F.X. Pichler, an estate in top gear

F.X. Pichler’s Gruner Veltliner 'Unendlich' 2018 (Lot 1233) is the first Grüner Veltliner to achieve 100 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate:

"Fermented and aged in 500-liter tonneaux, the 2018 Grüner Veltliner Unendlich is intense in its radiant lemon yellow color. Aged on the full lees for a year and assembled about four weeks prior to bottling, the 2018 opens with a very intense, complex and finely oaky bouquet of concentrated pineapples, ripe stone fruits and some dashes of fresh lemon juice. Full-bodied, rich and round on the palate, with remarkably fine acidity and precision, this is a very intense, powerful and creamy-textured Unendlich with tropical and hedonistic fruit aromas but this precise and sharp Kellerberg acidity that cuts like a laser sword." (Stephan Reinhardt, RP 100, 2021)

Lucas Franz Pichler is the 7th generation in a family of winemakers and has been based in the Wachau for 5 generations. The family makes incredibly dry white wine, mainly from Grüner Veltliner but also from Riesling, Gelber Muskateller and Sauvignon Blanc.

Since 1999, Lucas Franz has been in charge of making the wine and Together with his wife Johanna, they run the entire company from 2009. The company is sailing a successful course, doubling in size from 10 to 20 hectares in the last generation of ownership, continuing an organic approach to winemaking and earning praise from wine lovers and critics.  

The Wachau
The Wachau in Austria is one of Europe’s classic wine regions. The charming, terraced vineyards known for their Grüner Veltliner and Riesling located along the Danube cover 1,350 hectares and are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (like Saint- Émilion, but a quarter of the size!). 

Wachau wines already enjoyed international fame in the Middle Ages, but viticulture in the area is much older. Over time, the area steps out in different ways. Today, many top winegrowers are united in the Vinea Wachau. Through the Vinea, they promote the area through shared standards of quality, provenance and purity.

Traditionally, the wines have been categorised as  "Steinfeder", "Federspiel" and "Smaragd" (Emerald), names that refer to distinctive rocks, plants and animals in the area. Each category denotes a distinction depending on the ripeness of the grapes. Thus, the ripest grapes from the finest plots end up in Smaragd wines. However, the use of these names is under pressure due to climate change.

Setting its own course
With global warming causing the grapes to fully ripen each year, the Pichler family finds traditional qualification in the Wachau by ripening obsolete and prefers a designation analogous to the French AOC-system. As a result, Pichler left Vinea Wachau in 2020 and the names Smaragd and Federspiel are no longer found on the domain's labels. 

This must not have been an easy move, as the family was at the forefront of the founding of Vinea Wachau along with several other great Austrian winemakers.

Sailing its own course is nothing new: where in the 1980s the Wachau made mostly light wines, the family prefers full-bodied and complex wines. And it is precisely this style that the international wine press has been praising for years.  

At the auction
You can find 5 bottles of the spectacular Gruner Veltliner 'Unendlich' 2018 offered in the upcoming auction (Lot 1230) and examples of Smaragd in Lots 1231-1233 

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