“At some point with his wine in my glass I had a flickering thought that this was precisely the kind of wine I most loved to drink, and that most people ought to love to drink; vivid and forthright, frisky and yet with substance, solid and strong yet still drinkable. And not so digitally detailed that you feel you have to study its every nuance with each and every sip. There is something incredibly hale about Hiedler’s wines. They seem to glow with health and vitality.” –Terry Thiese
From 86 acres of Erste Lage, an Austrian designation for “First Growth”, vineyards in the Kamptal, Ludwig Hiedler is crafting some of the most interesting, texturally compelling wines of the region. The Hiedler family has been producing wine since the mid-18th century.
Hiedler’s holdings are in the best vineyards in the Kamptal, with riesling parcels in the Heiligenstein and Gaisberg, and grüner veltliner in the deep loess vineyards that rest at the base of those two mountains: Lamm, Grub, and Renner. Hiedler’s other sites in the area include a ‘Grand Cru’ monopole, Thal, Spiegel, Steinhaus, and Loiserberg. In addition to grüner veltiliner and riesling, the Hiedlers work with weissburgunder, the first plantings of which were planted by Ludwig’s father in the Schenkenbickl, a ‘Grand Cru’ plot just below the Käferberg. The estate is a pioneer in ecological winegrowing and only sustainable vineyard practices are implemented – intense cover of herbs and flowering vegetation are used, as well as a compost program and integrated pest management. The first organic experiments began in the sites Thal and Kittmannsberg and have extended throughout Hiedler’s parcels.
Ludwig extends his natural approach to his vines in the cellar as well. For the past several years now, Ludwig has operated with only spontaneous fermentations, without temperature control, enzymes or even SO2. Grapes are selectively harvested by hand. After fermentation, wines are matured in either stainless steel or casks made with local Langenlois acacia, employing extended lees contact and selective batonnage. Notably, malolactic fermentation is never blocked but allowed to occur naturally, allowing Hiedler a quite broad and unique dimension of texture and weight; a distinctive approach to both grüner veltliner and riesling from this region.
Vineyard area: 70 acres
Top sites: Thal, Losierberg, Spiegel, Heiligenstein, Gaisberg
Soil types: Sandy loess and loam, gravel, eroded desert sandstone
Grape varieties: 45% Grüner Veltliner, 15% Riesling, 10% Weissburgunder, 10% Chardonnay, 3% Frühroter Veltliner, 17% Zweigelt, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese