Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton
The world of wine blogging can be a fickle mistress, one day you're swamped in enotecas for your autograph, cheered and back slapped, the next you're attacked with a Parma ham (on the bone) for dismissing a paisans favourite grape. As many of you know, wine geekery is not my formal training, I am actually a full blown net nerd paid to work in SEM/SEO, that little talent helped elevate this blog and the keyword Italian Riesling atop the Google rankings and my cheerful raspberry to Italian Riesling continues to top my e-complaint list.
So, just two years later and after one suit and several beatings, I have decided to write about another Italian Riesling and this one, the Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton from the Alto Adige is nothing short of scrumdiddly (winespeak for "on par with anything from Franken").
The Kuenhof estate, run by Peter and Brigitte Pliger is located just outside the town of Brixen (70% of the towns population are German speakers) or Bressanone as we shall call it and just a short distance from the Austrian border. This 4 ha vineyard in the South Tyrol holds the honour of producing Italy's northernmost wines. As such, the wines at the Kuenhof estate are Italian only in postcode, growing grape varieties you'd expect from the Austrian vineyards across the way. Strangely, grapes do not respect international borders and so it comes to pass that some of the worlds finest and best value Gruner Veltliners, Rieslings, Sylvaners and Gewurztraminers come from this part of the Alto Adige and the Kuenhof estate.
Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton, like all the Kuenhof wines from this tiny estate is produced in small numbers. Considering the quality of this wine and the small scale production these wines are hotly priced. The Sylvaner (as you could guess) has the largest production but still comes in at just under 11,000 bottles per year. The wines are also well received with Gambero Rosso year on year with the '07 Sylvaner taking the Tre Bicchiere and still we are getting change from a €20? You can buy the wines directly at the vineyard for closer to the €10 mark.
So, onto the Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton itself. At the beginning of this week I was in Venice and along with a chum shared a bottle of the '08 vintage sat next to the Rialto bridge feasting on seafood risotto as the the mosquitos, in turn, fed on me. I'm sure the location and late evening sun helped but this was perhaps the most elegant, lengthy and pure Riesling wine I've tasted from any region. No one made me say that. Honest. No one.
Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton 2008 - BUY - €19
A light golden colour in the glass. A focused and stylised wine with some herbaceous and mineral notes, even a little orange peel on the nose. The palate is concentrated, lustrous and coating with a long finish. This is one of those wines that is almost a little one dimensional but does that one dimension so well that it's a good thing! (that makes sense) 90 Points
Where can I buy this Wine?
Karadarshop.com - €19
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What is your favourite thing from Austria? Apart from this wine... which isn't.