The grapes come from the Lamm vineyard, which sits between the rocky slopes of the Heiligentstein and Gaisberg vineyards. The Lamm vineyard has different soils than its neighbors: here we find loess and loam, which, combined with great ripening from the south-facing slopes, tend to make broad, rich wines with deep density. Other producers working the Lamm include Schloss Gobelsburg, Hirsch, and Birgit Eichinger.
Willi Bründlmayer took over in 1980; the family lives at the winery and is committed to organic fertilizers, cover crops, natural yeasts, and biodiversity in general. The reserve grüners (like this Lamm) are fermented in large, neutral casks of Austrian oak. Willi has a unique regimen at harvest time: he reserves a small amount of grapes during the harvest and macerates them for half a day to have some must with a bit of skin contact. He uses this tannin-rich must to season his ferments with a little richness.
Perhaps he did so well in such a damp year due to his work with the lyre training system; a vine training system Willi helped define that involves splitting the grape vine and training it into two arms that extend upward. This divides the canopy, allowing sunlight in on both sides, and it also increases airflow. This can help prevent rot and mildew, and increase ripeness in tough vintages.
Bründlmayer 'Lamm' 2008 Grüner Veltliner Reserve (Kamptal, Austria)
When I first tasted this wine it was at a huge industry portfolio tasting. Sometimes, these grand tastings seem silly to me, because your palate can become weary after tasting so many wines, and how can you really get to know the story behind the bottle when you have a rushed 30 seconds to speak to the winemaker and try their entire selection? But on the other hand, if a wine has the ability to rise above the noise in this setting where there are so many sensory inputs, then perhaps it is something truly profound. I came to this after trying a hundred wines and it just stunned me into silence. I had to steal away to a quiet corner to really give it more attention. I immediately special-ordered a case for my wine list. Since then, every time I open this bottle I am once again stunned. It is so beautiful a wine I can barely describe it. It is the kind of wine that makes you want to be a better sommelier each day-- the kind of wine that makes you want to rise up and match the quality of what is in the glass. The wine is rich, broad, and dense, with filigree minerality throughout, and a complexity of aromas that range from apples to melons to what the forrest air must smell like just beyond the Lamm.