Salomon Undhof

Austria, Kremstal

Founded in 1792 SALOMON UNDHOF is a wine estate with a long tradition. The Salomon family from the Wachau produces white wines from the best terraced "Urgestein" sites along the Danube River in Stein and Krems. Today Bert and Gertrud Salomon run the winery. The famous Riesling of the estate thrives on the topsites of Kögl and Pfaffenberg. The Grüner Veltliner Von Stein comes from the steep terrassed hills behind the old town of Stein. The best "loess" soils provide the Lindberg and Wachtberg Grüner Veltliner. All the grapes are harvested traditionally by hand only. Their great vineyard locations and meticulous work in the vineyards are prerequisites for their elegant wines. Wines with finesse and perfect mineral balance reflect the very special micro climate of this lovely river valley. The Estate’s Grüner Veltliner and Riesling distinguish themselves through elegance and consistency.

Other reviews and comments
       Berthold (“Bert”) Salomon, who manages to juggle hands-on management of his Finniss River Australia estate with that of his ancestral property in the urban borderland between Krems and sister city Stein, is on a roll, having over the past several years achieved increasingly consistent and impressive results at what was already among the Kremstal’s longstanding best addresses, not to mention among the area’s historical leaders and earliest estate-bottlers of Riesling. Salomon, who from 1992 headed the governmental Austrian Wine Marketing Board in its seminal stage, returned to his family estate a decade later to understudy and collaborate with his older brother Erich, who had run things there since 1971 but was ill, and died in 2007. The core of the Undhof vineyards is terraces in Stein and neighboring Krems bequeathed in the 14th century to the Hospital of the Holy Ghost in Bavarian Passau, from whom, amazingly, the Salomon family still rents some of them, returning a share of wine each year. The Undhof’s two top, steeply terraced sites of Kögl and Pfaffenberg are devoted entirely to Riesling--a portion of the latter being farmed for the iconic Metternich family--whereas their diverse Grüner Veltliner acreage, much expanded of late, incorporates several distinctly impressive albeit internationally relatively little-known sites. Of special note is the Wieden, or “meadow,” a sandy spot now occupied largely with the Danube University and Stein-Krems prison grounds but for all of its flatness the source of some uncannily memorable past Grüner Veltliners. (Nowadays, its fruit is combined with that of terraced Urgestein vineyards above, hence the cuvée designation “Wieden & Berg.”) Riesling and Grüner Veltliner are notably supplemented by an Undhof-specific yellow Traminer that tends to combine the florality and spice of Gewurztraminer with acidity that at times approaches that of Riesling. This unusual cultivar, found also at the Undhof’s sister estate, Salomon-Oberstockstall in the Wagram, but not legally recognized as a distinct variety, was supplied to the Wachau’s Emmerich Knoll in the late 1990s and has since informed memorable wines there. The 2013 Grüner Veltliner harvest was modest in size due to the prevalent disruption of flowering, and the Undhof’s prime site of Wachtberg, precocious as it usually is, was especially hard-hit. But Salomon is one of many growers in the greater Krems area to point out that barring the poor flowering, nature was set to deliver an overabundance of Grüner Veltliner, so that eventual crop levels were in aggregate by no means the smallest of recent decades. Salomon’s results confirm his hypothesis that the September and early October rains were more challenging in their extent and their consequent impact on Riesling in the Kamptal and parts of the Wachau than they were in the terraces of Stein and adjacent Krems. Even at the low end of his range, Salmon eschewed any resort to de-acidification or any encouragement of malolactic transformation. “We simply waited to pick until the flavors were ripe,” he remarked, which meant largely waiting to begin until mid-October.
(Nov 2015)

       Berthold Salomon certainly has his hands full, what with a large domaine in South Australia’s Finniss River sector on top of his family’s Undhof estate, and with numerous other projects tangentially involved with wine growing. Somehow, though, he not only manages all this; he and his team are also clearly on a qualitative roll – at least, with the Gruner Veltliner that makes up their majority of production – and have once again delivered both excitement and value with 2012.
(May 2014)