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The wines of Weingut Sonnhof Josef Jurtschitsch, Langenlois, Austria

Rudolfstrasse 37-39
A-3550 Langenlois
Tel: 02734 2116 Fax: 02734 2116-11

[see a more recent review of this producer's wines based on a visit in October 2004 here]

An impressive line-up of wines from this Langenlois producer, known rather confusingly by two names (Weingut Sonnhof and Familie Jurtschitsch). The estate is run by the three Jurtschitsch brothers, Edwin, Paul and Karl. Sharing a remarkable family resemblance, they inherited it from their father Josef in 1972, and neatly divide the labour between them (Edwin tends the vines, Paul makes the wine and Karl is responsible for flogging it). The estate covers 55 ha of vines, which are tended according to ecological principles. As far as I know they are without a UK agent, which is a shame: it would be nice to see some of these wines on the UK market.

'Grü Ve' Grüner Veltliner 2000
Nice, fresh nose with some fruity notes. Fresh and clean palate with good acidity. Good/very good

Loiserberg Grüner Veltliner 2000
From a single vineyard; 12.5% alcohol. Ripe fruity nose with a touch of honey and a fresh character. Good acidity and a touch of spice on the palate. Fresh and interesting. Very good+

Schenkenbichl Grüner Veltliner 2000
Another single vineyard wine; 14% alcohol. Lovely rich nose with a creamy, honeyed edge and a slight spiciness. Very refined. Rich rounded palate with a nice texture and a spicy finish. A huge wine. Very good/excellent

Alte Reben Grüner Veltliner 1999
Made from 40 year old vines; 13.5% alcohol. Wonderfully intense, spicy nose with a sweet honeyed edge. Rich, ripe palate shows green herby elements and spice, together wine some honeyed notes. Complex stuff, with a touch of residual sugar. Excellent

Spiegel Grüber Veltliner Reserve 2000
This high-end Grüner Veltliner spends 3 months in barriques and weighs in at 15% alcohol. Wondefully rich, spicy nose is rounded, honeyed and complex. Intense, rich-textured palate is ripe and full with a touch of residual sugar, and displays spicy notes and sweet honeyed fruit, all kept fresh by the high acidity. It's a big wine, quite tart in character and a bit alcoholic. Over the top? Very good/excellent

Platin Riesling 2000
12% alcohol. Very modern fruity nose showing aromatic floral, honeyed notes. Full fruity palate with good acidity. An easy drinker. Good/very good

Zöbinger Heiligenstein Riesling 2000
13% alcohol. Racy nose displays aromatic, spicy notes and some complex honeyed character. Lovely rich, spicy palate with good complexity and balance, and a bone dry finish. Lovely stuff. Very good/excellent

Zöbinger Heiligenstein Riesling Auslese 2000
13% alcohol. Harvested mid-November onwards. Lovely pure nose of citrus, honey and spice, with a pure creamy edge. Very classy. Complex, spicy and sweet on the palate with a rich, fat texture and great balance. Immensely rich and complex. Excellent

Ried Ladner Chardonnay Reserve 1998
Spends 7 months in medium-toast Allier oak barrels; 13.5% alcohol. Sonnhof have 3 ha of Chardonnay vines, grown since 1988. Deep yellow/gold colour with a lovely rich, toasty nose with ripe, honeyed tropical fruit notes. The palate is quite classy, showing rich nutty fruit and well integrated oak. Stunning stuff. Excellent

Grüner Veltliner Beerenauslese 1998
13% alcohol and 85 g/litre residual sugar. Fresh, intense spicy nose with a sweet edge. Complex, spicy palate with a rich, herby character. Lovely fat texture, but not too overpowering. Very good/excellent

Grüner Veltliner Trockenbeerenauslese 1998
11.5% alcohol. Intense nose shows pronounced citrus fruit character with a spicy acid edge. Very sweet and unctuous on the palate: luscious, rich and hedonistic. Good balance, but verging on fatness. Very good/excellent

Zwiegelt 1999
A red wine. Langenlois is not known for its red wines, but there is a strong local demand. Youthful, fruity nose of ripe cherries carries through to the palate, with some bubblegum-like notes. Quite like Beaujolais in character. Good/very good

Rotspon 1999
A blend of roughly 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Zwiegelt, 10% Merlot and just a trace of St Laurent, matured in older oak barrels. Bright purple colour, with a touch of bright fruit on the nose. The palate shows cherry and raspberry fruit with some tannic structure. Solid if slightly unexciting effort. Very good

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