The Tabor Vineyard, on the southern bank of the Danube, was planted in 1857. To give some context, when these vines were planted, Austria and France were still ruled by an Emperor. Italy was not yet a unified country and the American Civil War was 4 years away. Most houses were lit by oil lamp and the U.S. only had 31 states.
Unlike most other European vineyards, which were destroyed by phylloxera (a tiny pest which attacks the root of grapes vines) in the late 19th century, the Tabor Vineyard survived because of the sandy soil which protected the roots. Vines, like people, grow deeper as they get older. The yields lessen, resulting in high levels of natural concentration in the finished wine. The roots dig far down (7 meters in the case of Tabor) struggling to bring up old nutrients which adds a potent minerality. And there is also the intangible magic of vines which have outlived empires and seen 155 summers. Deep in the heart of the wine, there is an old soul almost tangible on the palate.
Meinhard Forstreiter’s family has been making Gruner Veltliner in the Kremptal since 1868 (13 years after the Tabor Vineyard was planted). The Forstreiter’s have always been traditionalists but Meinhard has elevated the family estate to the A-List of Austria. His Gruner emphasizes structure, minerality, focused fruit and austere grace.
I am pleased to offer his Tabor Vineyard Gruner Veltliner. With only 3,000 bottles made, it is extremely limited but an exceptional example why Austrian Gruner Veltliner should be placed in the pantheon of great white wines of the world.
The nose is focused green apple, honeydew and hints of Garfunkel spices (rosemary, thyme) and even a dash of cinnamon. The palate is restrained yet bursting with hidden depth. Wet stone and fresh oranges sit atop an intriguing undergrowth of ripe pineapple, lemon grass and apricots. The finish is alight with minerality, so much so it practically sparkles. While it is an absolute treat right now, this will improve over the next ten years the same way as high-level White Burgundy.