FX PIchler 2018 New Releases

Franz Xavier Pichler is widely regarded as Austria’s number one winemaker. HUGH JOHNSON

F. X. Pichler achieved larger-than-life status as an iconic Wachau vintner. DAVID SCHILDKNECHT, Vinous Media

A few days ago I had the chance to try a selection of 2018 vintage wines from one of Austria’s greatest producers in FX Pichler. Pichler’s wine style has traditionally been hung on power – hugely impressive wines that left no stone unturned in the journey across your palate. If anything, the wines sometimes could be too much of a good thing but more recently – and these 2018s emphatically illustrated the point – the family have turned down the volume on the extract and glycreol; started picking earlier and in doing so revealed more of the site. They are no less powerful but now I feel thy have greater transparency to their unique sites.

The following four wines illustrate the progress being made and what better place to reacquaint oneself with this house than the 2018 vintage. I’ve included the most impressive wines (for different reasons) from this lineup. The entry Gruner Veltliner is racy and clean (under screwcap), the Durnstien ramps up the power slightly and adds in more detail. In Riesling, these are two of the better versions of the variety you might see this year – certainly from Austria at the very least. They share their connection to the sites with such clarity and purity. I was marvelling at the Steinertal before tasting the Kellerberg which is off the charts in it’s breadth of flavour and power but without heaviness.

It had been a while since I had seen a set of Pichlers and these 2018s certainly reminded me I shouldn’t so long next time around.