Any Nikolaihof fans?

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Robert M yers
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Any Nikolaihof fans?

#1 Post by Robert M yers » November 4th, 2019, 3:58 pm

A producer I’ve long been saying I need to try as the history always interests me. A retailer recently sent out an offer and thinking of giving them a shot? Any opinions or general thoughts on the winery are appreciated.

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#2 Post by TomHill » November 4th, 2019, 4:04 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 3:58 pm
A producer I’ve long been saying I need to try as the history always interests me. A retailer recently sent out an offer and thinking of giving them a shot? Any opinions or general thoughts on the winery are appreciated.
Love their wines pretty much across the board. Can't go wrong.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#3 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 4th, 2019, 4:11 pm

+1

From the cheapest to the most expensive the wines are great.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#4 Post by Doug Schulman » November 4th, 2019, 4:27 pm

These wines have a lot of fans, and you should listen to them. I think I'm the only one I know who doesn't really like a lot of them, and that focuses on the high end. While I can recognize the complexity, and they really are impressive, there's a distinctive savory, developed component that's tough to specify that I really don't like. Most often, I think Vaseline (not TDN/petrol). This might be very personal. It's strongest in the Vinothek and other longer aged wines, but I notice it in the younger single vineyards as well. It is not just development. I like aged Riesling and Gruner. It's a sort of funkiness that I suspect may be related to whatever yeasts (and other microbes?) live in their cellar. I'm not talking about anything that I consider a flaw. It probably isn't even worth saying this much about, except that some of the wines are expensive, and the praise I usually see could have had me buying quite a bit without tasting at some point if I saw great pricing and selection. I now know that would have been a mistake on my part because of my personal preference. Even I can recognize the very high quality, though, and the wines are definitely worth trying.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#5 Post by Scott Brunson » November 4th, 2019, 4:36 pm

Add me to the fanboy list.
These are some of my favorite wines on the planet.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#6 Post by Robert M yers » November 4th, 2019, 4:44 pm

Thanks for the initial input here. It’s not an exclusive offer or anything, from Rare Wine Co. This offer is...


Nikolaihof’s 2013 Vom Stein Riesling Smaragd Trocken & 2015 Im Weingebirge Grüner Veltliner Federspiel

$30 per which seems fair? Just caught my eye as I’ve been wanting to explore the lower end to get a baseline for the winery for awhile.

Appreciate the light “warning” as well Doug, interesting although not something I can mentally taste through verbiage.

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#7 Post by RyanC » November 4th, 2019, 4:47 pm

Doug Schulman wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 4:27 pm
These wines have a lot of fans, and you should listen to them. I think I'm the only one I know who doesn't really like a lot of them, and that focuses on the high end. While I can recognize the complexity, and they really are impressive, there's a distinctive savory, developed component that's tough to specify that I really don't like. Most often, I think Vaseline (not TDN/petrol). This might be very personal. It's strongest in the Vinothek and other longer aged wines, but I notice it in the younger single vineyards as well. It is not just development. I like aged Riesling and Gruner. It's a sort of funkiness that I suspect may be related to whatever yeasts (and other microbes?) live in their cellar. I'm not talking about anything that I consider a flaw. It probably isn't even worth saying this much about, except that some of the wines are expensive, and the praise I usually see could have had me buying quite a bit without tasting at some point if I saw great pricing and selection. I now know that would have been a mistake on my part because of my personal preference. Even I can recognize the very high quality, though, and the wines are definitely worth trying.
This captures my view well, although I may like them a tad more than you do. They are high quality but also very unique in a sort of curious way. I don’t really dislike them—I even buy them in very small quantities—but I much much prefer Alzinger, Prager, Brundlmayer, and others.
Last edited by RyanC on November 4th, 2019, 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#8 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 4th, 2019, 4:48 pm

Those two wines are a very good place to start.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#9 Post by Mattstolz » November 4th, 2019, 5:14 pm

it was a great offer. id be on it if I wasn't already getting angry looks with every wine shipment I get in this season

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#10 Post by Markus S » November 4th, 2019, 5:31 pm

I can see Doug's complaint about a savory component, but that shouldn't scare you off these well made wines. Perhaps you're tasting terroir?? My favorite is perhaps the Steiner Hund.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#11 Post by alan weinberg » November 4th, 2019, 5:57 pm

E92E4EAA-B7F5-475C-A5F3-DD572AD1A2BE.jpeg
opening the 2000 of this tonight, as a matter of fact. Paid $36.99.

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#12 Post by asnitow » November 4th, 2019, 6:59 pm

Great producer, great people, and awesome estate with cool history. Buy with confidence that you are getting very well-made, genuine wines.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#13 Post by Adam Noble » November 4th, 2019, 7:10 pm

Definitely a fan and he's a nice guy to talk to. Both you mention are very nice and I've purchased them myself. If you want a nice easy drinking intro, find the 2016 Zwickl (named after the beer style which they like). I drank 3 or 4 of them in the last year.

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#14 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » November 4th, 2019, 8:32 pm

They are proudly unconventional.

I have also had experiences like Doug and taste before buying multiples but have had plenty of wins.

The 2017 Hefeabzug GV is my most recent try and it was solid.

Here’s a write up that I posted from a visit to the estate last year:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=156647#p2633146

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#15 Post by IlkkaL » November 4th, 2019, 9:22 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 4:44 pm
Thanks for the initial input here. It’s not an exclusive offer or anything, from Rare Wine Co. This offer is...


Nikolaihof’s 2013 Vom Stein Riesling Smaragd Trocken & 2015 Im Weingebirge Grüner Veltliner Federspiel

$30 per which seems fair? Just caught my eye as I’ve been wanting to explore the lower end to get a baseline for the winery for awhile.

Appreciate the light “warning” as well Doug, interesting although not something I can mentally taste through verbiage.
I too am a fan of the producer. Very well made, transparent and highly drinkable wines. Definitely wines for food though, I think it is fair to say that there is a degree of austerity at least to the lower end wines (high acid, low-to-moderate concentration, savory style).
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#16 Post by Gareth H » November 4th, 2019, 10:50 pm

Doug Schulman wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 4:27 pm
These wines have a lot of fans, and you should listen to them. I think I'm the only one I know who doesn't really like a lot of them, and that focuses on the high end. While I can recognize the complexity, and they really are impressive, there's a distinctive savory, developed component that's tough to specify that I really don't like. Most often, I think Vaseline (not TDN/petrol). This might be very personal. It's strongest in the Vinothek and other longer aged wines, but I notice it in the younger single vineyards as well. It is not just development. I like aged Riesling and Gruner. It's a sort of funkiness that I suspect may be related to whatever yeasts (and other microbes?) live in their cellar.
Aldehydes, and sometimes some acetic-acid bacteria-related compounds. I noticed it in their longer aged wines as well. Sometimes smells to me like sharpie marker or fresh paint. They leave them in cask for an extraordinary amount of time in some cases and don't top up. Slow oxygen ingress will cause some of the native yeasts to coalesce at the top, and AAB will form a film over it all as it loves the oxygen.

So that note is a bit of a common thread through their wines. I don't dislike it up to a point, but in some of the bottlings the secondary stuff is a bit overpowering. One of my favourites was their Gelber Muskateller. Super varietal, squeaky clean and very refreshing.

The only other producer in the Wachau I saw with this "sharpie-marker" note is Knoll - and then only on their extended-aged in foudre stuff.

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#17 Post by Jay Miller » November 5th, 2019, 5:57 am

With the exception of the Vinothek where I loved the first vintage and was disappointed by subsequent years I'm also a fan. Steiner Hund is IMO their best wine but if I was in buying mode would have been tempted by the RWC offer. It looks like a good introduction but I'd suggest going light until you've had a chance to try them.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#18 Post by Bob Hughes » November 5th, 2019, 6:25 am

Another vote for Nikolaihof - the Vom Stein Federspiel has been my go-to wine in more recent years, but I like a lot of their stuff. They are somewhat idiosyncratic in terms of Austrian producers - at least IMO, on the opposite end of the spectrum from producers like FX Pichler or Hirtzberger, as they generally seem to be more into elegance and filigree than "shock & awe".

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#19 Post by Doug Schulman » November 5th, 2019, 6:59 am

Gareth H wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 10:50 pm
Doug Schulman wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 4:27 pm
These wines have a lot of fans, and you should listen to them. I think I'm the only one I know who doesn't really like a lot of them, and that focuses on the high end. While I can recognize the complexity, and they really are impressive, there's a distinctive savory, developed component that's tough to specify that I really don't like. Most often, I think Vaseline (not TDN/petrol). This might be very personal. It's strongest in the Vinothek and other longer aged wines, but I notice it in the younger single vineyards as well. It is not just development. I like aged Riesling and Gruner. It's a sort of funkiness that I suspect may be related to whatever yeasts (and other microbes?) live in their cellar.
Aldehydes, and sometimes some acetic-acid bacteria-related compounds. I noticed it in their longer aged wines as well. Sometimes smells to me like sharpie marker or fresh paint. They leave them in cask for an extraordinary amount of time in some cases and don't top up. Slow oxygen ingress will cause some of the native yeasts to coalesce at the top, and AAB will form a film over it all as it loves the oxygen.

So that note is a bit of a common thread through their wines. I don't dislike it up to a point, but in some of the bottlings the secondary stuff is a bit overpowering. One of my favourites was their Gelber Muskateller. Super varietal, squeaky clean and very refreshing.

The only other producer in the Wachau I saw with this "sharpie-marker" note is Knoll - and then only on their extended-aged in foudre stuff.
This makes sense. It is a chemical smell that I find very off-putting, and I am confident that it has nothing to do with terroir. Sharpie is almost as close as Vaseline, for me.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#20 Post by Otto Forsberg » November 5th, 2019, 9:32 am

For me, some Nikolaihof wines show that idiosyncratic "Nikolaihof funk" - which is at best quite interesting and at worst rather distracting - but certainly not all of them. Some wines have been thoroughly clean, precise and showing wonderful purity of fruit - although in the leaner style typical of the house.

To me, that Nikolaihof funk is certainly not aldehydes nor does it feel acetic either, and it can appear in young wines as much as in those aged for extended periods of time. Checking out my TNs, the descriptors I've used are "musty old furniture", "potato peels", "raw potato" and "damp wool". It feels more like some kind of problem with the hygiene, probably having something to do with those very old oak vessels they use. That would also explain why some wines are so clean and precise and others are funky and odd - no matter the age; some vessels might be infected with some bacteria or other bugs, others are not.

However, I don't have extensive experience on Nikolaihof, having tasted only a dozen or so of their wines. With that small a sample it is hard to see the real picture.

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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#21 Post by cjsadler » November 5th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Recently got to visit the winery-- very cool place to have dinner if you're ever visiting the region. Give their Neuburger a try if you see it-- surprisingly good. Agree with some of the comments that their style tends to be a bit austere, and very different from the other side of the Wachau (they literally are on the opposite side of the river from most of the "big" Wachau producers). Though I tend to love their wines (especially the Steiner Hund), they can seem a bit too angular and tart at times, and yeah, the older ones often have that aldehyde thing.
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#22 Post by Mike Grammer » November 5th, 2019, 3:15 pm

Will provide some notes. I do keep my eye out for them and buy an occasional bottle.

From May 2017--I was a bit underwhelmed with these, but to be fair, it was a lunch with Francois Audouze and they were in tough against a 79 Heidseick Diamante Bleu, 14 Kutch Chard and 1955 Chanson Chambolle Musigny

"1995 Nikolaihof Vinothek Riesling

When I bought this about 18 months ago, I suspected it would be for this lunch. Shy-ish nose---kind of a water chestnut thing going on. Rather lithe and (surprisingly perhaps) gentle with a sweet kiss off of light gingerbread and Fuji apple. It glides nicely but maybe a touch light. Francois had us do some fun and taste back and forth between the Ries and the Champagne---on retasting the Champagne, a saline note is teased out and in turn the Riesling is made more active. Fascinating thing to do!

2004 Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling

One of Lynn and Jon's contributions, we have had variability in our last 3 bottles, with great, meh and good. This one was very good. More lively aroma, some mineral, some light pepper and binned apple. This too is a touch sweet and fat---only a little--but retains plenty of life and activity dans la bouche with lime and apple core and a backhit of lemon. Quite nice, I prefer this too, but acknowledge Francois' observation that they both could have done with some more chilling----an area I'm still learning about."


From February 2015, the 04 Steiner Hund again (I've had a checkered history with this bottling---the above decent, a disappointing one and the scintillating performance below)

"2004 Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling

Boy was this good. Like sniffing a mountain of flowers, with lavender, lilac and apple blossom in the lead. The aroma is captivating. Consumed with a delicious black cod in garlic aioli dish, the Riesling continued to blaze through with remarkable purity, adding some grapefruit zest to the mix and, while young and plenty kinetic, it is by no means a baby but already showing fine minerality/slate to go with the herbs, flowers, fruit. And it keeps echoing down your throat. This is really very good stuff."


And from 2014:

"1998 Nikolaihof Steinriesler Riesling

A terrific curiosity, Nikolaihof keeps this for 10 years before releasing, possibly in barrel all that time. Love the bouquet--it's full of mystery. Tons of baking spices. It's remarkably delicate and balanced. Only a hint of apple, hint of grapefruit, the cut and some pepper is at the side of the cheeks. This is a real treat and ultra-classy and that is accentuated, maybe at the slight cost of some flavour, later in the night. Many thanks to Amy for bringing this"
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Re: Any Nikolaihof fans?

#23 Post by crickey » November 13th, 2019, 7:47 pm

This thread prompted me to open a 2009 Steiner Hund. No formal note, but it was quite delicious. Kind of a citrus curd (lemon or grapefruit) predominated. Great mouthfeel, creamy, almost waxy - if it wasn't for the acidity it sort of reminded me of Rhone whites. I didn't pick up any marker or sharpie odors, but that might just be my nose.
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