Sohm & Kracher Weinviertel, Austria
What do you get when a world champion sommelier meets up with a world famous winemaker? The answer: a range of exciting food-friendly wines, of moderate alcohol and minerality, made from the local indigenous variety, grown in an emerging, under-appreciated area and now featuring on some of the best wine lists in the world.
Aldo Sohm grew up in Austria’s Tyrol and caught the wine bug as a teen-ager. By his early twenties he had won Best Sommelier in Austria in 2002, a feat he repeated in 2003, 2004 and 2006. He had moved to New York in 2004 and it was here that he first met Gerhard Kracher who was then looking after the US market for his father, the legendary Alois Kracher.
In 2007 Aldo won the title of Best Sommelier in America in 2007 and that landed him the dream job at Michelin 3-star, Le Bernadin in New York City. He went on to win Best Sommelier in the World in 2008 and today still works at Le Bernadin, as well has running his own Aldo Sohm Wine Bar since 2014 just a couple of doors away.
Having become close friends, it was over lunch in Queens in 2008 that Gerhard and Aldo came up with the idea to make a wine together. They both had a soft spot for Grüner Veltliner and both felt that the Austrian region of the Weinviertel was grossly under-estimated. And it was here where they ultimately found their ideal vineyard, with venerable old vines growing on the gravel, sand and marly siltstone of the Pulkau Valley. They released their first wine from the 2009 vintage to great critical acclaim and that acclaim has only grown since.
WINE NOTES AND REVIEWS
2017 Sohm & Kracher Grüner Veltliner Lion
100% Grüner Veltliner from the Pulkau Valley in the Weinviertel, northern Austria. Whole-bunch pressed and wild-yeast fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Matured on fine lees in stainless steel tanks for 12 months.
‘From the Pulkautal in the Weinviertel the 2016 Grüner Veltliner Lion (tasted as a sample) offers very clear, pure and lovely fresh white fruit aromas with lemon and some stony notes. Round and aromatic on the palate, this is a delicate, perfectly balanced and stimulating Grüner Veltliner with salinity and phenolic grip. Dry and crisp. Excellent with fish and many lighter dishes. Drink 2017-2024.’ 88 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.
‘Subtle notes of green and yellow pear appear on the nose. They are joined by a tangy lick of tart citrus and spicy white pepper on the light, dry but utterly moreish palate. This is zippy, appetizing and totally moreish.’ 91 points, Anne Krebiehl, Wine Enthusiast, July 2018.
‘An elegant and polished grüner veltliner with subtle apple, pear and parsley aromas. Long, clean finish. Drink now. Screw cap.’ 92 points, Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, October 2018.
2015 Sohm & Kracher Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben
100% Grüner Veltliner from old vines in the Pulkau Valley in the Weinviertel, northern Austria. Whole-bunch pressed and wild-yeast fermented, 80% in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and 20% in large seasoned oak casks. Matured on fine lees in large seasoned oak casks for 20 months, followed by a further 5 months maturation in stainless steel tanks.
‘The 2015 Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben offers a clear and fascinating floral bouquet of concentrated white fruits intermixed with orange blossom, almond, olive oil and even some stony aromas. Full-bodied, rich and intense, this is a powerful but elegant and enormously floral Grüner Veltliner with ripe, intense, lingering fruit aromas intermixed with broom blossoms and counterbalanced by fine tannins and a nice bitterness. The 2015 is not bone dry and lacks a bit of finesse and refreshing transparency but it is complex and will age very well. Drink 2020-2030.’ 90 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, July 2017.