2009 Weingut (Josef) Hirsch Gruner Veltliner Heiligenstein

2009 Weingut (Josef) Hirsch Gruner Veltliner Heiligenstein

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Austria 2009

The 2009 vintage saw incredible weather extremes that kept growers on their toes for the entire season. It was an average winter, with temperatures swinging from moderate, and even warm at times, to frigid and cold, with plenty of moisture. The spring too was extremely wet — March set a record for rainfall, and May brought hail. Flowering came early but the erratic weather resulted in coulure in some spots and yields were reduced from the start. June brought more of the same, with hail affecting some vineyards and torrential rains causing flooding and landslides in others. July was almost tropical in its warmth and wetness. A major storm occurred on the 23rd.

It was looking rather bleak as the harvest approached, but the weather changed just in time as Indian summer conditions arrived to help dry out the grapes and extend the growing season into October. Hot days and cool nights allowed fruit and sugar development while retaining crucial acidity. Brief spells of rain forced growers to stop and start several times during the harvest, but the most astute among them were able to keep an eye on the weather while coaxing as much as possible from the vines after the uneven summer.

In the end, the late season comeback helped save the vintage, which produced a small but excellent crop of white wines that have superb concentration with fruit nicely balanced by lively acidity. For the growers who put in the time in the vineyards during the summer and harvest to select only the best fruit, the reds were solidly concentrated ripe wines with good depth and excellent structure.

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