Reisetbauer 12yo (48%, OB, Limited Edition)

Time to take a small trip and have a look around some European distilleries producing Single Malt Whisky. We’ll start our mini trip in Austria to have a look at Hans Reisetbauers flagship Whisky, the 12yo. Earlier I already reviewed the 1998 Reisetbauer 7yo. Hans matures his Whisky in casks that once held Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese, one, a dry and the second a sweet White Wine. Hans doesn’t import barley, but grows four hectares of summer brewing barley himself.

“The barley was crushed and malted at 65° C before being cooled and fermented in stainless-steel tanks for around 70 hours. The fermented mash is then twice distilled in copper pot stills. At this pointed the distillate, which has an alcohol content of around 70 per cent, is aged until fully mature in four casks that the top Austrian wine makers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich previously used for aging Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese.”

Reisetbauer 12yoColor: Slightly copper gold.

Nose: Plastics and fruit. Orchard fruits. Hints of pear, apples. Ear wax. Extremely duty underneath and for a while the plastics dominate the nose. Some of the plastics are slightly burnt. The plastic note is very close to the waxy aroma, which probably comes from the wine casks used. Given some time to breathe, aroma’s of Grappa emerge. If I would venture a guess (and I can be completely wrong here), I would say the grappa note comes from the Chardonnay casks, and the waxy/plastics come from Trockenbeerenauslese (a sweet White Wine). Next up the woody notes, which are quite soft and slightly spicy. Mocha and Latte. The plastics give way, but the Grappa remains. Very interesting distillate. Nosed blind I wouldn’t have guessed this is a Whisky.

Taste: Plastics again and lots of wax. Polyester!That’s it! Have you ever repaired a polyester boat? WYSIWYG (What You Smell Is What You Get). The Polyester is there immediately, but luckily dissipates quite quickly, to give way to wax wood and a winey note. Coffee in the aftertaste. “Do-a-burp™” after drinking this and it’s all plastics again.

Just reading my note about the nose alone, its pretty obvious this is not a Scottish Malt, and reading it all it hardly seems to be a Whisky at all! In case of the 7yo Reisetbauer I reviewed earlier, I found that it already was dominated by the cask used. The 12yo we have at hand is so dominated by the casks, that it is difficult, if not impossible to detect that this is a Whisky at all! This is a Wine (and polyester) finished Single Malt Grappa. If you want a Whisky, you’re better off with the 7yo. Nevertheless, this distillate has a lot of good sides to it too, so maybe it is unfair to hammer it with its off-notes.

Points: 73

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Reisetbauer 7yo 1998 (56%, OB, Chardonnay & Trockenbeerenauslese Casks, 350 ml, LWH 098)

Hans ReisetbauerAnd now for something completely different! An Austrian vintage Whisky made by Hans Reisetbauer. This Whisky was distilled in 1998 and matured for 7 years in Chardonnay casks but also in casks that once held Trockenbeerenauselese, a (very) sweet and syrupy white wine. Casks come only from Austrian wine makers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich. When looking for information, Hans seems to win a lot of prestigious prizes for his Eaux-de-vie or brandy’s made with fruits, and is regularly awarded as the best distiller in Austria. Hans decided to have a go at making Whisky. Hans planted four hectares of his own summer barley which was harvested for the first time in July 1995. Hans uses a double distillation regime.

Reisetbauer 1998Color: Gold

Nose: Creamy and lightly fruity. Apples and not winey at first. Fruity sweet with caramel. Very mild and definitely decent smelling (I may have expected something less good?). Powdery and dry, nice wood. Hint of vanilla. I’m not sure about the Chardonnay yet, but after some breathing I do smell the Trockenbeerenauselese. Having said that, it does remind me a bit of a Glen Moray in…yes, Chardonnay.

Taste: Sweetish and very vegetal. Fresh wood and a spicy (and winey) oak attack. Paint and plastic. Here most definitely the wine casks make their mark and mask that this is actually Single Malt Whisky. Maybe using the more traditional kind of cask would have been a better idea and use the Chardonnay and TBA casks for a finish. Quite hot and the heat has staying power. The aroma’s fade out leaving a hint of tannins, plastic and acidity. Still not a bad finish though.

I have heard people claiming this was terrible, but I don’t agree. Yes it is maybe too heavy on the wine casks used, but I can look past that and there definitely is some quality and potential here. Would love to see how Hans improves himself making Whisky.

The picture on the left is of the 700 ml bottle, simply because I couldn’t find a picture of a 350 ml bottle like mine, and I don’t think an empty bottle would make a good picture here. As can be seen on the bottle label, there were 1500 bottles made. On some bottles however instead of the 1500 bottles statement there is a code LWH 098 or LWH 007. Some bottles, bottled at 43% ABV, have a different label where the vintage (1998) is replaced by 7 years, but carry the same code LWH 098 as some 1998 vintages. Do you still follow?

Points: 75

Weingärten Weissenkirchen Wachau Smaragd 2007 Grüner Veltliner

Asparagus season isn’t over yet, so we decided to do another round. Last time around I decided to accompany the asparagus with an Austrian Riesling, but there was another Austrian wine lying around, so I decided to open another Austrian white wine. This time a Grüner Veltliner from Wachau by Domäne Wachau.

Grüner Veltliner is a white wine grape variety that stems from Savagnin and further down the line, Rotgopfler and Pinot Noir. Despite of the name Veltliner, the grape isn’t related to Roter Veltliner and Frühroter Veltliner. Most Grüner Veltliners are planted in Austria and to a lesser extent, Slovakia and the Czech republic, but more recently also in the United States and Australia. One-third of all the grapes planted in Austria is Grüner Veltliner. In Slovakia one-fifth and in the Czech republic “only” one-ninth of the planted grape varieties is Grüner Veltliner. Most Grüner Veltliners age well and accompany food excellently.

LabelEspecially in the Wachau wine region on of the following terms can be found:

  • Steinfeder: lightest version with up to 11.5% alcohol,
  • Federspiel: a slightly more powerful version with 12.5% ​​alcohol,
  • Smaragd: the most rich and powerful Grüner Veltliner with 12.5% ​​alcohol and often more. (Smaragd can be compared with the german term Spätlese, the grapes are harvested late and often ripen for a prolonged time on stainless steel or large casks). (This Smaragd is 13% ABV).

Finally, Weissenkirchen is one of Domäne Wachau‘s village-bottlings. Besides Weissenkirchen itself, it comprises of the villages of Joching, Wösendorf and St. Michael. The wines are elegant, full-bodied, fruity and quite mineral.

Color: Straw

Nose: Lemony and acidic. Smells very fresh and refreshing with whiffs of alcohol. You can already smell the balance between the sweetness and the acidity. Nosed blind this could have easily been from Alsace. Nice yellow fruits. Hints of peach and dried apricots, but also some sweat! (No that’s not a bad thing, in this wine). All in all, light and fresh, but with body.

Taste: Definitively more spicy. Fruity syrupy sweetness (high iron content). Apple treacle, raisins, tree sap with the slightest hint of licorice. Green apple skin. Some hints of wood, although this probably never came in contact with wood. Some unbalance when near the finish. Short, slightly sugary, finish. The sweetness in the finish is a bit “strange”.

Of the two Austrian wines we recently had with Asparagus, we liked the Riesling Better. Having said that, on its own, this one isn’t bad either.

Points: 81

Berger Kremstal DAC Riesling Spiegel 2008

Here in Holland the Asparagus season has started and nothing goes better with that, than a nice fresh white wine. This Berger Riesling was ogling at me for quite some time, since all Austrian wines have the Austrian flag on top, it is easily recognizable.

This Riesling (12.5% ABV), is wine from Weingut (Erich) Berger, Gedersdorf Austria. Gedersdorf is in the North-East part of the Kremstal (2200 – 2300 Ha.), next to the Danube River. Weingut Berger is one of 150 Winegut’s in Kremstal (and in fact Kremstal itself is not one, but three valleys). The region also has Three different terroirs. First, the vineyards west of the city of Krems are similar to those in the adjacent Wachau wine district. They are on a stony soil dating from prehistoric times. From these parts you can have a dry, minerally Riesling or Grüner Veltliner. Second on the south of the Krems Valley on the south bank of the Danube, small vintners in ancient villages make local wines in their own old-fashioned way. Third, to the east of Krems, towards Rohrendorf and Gedersdorf, there is löss in the vineyards which is noticeable in the wine, its softer and more lavish in style. The best wines from this region are called reserves.

Color: White wine.

Nose: perfect Riesling nose. Crisp and fresh. Lot’s of yellow fruits. Some grapefruit, banana, apple, apple skins. Definitely stoney and mineral. I really like these kinds of white wines from Alsace, Germany and Austria, and again a nose like this is perfect.

Taste: Quite simple, but great balance in the acidity and sweetness. Again apple come to the fore. Light body and medium finish. Especially the finish is quite mono-dimensional, showing almost nothing else than (sugared) lemon. This is a wine for big gulps, drinks great that way and it concentrates the flavours a bit. Easy going and very accessible. What’s not to like here. Quite good with asparagus, but I can imagine this is a great wine for easy drinking in the summer. Simple, but I like it.

This wine was especially good the second day around. It was quite closed when freshly opened and the taste wasn’t rounded out and actually quite dull. The second day around it got smoother and sweeter, and the fruits al be it very light come through some more. Not a complex wine, but very likeable and stunningly fresh, and it won’t break the bank!

Points: 83