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The wines of Freie Weingärtner Wachau

A-3601 Dürnstein, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)27 11371 Fax +43 (0)27 11371 13
Website: http://www.fww.at/english/frames.htm

The Freie Weingärtner Wachau is a co-operative association of growers and is the largest producer in the prestigious Wachau region of Austria. Altogether 778 members hold the 849 shares, cultivating a total of 600 ha of vineyards (the Wachau only has 1400 ha under vine in total). They are each contracted in for five-year terms, and despite its size, this is clearly not your run-of-the-mill cooperative. A quick primer to the rather complicated wine names: first the grape variety (Riesling or Grüner Veltliner here), then the quality level (Federspiel is good quality but Smaragd is better), then the village or regional designation (e.g. Loibner for the village Loiben) and finally, if appropriate the vineyard (e.g. Loibenberg). 

Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen Thal Wachau 2000
Unusual herby nose. Light, clean and fresh on the palate. Not much happening here; it’s rather simple and light. Good (£6.75 Ben Ellis Wines)

Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Terrassen Thal Wachau 2000
Nice balance here, but it's a little light. Nice herby nose with some peppery fruit on the medium bodied palate. Not particularly complex. Good/very good (£8.75 Ben Ellis Wines)

Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Terrassen Thal Wachau 1997
Getting more interesting. Clean, mineralic, slightly peppery nose. Concentrated on the palate with clean mineralic flavours and good acidity. Very good

Riesling Federspiel Viesslinger Ried Bruck 1999
Crisp, limey nose with an attractive minerality. Subtle. There's a limey, vegetal kick to the palate and the high acidity is perhaps a little obtrusive. Tight and youthful, this may yet develop. Good/very good (£8.70 Ben Ellis Wines)

Riesling Smaragd Terrassen Thal Wachau 1997
Lovely nose: partly evolved with citrus/lime character and lots of minerality. Crisp, intense lemon and herb-tinged fruit on the palate. Quite austere with a high-acid finish. Very good+ (£10.25 Ben Ellis Wines)

Riesling Smaragd Loibner Leibenberg 2000
From a single vineyard in the extreme east of the Wachau, enjoying a warmer climate. Expressive ripe, floral, perfumed nose. Nice palate showing citrus fruit and high acid, although it's currently a little bit simple. Very good (£11.25 Ben Ellis Wines)

Riesling Smaragd Loibner Leibenberg 1999
Subtle, delicate limey nose. Good concentration on the rich, taut limey palate. Good acidity. Tasty, but needs time to evolve complexity. Very good (£11.25 Ben Ellis Wines)

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