At a loess for words. Exceptional multi-vintage #grunerveltliner tasting with thanks to @austrianwine
On Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 Grüner Veltliner supervened in Toronto. It was long past due for the community of Sommeliers, Media and Austrian advocates to convene for the purpose of a vertical tasting followed by an Austrian wine bar of product currently available in Ontario. An ausbreitung of the highest Grüner order. I was fortunate to be a part of the Spoke Club fest and thought it high time I said something about it.
The Austrian Wine Fair comes to Toronto’s St. James Cathedral, Library & Snell Hall on April 14th, 2016. The Austrian Wine Marketing Board and 30 Austrian vintners will be showcasing 165 wines, to media, trade and in partnership with WineAlign, to an evening reception for consumers.
Tutored Tasting for Sommeliers and Media, 11 AM – 12:30 PM.
Trade Walk-Around Tasting for trade professionals only, 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM.
Austrian Wines – A Taste of Culture, consumer tasting 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM. Only $55 for WineAlign members (regular cost is $60). Reserve your tickets here.
WineAlign’s John Szabo, MS has this to say. “Austria has a terrific culture of wine, producing and drinking. Beyond the world’s best Grüner Veltliner, you’ll also find astonishing Riesling, as well as more exotic white grapes with singular flavours. But it’s the Austrian reds – Blaufränkisch, St. Laurent & co. – that may shock you most, in tune with the zeitgeist of the modern drinker. I look forward to reconnecting with the folks who make them.”
For more information contact Birgitta Samarvarchian, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416 967 3348. The closing date for registration is April 13, 2016.
Traditionally known for its white wines, few realize that one third of Austria’s vineyards are planted to red. At the Austrian tasting an educational seminar will feature flights of the three red aces, the indigenous grape varieties Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, plus a rare flight of Austrian Pinot Noir. Two years ago I concurred:
“The whites, mainly centered around the signature variety Grüner Veltliner, showed the mineral and salinity so necessary to the grape’s success. Reds made from Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch are Austria’s trump card, ready and willing to take on the world’s reds imbued of elegance and finesse.”
Related – A ramp to Austrian wine
Back to that October tasting. Outside of making the trip to Vienna and forging an itinerary that includes no less than a dozen high profile producers who generously agree to crack open some older vintages, what other setting could present Grüner Veltliner in such light? The age ability recognition factor knocked another one off the bucket list and opened new doors to perception. If for no other reason, and there are many, he Austrian tasting coming to Toronto should not be missed.
On the road w: @zoltanszabo & @tonyaspler we concur. Expert overture @austrianwine #grunerveltliner via @johnszabo
Stift Göttweig Grüner Veltliner Göttweiger Berg 2014, Kremstal, Austria
Freshness, with a minimal amount of Co2, herbal certainly, with pears and stones. The fruit finale is up, up and away. Very flavourful, almost tropical Grüner.
Fritsch Grüner Veltliner Ried Steinberg Ruppersthal 2014, Wagram, Austria
Has a candied meets medicinal nose and more than its share of mineral to taste. Lingers with a sweetness that is not sugar. It’s a tang derived from grape tannin.
Weixelbaum Grüner Veltliner Reserve Ried Wechselberg 2013, Kamptal, Austria
Very ripe, so tropical to nose and smells like candy floss, like enticing spun sugar. Mouthfeel is more like unoaked Chardonnay. Global entry strategy for Grüner to take the market by fresh storm turns exit strategy without reason.
Edlmoser Grüner Veltliner Ried Himmel 2013, Wien, Austria
The mineral expression of the young Grüner. Elemental and metallic. Good range of motion, right side of the mineral tracks. Really fine tracking and length.
Liegenfeld Grüner Veltliner Ried Himmelriech 2013, Burgenland, Austria
Full-ish and bullish, especially in flight comparison. Quite the fruit monster here, with a sugarless sour candy sensation and savoury linger. An eastern European cough candy with enough subtlety to keep it from crossing any uncomfortable lines. The outlier.
Holzapfel Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Achleiten 2012, Wachau, Austria
A tiny bit of botrytis giving off a mushroom and truffle note, perfect at this stage for a ’12 though it will likely increase going forward, possibly at the compromise of the stellar fruit and even deeper mineral passion play. This is an intense wine with acidity that may be waning but the wine cuts a deep and serious bowie wound. The lees really rules and reigns in the rest. Turns to cider after 10-15 minutes. Changes. “Oh, yeah, Mmm. Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for. And my time was runnin’ wild.”
Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Kellerberg 2012, Wachau, Austria
Quite stoic, clear, clean, steely, like unoaked Chablis. Wondering where the lees are in this, how much and for how long because it has that distinct mineral tang that lees will give to a wine made like this. Exemplary but simple. Though the acidity is low so it finishes fat. Still, proper and simple.
FJ Gritsch Mauritiushof Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Singerriedel 2012, Wachau, Austria
This has the candied nose, the tropical fruit and the lactic feel. Quite a mouthful of same flavours in repeat on top of the aromatics and an overall layered tang. Like those white blends again.
Leth Grüner Veltliner Ried Scheiben “1ÖTW” 2012, Wagram, Austria
Powerful loess in concentration, smells like scraped wet soft tuff-like rocks, almost powdery and not a fruit-driven Grüner. Better acidity than some and finishing bitters. The first to do so.
Allram Grüner Veltliner Reserve Ried Gaisberg “1ÖTW” 2011, Kamptal DAC, Austria
Age is creeping in, with a petrol and tannic note that take this into steep slope, white stoicism. The slate is really in, the acacia barrel giving a near-nutty note and certainly white flower distillate. Like eau de vivre. Got a spark.
Salomon Undhof Grüner Veltliner Reserve “Von Stein” 2010, Kremstal DAC, Austria
Gas and stone again, with more verve and life. The first to give soil funk without sweetness or botrytis. A slight Co2 note, a spark, very mineral character. Old vines give concentration, rocks do tannin and acidity lingers nicely. Got stein. Old Riesling reduction and energy equals implosive energy. Flight #2 really speaks to the loess and here is it definitely on high.
Rudi Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Wösendorfer Hochrain 2008, Wachau, Austria
A fine slow decline in grace, elegance, bald, striking. Here the reason not to fear and for any and all decisions to protract age from Grüner. There has been no discernible deterioration and without a doubt the cleanest fruit in its original state. No flaws. So in that sense an ageless wonder. Strikes as so much younger; colour, aroma, flavour, tannin and linger. Ageless.
Brundlmayer Grüner Veltliner Reserve Ried Lamm 2007, Kamptal DAC, Austria
Certainly showing age here, through all its components and has a sugary gaseous feel. Says Trocken so I wonder what the RS really is. Mineral and acidity are in great interplay. Good length. Really smart and necessary look into aged Grüner. Reductive torque from a top vineyard. The French paradox in analogy is Sémillon.
Hiedler Grüner Veltliner “Familienreserve” 2006, Kamptal, Austria
There was some dirty fruit here, past its prime, late harvest certainly, smelling of tropical fruit past ferment and into decay. But, there is acidity so there is life. Lots of bitters. Some volatility. In a way, The Frick of Austria. Heavy lees, acacia barrels. No fining, no filtration, some biodynamic principals applied to grape growing.
Malat Grüner Veltliner “Das Beste vom Veltliner” 1999, Kremstal, Austria
I find this so much fun at 16 years of age with burnt orange, caramel, white pepper, spices, and an elemental, aerified glory that is some kind of serious inhalant and intoxicant. Late harvest again, clementine segments of flavour, with citrus acidity and great mental acuity. Great bitters. This is on par with some aged Alsace, somewhere between Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Weighs in and integrates its 19 g/L of RS with distinction.
Herbert Zillinger Grüner Veltliner Reserve “Radikal” 2013, Weinviertel DAC, Austria
Oxidative, spontaneous ferment, leading to tang upon tang. The methodology has led to tannin in layers, some orange segment and bitters. Acidity is not striking and its aridity means drink this early.
Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner “wildlux” 2013, Kremstal DAC, Austria
I get terpenes, like cool-climate Chardonnay, well, more cool than Chardonnay and then it gains in salinity, sea salts, brine, groove but not necessarily mineral. Has real verve, life and yet again, not for age. Known for their natural winemaking.
Zillinger Johannes Grüner Veltliner “Numen” 2013, Osterreich, Austria
Amphorae wine, old vines, certainly oxidative, thick texture from lees, but there is acidity. Orange again and edgy, with a piercing limestone tang that runs directly through. Numen “natural spirit inhabiting a place or just natural genius (of spirit).” No external intervention.
Sepp Moser Grüner Veltliner Ried Schnabel “Minimal” 2013, Weinland, Austria
Here is the Alsatian Grüner, natural and with the addition of slow micro-oxidation of old barrels. Eighteen months seems almost on the lee side of time, as we find so much preserved lemon and a lack of Grüner impression. Certified biodynamic. “Will not meet the expectations of wine consumers today.” Dill pickle meets a tomato of volatility.
Wimmer-Czerny Grüner Veltliner “Pur” 2012, Wagram, Austria
Hard to believe this is only 2 g/L of RS. Real Muscat character in aromatics and again terpenes but with a naturally oxidative bent.
One in the April 2nd, VINTAGES release
Loimer Grüner Veltliner 2014, Dac Kamptal, Austria (142240, $21.95, WineAlign)
Flat out delicious Grüner Veltliner with a nice split between fruit and mineral, mas o menos, neither really leading the other. Citrus and a bit of an airy, gravel feel. Drink 2016-2019. Tasted March 2016
Good to go!
WineAlign: Michael Godel