Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gruner Veltliner - The other white wine

The other day I was enjoying a beautiful afternoon out by the San Francisco Bay at Waterbar, a Swanky restaurant on the Embarcadero that faces the Bay Bridge to the far right and Marin to the left. Sailboats float by and on a clear sunny day you just can't ask for better. They have great happy hour specials (which we happened to be enjoying at the time, pre- Giants game) and oyster menu to die for. All we needed to round out the experience was just the right bottle of white wine. As I perused the list my eye was drawn to the usual picks- Sav blanc from New Zealand or a Rose from Provence... but today I wanted adventure and there in the middle of the list I found what I had been looking for!

As we approach late summer some of you may be saying, "Jen - I have really been enjoying this warm weather and the excuse to drink gallons of white wine... but my palate is bored. If I have to suck down one more glass of Pinot Grigio- I'm swearing off white and switching to cocktails!". Fear not my Friends. There's a new young gun in town hitting your wine lists and it's taking no prisoners. May I introduce the white wine Prince of Austria- Gruner Veltliner! Ok so it's not really that young, initially dating back to the 1800's, but it's popularity state side has just begun to burgeon on wine lists on both coasts over the last 5 + years and in my opinion is really beginning to pick up steam. My first experience with this varietal was in a nine grape blend called "Evolution" produced by Sokol- Blosser out of Oregon. This deeply complex (and delicious!) white wine brought a lot to the table but when tasting it I never quite knew which component belonged to the Gruner Vetliner. Was it there for acidity? Sweetness? Color? Aroma? I just wasn't sure. As it turns out Gruner Vetliner is best known for it's food friendly acidity, citrus flavors sometimes stone fruit aromas, notes of white pepper and that lovely minerality on the finish. I'm not one for overly sweet white wines and the G.V.'s I have tried so far have a crisp profile most closely resembling Sauvignon Blanc's which I love. Gruner Vetliner represents about 1/3 of the vines grown in Austria- a substantial chunk. While it is beginning to grow in the U.S. for now I say go for the real deal and buy Austrian!

Now that I have told you all about it no doubt you are currently jogging to your car to go pick some up! I did some leg work for you but was sadly disappointed. After searching my local Trader Joe's, BevMo's, Cost Plus World Market, & Safeway I could not find any in stock. My goal was to present you with 3 options at different price points. Luckily enough the single bottle I found (Carried at Whole Foods Market) was on the bargain end of the spectrum, so while I cannot offer you a break down of options- at least I can suggest a bottle to try that is affordable! At $11.99 pre tax this is a great deal for a fantastic summer wine.
2009 Gruner Veltliner, Lossterrassen, from Felsner, Austria

Chin Chin!

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