Rabl Rabl; A Saint and His Son

Langenlois Vineyards, Austria

A wild pair of Austrian reds related by brand, style, and genetics.

Dating back to 1750, Rabl's 75ha of vineyards surround the town of Langenlois, in Austria's Kamp Valley. Some Grüner Veltliner sites from the 1940's still produce flagship single-vineyard bottles here. In total, Rabl bottles about 30 unique wines annually, of which 9 are Gruner Veltliner. "The Earth creates the wine and dictates its quality and character" - a governing philosophy around these parts. The wines are principally allowed full expression of their heritage and environment. Soils vary dramatically by site; from thick limestone with rocky surface to a predominance of loose, mineral rich, loess coverage; yellow and dusty.

The 2009 St. Laurent...

A fantastically quaint, welterweight wine with intrigue and delectability. Its qualities feel wild and racy, yet smooth and tamely packaged. Matured mostly in oversize casks with 15% in new wood. 

Reflective and high-character; dark berry and savoury brown secondaries wrapped neatly in a somehow easygoing attitude. It imparts a particular impression of european countryside and humid climate. 
The finish is smooth and herbaceous, balanced with food friendly acidity that draws a double sip from every visit. Wild hibiscus flower, fresh thyme, autumn leaf, coniferous forest, black cherry, and cassis. In terms of pairing, the wild feel will play nice with blue cheese and light game meats.

Naming arose from the grapes period of typical ripening in France, around August 10th - Saint Lawrence's day (Roman Catholic). The grape originated there, making way through Alsace, Germany, and further east in the 1860's. Today it grows fondly in Austria, with specialty plantings in New Zealand, and is the most widely planted red throughout the Czech RepublicAlthough the issue is not entirely clear, most sources agree on its genetic relation to Pinot NoirThe grapes have thin, black skins with plentiful extraction of colour and tannin. They ripen early and with good acid. The juicy result is often regarded for "pinot'esqe" character riding wild and savoury tones. 

The 2008 Zweigelt Titan...

Drinking more like an older brother to the above; a mid-full weight and profile that picks up where the St. Laurent leaves off. Wether a result of genetics, producer, or region, it's a good thing.

Again with racy qualities to the nose, red berries and violets. The palate is seamless with acids attacking tight concentration. Flavours span from vibrant red and black berry to brown secondaries arriving with the oh-so-smooth tannin. Fresh drip-coffee, hazelnut cream, and lightly toasted oak chips.

Zweigelt came forth in 1922, by the crossing of St. Laurent with Blaufränkisch (aka Lemberger). It finds home across eastern Europe, particularly, holding title of most widely plated red grape in Austria, and the third most in Czech Republic.

WineInk on 17th has the full Rabl selection available in our market, including two amazing Gruner Veltliner's and a Riesling in the family. See the September 2011 piece on the Rabl Gruner.
$21.95 for the St. Lauren
$32.50 for the Zweigelt Titan.

Heading photo curtesy of www.langenlois.at

April 2012