Hirtzberger is without a doubt, a pillar of Austria’s famed Wachau region and one of the country’s highly respected producers of dry white wine.
Notorious for his meticulously small yields, the 2015 Franz Hirtzberger Riesling Federspiel Steinerterrassen is crafted from only the most perfect clusters, taken during the first two passes of Hirtzberger’s unbelievably exacting four or five trips through the vineyards. Youthful and nervy, with a piquant lemon-lime zip, salinity, and cleansing acidity, this is perfect with seasoned seafood, and a dream for any dry Riesling lover.
The Wachau, northwest of Vienna, is Austria’s most prized wine region. It consists of sloping and terraced vineyards that quickly ascend out of the banks of the Danube, and is home to some of Europe’s most eminent makers of white wine—and Franz Hirtzberger stands tall among them. His Steinerterrassen is harvested from three prized vineyards: Setzberg, Hochrain and Singerriedel. The few clusters that make the cut are hand-harvested, then fermented using native yeasts.
The grapes that go into Federspiel Riesling are harvested from the very same vineyards that supply Hirtzberger’s wines that bear the Smaragd label, that of Austria’s highest white wine designation. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate calls Steinerterrassen “pure, stony,” and “sensational”—“the wine of Hirtzberger's 2015 collection you have to taste.” Meticulously made, absolutely alive with bright citrus, crushed stones, and bracing acidity.