s a tiny bit more colour in the glass, and the nose has a concentration of apple and pear skins, a little tug of orange and some background spiciness. On the palate it is a big grapefruit and lemon core of pithy, uncompromisingly dry fruit and acidity that drives this wine, but there’s a clarity about it, a hint of salty minerals that makes it subtly complex too. 88/100. Not listed in the UK at time of writing. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com
Jurtschitsch, Pinot Noir Reserve 2007, Austria
Mainly harvested from two dedicated vineyards, the wine was matured in larger, 500-litre oak barrels for 18 months. It has a lovely pale colour and appealing Pinosity with rhubarb and beetroot aromas over some spice and vanilla, and a red berry fruitiness coming through. The oak is fairly obvious, but the whole, tobaccoey picture is appealing. In the mouth this is quite a substantial style; it is not at all heavy or ponderous, but there’s a ripeness and textural weight and a chocolaty depth to the fruit. Spices and a nice sweet earthiness as well as good cherryish acidity show into quite a long finish in an impressive Pinot Noir. 90/100. £27.50, Uncorked. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com