Wolfgang Kneidinger

Written by Franz Weninger on the 2nd of May 2019

This year, Palais Coburg was awarded the accolade of Best Wine List in the World for the second time since 2014 by the renowned World of Fine Wine magazine. In total, six specially appointed wine cellars with the ideal temperature and humidity for the best wine rarities harbour 60 000 bottles from four centuries. Paired with the medieval architecture of the old bastion, Palais Coburg presents wine culture and enjoyment in the most suitable way. “We are very proud of this award, and feel that it justified our approach. My thanks go out to my current and previous sommelier who helped curate our cellar, and I must of course also thank our owner who gives us the all-important creative freedom. I have been in charge of the wines at Palais Coburg for five years now, but I am aware that our wine list is a project which was started many years ago and is still far from completion,” says Wolfgang Kneidinger, Head Sommelier and current Manager of the Palais Coburg’s Wine Archive.

© Palais Coburg, Tina Herzl

Tasting Notes by Wolfgang Kneidinger

Tasted freshly opened, in a white wine glass at 8°C. Aromas of green and yellow apples, apple juice, herbs, green walnuts, hints of cold smoke as well as spice and cumin. The palate echoes the aromas of apple fruit, smokiness and green walnut. The wine still appears a little austere.

Conclusion: Re-taste the following day in a red wine glass, at a temperature of 12°C.

No sooner said than done. The initial aromas have been joined by exotic fruit. Lightly smoky bacon notes appear, but they seem very well-integrated. The fruit remains dominant. On the palate, the wine is now a lot more harmonious, with a wonderful nutty note. The finish has equally improved and lengthened. This makes the wine a perfect example of how cold temperatures and early drinking can be to the detriment of the wine’s enjoyment.

This Merlot shows aromas of redcurrant, delicate nuances of herbs, some black pepper and sour cherry compote. Its acidity lends the wine the necessary freshness without seeming too dominant. A little chocolate and cocoa as well as a touch of cinnamon round off the nose. When tasting the wine freshly opened, the tannins are noticeable straight away and appear quite robust. Gradually, some flavours of dark chocolate, cherry and redcurrant come to the fore.

This wine is undoubtedly not meant to age for decades, but is rather meant to be enjoyed in the next 1 - 4 years. Within this time frame, this wine will not disappoint and is a great find in terms of value for money.

Freshly opened, the wine offers deep, dark fruit, light animal notes, leather horse saddle and a hint of graphite. On the nose, it seems quite austere, closed and rather reserved for a Merlot. On the palate, a wonderful harmony of tannins and acidity is at play. The tannins are lively and very youthful, however, and this is what matters most, they appear perfectly ripe and structured. The wine is clearly too young, but it is easy to tell what great class it is (still) hiding.

Two to three hours later…

Now the nose is whole different story: elegant notes of cherry, overripe raspberry and perfectly ripe blackberry – no jammy or unpleasantly overripe notes. Hints of violet, graphite and pencil. In general, the nose now appears significantly rounder and more intense than before. The palate is a little rounder and fuller but the tannins are still quite pronounced – however, as mentioned before, of perfect quality.

Drinking this wine now would be fun, but also a mistake. It will provide significantly more enjoyment from 2020 or even later. A little bit of patience will definitely bring great reward in this case.

The Message in a Bottle is our wine subscription. Our aim here is to present to you an assortment of wines to enjoy, including interesting tasting notes from our guest authors. Our Winter 2017 Message in a Bottle is presented by Wolfgang Kneidinger.

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