FX - for most people these letters stands for excitement, explosions and all sorts of sparkles. The same is true for fans of Austrian wine, just that they don't think of digital visual or sound effects, they think of Franz Xaver (Pichler)'s Wachau wines. On 16ha of vineyard land in what to me is one of the underrated wine regions in Europe, the Pichlers grow Grüner Veltliner and Riesling (plus a little Sauvignon Blanc), and over the years have managed to build up an excellent reputation.
Because of all the praise for the Pichler wines, I was confident I would not just get fancy special effects from their 2003 Smaragd Riesling - or would I?
Now that I have lured you into reading on, with a question that implies not everything about the Smaragd wine was as good as it should be I have to disappoint you. It was that good. First of all a lovely, very shiny citrus colour - as pretty as one can hope, and no sign of premature ageing. Then a substantial, almost rough bouquet that blended smoky, salty, cool mineral with a touch of turpentine, bees wax, yellow fruit and a hint of gooseberry into a characterful aroma.
And then there was drinking the Riesling, of course - an experience very similar to smelling it. Cool, almost crunchy mineral texture; very focussed and sharp, with lively acidity; lovely fruit balanced by a touch of waxy turpentine and paraffin; and a lovely intense spicy sharpness that seriously made my lips burn a little.
This is a focussed, very lively, no nonsense, dry Riesling that has substance and character. If you want a change of scenery from the more playful Mosel it is definitely worth a try.