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Austrian wines part 7
Fred Loimer, Langenlois, Kamptal

From an early age, Fred Loimer knew wine was going to be his business. Lucky him. An education at the oenological school in Klosterneuberg was followed by stints in Germany’s Nahe region and training at the Schug winery in California’s Carneros. He came back to the Langenlois to work in his family vineyard, and soon quality was on the up and he was building a name for himself.

Fred is now in control of some 30 hectares of vineyards in many of the best sites of the Langenlois (which is a part of the larger Kamptal region). In the vineyard he opts for a high planting density (6000 vines per hectare) which enables him to keep the yield per vine low yet still stay in business. The vines are trained low and the canopies allowed to grow high.

The Kamptal is 70 km north of Vienna near the Danube. It’s neighbouring the Wachau and Kremstal, but the difference is that the Kamptal has the influence of rivers, and therefore enjoys very hot days and cool nights. The wines are typically more fruit driven than those of the Wachau, and have a bit more acidity.

I asked Fred about his philosophy: is he a traditionalist or a modernist? ‘I try to work traditionally’, he says, ‘but I don’t really know what this means.’ In practice, he doesn’t do too much in the cellar – for example, he’s not too worried about working with clear musts – and he relies on spontaneous fermentation rather than adding yeast. ‘Things start slower’, he explains, ‘with lots going on at the beginning of fermentation.’ For some wines he uses new oak, and he tends not to move the wines too much, allowing them to rest on their lees for several months. ‘I don’t have a standard winemaking recipe’, says Loimer: ‘I decide from year to year, and from grape to grape.’

I tried his wines at dinner in the restaurant of the Palais Coburg, along with those of Peter Malberg (Graff Hardegg). It’s a fantastic setting and the food was very good, complementing the wines well.

First three 2003 Rieslings from three very different sites: terroir in action.

Loimer Loiserberg Riesling 2003
Precise and tight with a fresh minerally nose. The palate is crisp, minerally and acidic. Fresh with a limey edge. Very good+ 89/100

Loimer Seeberg Riesling 2003 
Crisp, fresh nose is almost floral with a spicy edge. Very spicy, minerally palate with lovely weight. Full and quite exciting, with good acidity. A fantastic, focused Riesling. This one has been fermented in oak casks. Very good/excellent 93/100

Loimer Steinmassl Riesling 2003
Quite a full, rich nose with a good depth of limey fruit. The palate is quite rich and full with lots of fruit, good balance and nice weight. Almost a peppery edge to this. It’s richer than the first two, yet still quite delicate. Fermented and aged in oak casks. Very good/excellent 92/100

Next, two Grüner Veltliners from different sites, both fermented and aged in oak casks.

Loimer Käferberg Grüner Veltliner 2003
Quite a tight minerally nose – a bit shy. The palate is fresh, bright and acidic with hints of pepper and mineralic spiciness. Some delicacy to the pure fruit. Very good/excellent 90/100

Loimer Spiegel Grüner Veltliner 2003
A bit of richness on the nose. Lovely peppery, spicy definition to the deep fruit. Fantastic palate: it is quite rich and fat but with good acid and spicy definition. Delicious. A bit of the oak here is new. Very good/excellent 92/100

Then a mini vertical of Steinmassl Riesling

Loimer Steinmassl Riesling 1998
Rich and full with bright lemon and melon fruit notes. Good weight and texture with nice balance and some spicy complexity. A rich style and a fantastic food wine. Very good/excellent 92/100

Loimer Steinmassl Riesling 2000
Focused, lemony slightly spicy nose. Some savouriness. The palate is quite dense and savoury with rich but bright lemony fruit. A lovely open, expressive wine that’s drinking brilliantly now. Very good/excellent 92/100

Loimer Steinmassl Riesling 2002
Complex taut limey nose with some richness. The palate is savoury yet still quite rich, with a minerally core. Good concentration. Very good/excellent 90/100

And a vertical of Spiegel Grüner Veltliner

Loimer Spiegel Grüner Veltliner 1998
Fresh, bright and peppery. Concentrated but very expressive. Nice balance here: good potential. Very good/excellent 91/100

Loimer Spiegel Grüner Veltliner 1999
Fresh, spicy and full with an elegant, rounded texture. Some richness on the palate. Very smooth and pure: quite powerful. Very good/excellent 90/100

Loimer Spiegel Grüner Veltliner 2001
Forward, slightly herby ripe nose, which is delicate and expressive. The palate shows herby, peppery notes: it’s very expressive and appealing. Very good/excellent 93/100

Some sweeties to finish

Loimer Grüner Veltliner Beerenauslese 2003
Lovely forward varietally true nose with lovely ripe, peppery, spicy fruit. The palate is sweet, smooth and viscous. Very good/excellent 92/100

Loimer Chardonnay Trockenbeerenauslese 1998
Very rich, ripe, spicy and intense. Good acidity and lovely apricotty, melony fruit. Viscous, sweet and yet still in balance. Very good/excellent 93/100  

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