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Terroir Throws A Party

A new tasting report on the fine Kamptal estate Hiedler is up now, and it will herald an accelerated sequence of reports, as I have received a lot of samples I’d been waiting (and waiting….and waiting….) for over the last several months.



Hiedler, for me, was always a meaningful example of the connection between person and wine. Now obviously you can’t disconnect these things, but sometimes they’re more tangible than other times, and I don’t think we can fully comprehend a wine without knowing the person who grew it. Ludwig’s wines were (and in large part) remain ebullient and individual, as he himself is. He’s one of those men who wears his passion on his very skin; you know it in the first few minutes, and this has created a family of wines that could be unruly at times, and that hadn’t been simple to “position” conceptually.



Why? Because Hiedler’s wines haven’t spoken any of the prevailing “dialects” which means we who drink therm need to learn a few words in an unfamiliar language. The typical Hiedler wine was in a curious sort of DMZ between the arcane mysteries of the beautifully antique style of Nikolaihof and the crisper more focused diction of the “contemporary” idiom of a Bründlmayer or a Nigl. There was (and is) an anima in the Hiedler wines, but they fit neither in the square nor the round holes, and many in the trade weren’t sure what to do with them. (Before we buy/sell a wine we buy/sell the idea of that wine, and Hiedler resisted being easily pigeonholed.)



I’m diddling the tenses, you will have seen, because some of this is shape-shifting as a new generation assumes control. This will be reflected in the notes. What remains is a determinedly analog style, and the unconfined generosity of a large dog who greets you delightedly. You’d rarely describe a Nigl wine as “lusty” but you’d rarely describe a Hiedler wine without that descriptor. What makes the wines remarkable are the terroirs from which they hail, vineyards and soils that give inherently articulate and intricate wines, rendered in a full-throated yawp of life-force that’s the opposite of careful etching. No tweezer-flavors here. But no simple ones either.

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