Weingut Bernhard Ott, Gruner Veltliner Feuersbrunn "Der Ott"
Weingut Bernhard Ott, Gruner Veltliner Feuersbrunn "Der Ott"

Weingut Bernhard Ott, Gruner Veltliner Feuersbrunn "Der Ott"

Wagram, Austria 2017 (750mL)
Regular price$36.00

Weingut Bernhard Ott, Gruner Veltliner Feuersbrunn "Der Ott"

Bernhard Ott is one of Austria’s top winemakers, and he’s a devoted disciple of the country’s de facto national grape: Grüner Veltliner. Working biodynamically in the rolling hills of Wagram, he crafts world-class wines that benefit tremendously from a little bottle age. And we have proof of that today! The 2017 “Der Ott” Grüner is just beginning to hit its stride at six years old, and has many more years ahead of it. With intoxicating aromatics, beguiling flavors, and a core of pure spice and minerality, this gem is guaranteed to knock your socks off. We’ve had white wines that cost three to four times as much and don’t offer the same breadth or complexity. This is a certified SommSelect steal: grab a bunch before it is gone!

Bernhard is straightforward about his passions: “Ich bin ein Veltliner!” (“I am Veltliner”) is his marketing battle cry, which he backs up with a lineup of some of the best expressions of the grape found anywhere. This is next-level Grüner Veltliner and, in some ways, a throwback: It is a mineral-driven wine that focuses on the elite Wagram sites it hails from without neglecting the perfectly plump fruits those vineyards yield. Located just east of the Wachau/Kremstal/Kamptal triumvirate, the Wagram (formerly Donauland) sees the same interplay of Alpine air from the northwest and warmer air from the Pannonian Plain to the east. The soils are dominated by loess, a sedimentary soil of sand and silt that is a little deeper and richer than some of the “primary rock” (gneiss, schist, granite) found further west. It is Grüner Veltliner’s preferred soil type, producing richer, deeper styles with distinctive spice characteristics. 

The Ott family has been in the Wagram since 1889. Fourth-generation Bernhard Ott took over for his father in 1995, and his first order of business was a total overhaul of the property—including a wholesale conversion to biodynamic farming. His 28 hectares of vineyards, 90% of which are planted to Grüner Veltliner, are now Certified Biodynamic by an Austrian body called RESPEKT. 

Bernhard’s “Der Ott” is sourced from younger vines in three of Wagram’s best “Erste Lage” vineyards: Rosenberg, Spiegel, and Stein. After hand-harvesting at peak ripeness, it’s simple, clean winemaking back in the cellar—gentle pressing after a meticulous sort, native fermentations, and aging on the lees in stainless steel for added richness. Ott has remarked that the conversion to biodynamics has enabled him to harvest Grüner a little earlier without sacrificing physiological ripeness—something perfectly illustrated by this wine, which has the kind of gripping acidity and rich layers that more simple Grüners lack. 

Bernhard’s wines certainly reward short-term aging (2-5 years), but when you creep into his top-tier lineup, their age-worthiness can astonish the best of us. At six years old and counting, this 2017 “Der Ott” has taken on a brilliant evolution all whilst defying its age. Its freshness is a marvel to behold, but what really sends us over the moon is the combination of savory earth and piquant, zesty fruit. Swirl the glass and ripe yellow pears, golden apples, white pepper, dried herbs, and baby arugula appear, and then swirl again and salted lemon, citrus peel, grapefruit, and quince pour out with an avalanche of crushed stones. These wines are truly special and this 2017 is a near-perfect expression of what mature Grüner can achieve: voluptuous layers, intense vibrancy, and supple spice that energizes your entire palate. Serve in an all purpose stem at a cool 48-50 degrees with a summer dish of tuna crudo and you’ll be amazed at the kaleidoscope of flavors that emerge!

Weingut Bernhard Ott, Gruner Veltliner Feuersbrunn "Der Ott"

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