Weingut Helmut Lang Pinot Noir Illmitz Beerenauslese 2006
Helmut is his own man. He seems to enjoy his status as a semi-detached figure from the mainstream of the Austrian winemaking community, and has no interest in playing by the rules just for the sake of it. But he knows what is important in making fine wine. His vineyards are immaculate and he has a deep understanding of the way in which each of his grape varieties best responds to botrytis. Sämling 88 is his most widely planted grape (which he refuses to describe by its German name of Scheurebe) and with this he epitomises the success of fine botrytis affected wines. The wine has a fine grapefruit tang, which one finds tucked away behind the significant honey flavours and textures of the botrytis. Varietal character is often surprisingly easy to find behind the richness and viscosity of the botrytis. Last year’s leading candidate for delicious eccentricity was the Pinot Noir Eiswein, but this year we have a BA Pinot Noir and a Riesling Eiswein.