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The father and daughter duo of Rainer and Christina Wess have really raised the bar with the 2020 vintage of this consistently excellent dry white wine. Along with the ever-present juicy stone fruit, lemon and spice aromas, there is added complexity of delicious struck-match, flint and vanilla pod. The palate is rounded but brilliantly fresh, with notes of lemon curd, gingerbread and peaches. A wine which offers something for everyone as it is both complex and absolutely charming.
Product Code: AA3261
View all products by Rainer Wess
Rainer initially studied oenology at Klosterneuburg in the 1980s, and then went to work in various vineyards in Bordeaux. He moved back to Austria in the late 1990s and fell in love with the vineyards of the Wachau and Kremstal, finally purchasing vineyards of his own in 2003. He purchased 10ha of vineyards in both Kremstal and Wachau. From the outset the focus was on riesling and grüner veltliner, and carefully trying to match these varieties with the perfect plots within vineyards so that the wines might express great terroir. The vines are farmed very carefully with little if any chemicals used, and at harvest the grapes are hand picked. The winery is housed in a monastery’s ancient cellar right in the middle of the famed Sandgrube vineyard in Krems. Rainer added a new gravity-flow grape-reception facility to the old building in order to ensure that grapes were processed in the gentlest way possible, without pumps. The juice and wine is carefully handled without any oak, enabling very fresh and pure wines to be made.
Austria has a long history of making fine wines, but with the country’s wines undergoing a renaissance in recent years, now is arguably the best time to get to know the diverse and delicious bottles on offer.There is evidence that vines were being cultivated in Austria for the production of wine by the Celts, even before the Romans. Austria was, rather surprisingly, the third-largest producer of wine globally in the 1920s, mainly producing and exporting simple light white wines. In more recent times the country has had to deal with the infamous ‘anti-freeze’ scandal of the 1980s when a handful of bulk producers were found to have adulterated their wines with ethylene glycol to sweeten their wines. The problems of the 1980s hit the country’s industry hard, but also had the effect of initiating the most wide-ranging quality control measures being implemented to ensure that this sort of disaster could never happen again. The industry was further reinvigorated as larger and less quality-oriented producers went out of business, leaving old sites available for a new generation of winemakers and the original fine winefamily producers.Austria's wine regions are confined to the east of the country where the Alps settle into the great Pannonian Plain, running north to south along the many borders from the Czech Republic in the north to Slovenia in the south. The climate here is continental, characterised by cold winters, hot dry summers, and often a large diurnal temperature flux with hot days, and cold nights. This is perfect for ripening a large range of grape varieties and retaining acidity and fresh aromas in white wines.Broadly there are three major regions: Niederösterreich in the north, Burgenland and Steiermark to the south. Within these regions are a further 16 smaller DACs (Districtus Austriae Controllatus).Niederösterreich (27,128ha) is known for high-quality white wine production, and most of the vineyards are focused along the banks of the Danube and its tributaries. Nearly half of all vines in this large area are grüner veltliner although world-class rieslings are also produced. Sub regions to look out for here include Kamptal, Kremstal, Wachau, Wagram and Weinviertel.Burgenland (13,840ha) is the area of vineyards focused around Lake Neusiedl – Central Europe's second-largest lake which straddles the Austrian-Hungarian border. Full-bodied and rich red wines are produced under the influence of the hot continental climate. The complex soil structure throughout the hills surrounding the lake, the various aspects available and large diurnal temperature change allows fine mineral-driven reds to be made. The reds produced use local grape varieties which are suited to the terroir - look out for blaufränkisch, zweigelt and St Laurent. The natural humidity caused by the lake can also lead to high levels of botrytis making this an excellent source of high-quality dessert wines.Steiermark (Styria) (4,240h) the smallest Austrian area is developing a great reputation for its steely sauvignons and fresh aromatic white wines. Although many of the best wines are made in such small quantities that they are never exported, this is a region to watch.In terms of grapes, grüner veltliner, native to Austria and Central Europe, is the king of the whites in terms of volume. It is turned into everything from light, thirst-quenching wines to complex barrel-aged stars. It is a great food wine and is finding its way on to many more restaurant wine lists around the world.Riesling is less widely planted, at only 5% of Austria’s production, but makes some of the country’s finest wines, particularly on the steep slopes of the Wachau Valley along the banks of the Danube. Riesling's common style in Austria is bone-dry, elegant and steely with fresh citrus flavours.Chardonnay (sometimes locally called morillon) and sauvignon blanc are increasingly planted and are already showing themselves to be hugely promising. The highly aromatic scheurebe, a German import, has a foothold in Steiermark making peach and blackcurrant-leaf-scented wines that marry well with spicy foods.Reds make up about a third of Austrian plantings. 13 varieties are permitted, including both the dominant indigenous varieties and those more recently introduced such as cabernet and pinot noir. Zweigelt is the most commonly planted, making up 15% of Austria’s red vines, and is a 1920s cross between blaufränkisch and St Laurent. It makes relatively light reds generally, with sour-cherry and redcurrant flavours supported by fine tannins and a spicy linear finish. Blaufränkisch (pronounced blaou-FREN-kish) is a late-ripening indigenous variety can create wines with dense tannins, high acidity and concentration that can age well for many years. Generally the wines have notes of blackberries, ripe cherries or plums. St Laurent wines are often confused with pinot noir as they can have a similar profile: red-berry perfume, light elegant and crisp. However, St Laurent is often used to add elegance to a blend.
The 2020 vintage in Austria will go down as a vintage which produced wines with a particularly impressive ageing potential. It was a long and cool vintage, resulting in wines with an incredible freshness, focus and structure.
"Really pleased I tried this one. Nice balance with the acidity bringing crispness and not being overpowered with alcohol. Noticeable herbaceous aroma’s mixed delicately with white pepper and ginger. A grape variety (and country) I will likely explore further."
I would recommend this wine
"I found the 2020 Wess GV to be a more intense wine than the '19, very much as the WS description. I'd be careful not to overchill this, as that can mask some of the complexity that sets this apart from generic offerings.
As with previous vintages, I think that the own-label GV is perhaps an easier introduction to the style, but there is no doubt in my mind that this offers a brilliant price/quality balance and I am happy to recommend it."
"I am a BIG fan of this wine... at least I was of the 2019.
I may have been unfortunate with the bottle of 2020 that I had this evening, but it wasn't a patch on the 2019's
Having quite a few bottles of the 2020 in my home stock, I hope the others live up to the previous vintage that I really loved !
Has anyone else tasted both and have a view ?"
There are no press reviews for this product.
"Delicious off-dry GV. There's a definite honey-edge to it (or honeysuckle?) and I enjoyed it very much. £9.95 is not cheap, but there are plenty of white wines in that price bracket that don't offer this level of complexity. Recommended."
Mr T J Wharton (27-Feb-2021)
"Crisp, lightly mineral nose of hops, green apple and something floral (honeysuckle?)
ZIngy and acidic in the mouth, lime coming through as the strongest flavour, with some white peach and the typical white pepper finish.
Decent enough but there are better GVs for the price."
Mr Addam Merali-Hosiene (17-Feb-2021)
"Got this from a fellow member who didn't like it. This wine is perhaps better with food than to drink on it's own. More pinapple than stone fruit I thought with the strong spicy aftertaste very pleasant. Would buy again (or accept an unwanted bottle)."
Mr Nic Romano (01-Feb-2021)
"I really enjoyed this wine. It has good acidity, is very fruity (pineapple??) , fresh with creamy roundness. I am not familiar with Gruner Veltliner, I had expected something more 'Germanic'. It is opulent, classy and has character; well worth the price. I would drink it both before and with a meal. Sadly it did not appeal as much to my wife; too much flavour, I suspect. "
Mr Chris Grove (14-Jan-2021)
"Lovely wine. Not too acidic which is always a negative for me with white wine, but nice and smooth and tasty."
Mr Mark Bowden (10-Jan-2021)
"I would agree with many of the the comments on other reviews - this is more complex than the Society's Grüner Veltinger but nonetheless high-quality and enjoyable to drink."
Mr Joseph Spencer (04-Jan-2021)
"We drank this with a Keralan curry this evening and it paired well. Ripe stone fruit well balanced with roundness in the mouth and really good length. Highly recommended"
Dr David Manley (08-Nov-2020)
"It's really interesting to compare this with the Society's own label Gruner Veltliner from nearby Stadt Krems. The Wess offering is a fuller wine, and perhaps is a little less approachable for newbies to GV. However, I have no doubt that this is an excellent wine for the price- maybe a bit more food-oriented than the WS own label. It certainly stakes out the territory for Gruner V as a high quality wine to be compared to mid-level Burgundy. I'd also recommend the excellent presentation from Christina Wess and Freddy Bulmer on the Society's YouTube channel if you want to know more about this grower."
Dr Robin W D Mitchell (06-Oct-2020)
"Hm -- well I like Riesling so I thought I ought to give this a go, based on the many 5 start reviews. Sorry, but this is one of the most disappointing wines I've ever had. Flabby and tasted a bit like boiled sweets, no grip, nothing to cut against food. "
Mr T Penn (29-Sep-2020)
"Found this Veltliner heavily front ended ..almost pure Riesling. Contrary to description I did get some Oak, otherwise a tad vacant. May need types of foods to release.. lively blue cheese ? I have found some better VL's at a lower price point. Overall will probably not order again, reasonable quality though in this price bracket, had four bottles to test but our first conclusion was pretty consistent with the last."
Mr Andrew Purdie (16-Aug-2020)
" Avery good GV for the price in fact its probably better than some GV's with a bigger asking price does everything a GV should do very well balanced quite spicy with a hint of pepper the signature notes of a top Gruner my only thought was it maybe be a better wine in 6-12 months superb"
Mr Jonathan Wilson (05-Jul-2020)
"Bright and sappy but also has richness, complexity and length. Delicious. Classy GV, beautifully made and very attractively priced ."
Mr David J R Milner (29-Jun-2020)
"I've had several hundred wines from TWS and never been moved to leave a review; but this wine is a puzzle. It's £9.95 and there've been three 5* reviews. For me it was a simple peach-juice-kinda-wine with no length, and so little interest that I can't actually describe it. In a blind tasting I'm not sure I would have known it was alcoholic. It might work at breakfast with cereal.
But my wife liked it so I've upped it from one star to two. (Though I'd have given it two or three stars at a lower price point.)"
Mr Steve Pine (29-Jun-2020)
"A deliciously good example of Gruner Veltliner. Crisply refreshing, with subtle undertones of pepper and spice which enhances the fruit taste. Highly recommended."
Mr Charles Allen (18-Jun-2020)
"A first rate Gruner Weltliner - well worth the £1.45 premium over the Society's own name version; yet to try the Exhibition version!"
Mr Richard De-Peyer (12-Jun-2020)
"Absolutely quality wine. Dry and smooth, great with Asian flavours. Would absolutely drink again and recommend. "
Mr Christopher Scott (23-May-2020)
"Pear and pepper - very classy but not exactly to my taste."
Dr Pippa Lane (12-Apr-2020)
"Crisp, acidic, fresh. As other reviewers have noted, lovely pear notes. A nice balanced wine with a moreish flavour. "
Mr Nicholas Jones (11-Oct-2019)
"Lots of impact when first opened - my wife could smell it from across the sofa - and followed up with excellent pear & nectarine flavours. Slightly sweeter than I anticipated."
Mr Colin Mitchell (16-Jul-2019)
"Very good indeed: typical pears and pepper flavours. Real "texture" on the palate, which is rare for a white. An excellent and serious wine and very good value!"
Mr Adam Alcock (30-Jun-2019)
"White pear, white blossom, melon skin and the most delicate of tarragon notes on the nose giving way to the soft pear like peppery plate with a streak of dry lime running through, the initial peppery dryness is balanced by a slightly honeyed weight and linear acidity. A nice characterful example at this price level exhibiting Gruner personality."
Mr Alexander Lomas (10-May-2019)
"Really enjoyed this Gruner Veltliner, every bit as good as those we had on a recent ski holiday in Obergurgl. Will definitely buy again."
Mr Richard Mansell (08-Apr-2019)
mailplus.com (21st Mar 2020)
I'm going to say I think it could be the best
value white wine on the UK's shelves. The reason I say that is because the
wine itself is thrilling. Grüner veltliner tends to be citrussy, a little bit
peachy, you can have a little bit of spice in there (some people think it
tastes like white prepper or cress); the point is it's invigorating and it's
enticing, and this winery are doing an exceptional job. Joyful! It's so
refreshing - if you've ever enjoyed any grape variety like sauvignon blanc or
pinot grigio, give grüner a chance - it's a magnificently refreshing grape
variety in its own right, but it's also sensational with food. Olly Smith
"Very neutral nose, slight spritz on the tongue, good acidity, but tasted a little off. The white pepper finish was there though
Mr Matthew Utting (05-Jul-2020)
"Floral, peachy and a little flinty. A little petillance too, which works well. Not as dry as the blurb suggests, more medium dry. Finish is a bit strange and sweetish. Pleasant but not in a hurry to do it again. "
Mr John Lay (10-Feb-2019)
"An interesting wine, but may take a few Gruner lovers by surprise. The low intervention of pesticides etc give a natural flavour that has a hint of beer..."
Mr Matthew Glynn (16-May-2018)
"Creamy and crisp all at once, initial burst of tangerine, summer flowers,honey and beeswax, quite full flavoured and ripe for a gruner."
Ms Leah Newman (01-May-2018)
decanter.com (6th Jun 2018)
"Quite firm at first,
but the white stone fruit and orange blossom notes open with time in the glass.
The palate is creamy but with crisp balancing acidity and a taught grassy,
mineral line. Not the most complex, but very well priced from a top producer focused
on sustainable farming and low-intervention winemaking. 89/100 Tina Gellie"
JancisRobinson.com (25th May 2018)
"Floral and fresh. A
little tight and taut at the moment. Needs a bit of time to open out. 16+/20 Jancis Robinson"
"I've been working through a number of Gruner Veltliners and the standard has been first class and excellent value for money. This particular one really hits the spot. Crisp, fruity, elegant, refreshing and markedly dry it has a Riesling feel to it. I can't understand why these Austrian wines are not better known. For me they provide a wonderful alternative to the ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Highly recommended."
Mr Nigel Skelsey (23-Sep-2015)
"Way more typical than your average Gruner, meaning very noticeable dried herb/white pepper notes. Therefore a pleasant change from yet another Sauv B or Pinot G..."
Mr R Piggott (21-Sep-2015)
decanter.com (29th Oct 2015)
"A light yet aromatic
style of grüner that shows plenty of white pepper, greengage and pink grape
fruit aromas. It has a rich and round texture counterbalanced by a very lively
acidity which makes this wine both refreshing, easy drinking and food friendly.- Clément Robert MS"
Decanter (26th Aug 2015)
"Schooled in Austria,
Wess cut his teeth at assorted properties in Bordeaux before returning to his
homeland and establishing his eponymous operation in 2003. This is aromatic,
graceful and vivid grüner showing lovely tension, dried herbs and an abundance
of citrus fruit. - Christelle Guibert"
Kent & Sussex Courier (17th Jul 2015)
grape variety is the fashionable Grüner Veltliner, or the "green grape
from Veltlin" (or Valtellina), which occupies nearly one third of the
total vineyard. There's an excellent array of flavours here with trademark
spice and white pepper notes added to citrus, peach, apricot and orchard fruit.
This is a great light-bodied wine that I'd pour with spicy Vietnamese and Thai
dishes, sushi and seafood, which will have broad market appeal to fans of
'herbal' wines such as sauvignon blanc and verdejo. It's delectably crisp, dry
and sleek with admirable length, intensity and an overall juiciness. At this
price it's seriously impressive. - James Viner "
howtodrink.co.uk (3rd Jul 2015)
white made from Austria’s signature grape. Clean, lively, bright. White pepper,
citrus and mace. Riffles along.- Victoria Moore"
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