(cross-posted by the delightful Gretchen Roberts from Everyday Wine.
If you're not familiar with this wine, there are a couple of things you should know about Gruner Veltliner:
1. It’s the hot new wine of sommeliers and chefs around the country, so if you drink it you’re in the know.
2. Gru-Vee, as it’s sometimes called, absolutely deserves its celeb status, as it’s one of the most food-friendly wines around.
I found the most interesting bottle of Gruner Veltliner at the wine store; it was in a dark green liter bottle (larger than a standard wine bottle by 250 mL, or almost 2 extra glasses) with a bottle cap lid. Cheap, or great find? I wondered. Then I turned the bottle over and saw the winning words: “A Terry Theise Estate Selection” (see page 34 of the catalog for his wonderful description).
Terry Theise is arguably the best cool-climate white wine importer around; if you see his name on a bottle of German or Austrian wine or Champagne, you can snap it up and be assured of its quality, complexity, finesse, and charm. Wine geeks read his catalogs for entertainment because, though he’s in the sales business, his lovely prose reflects his passion for the growers and vineyards he works with.
The Hofer was just $15.99, and with the extra ounces an excellent deal. I’m pretty decent at reading wine labels, even those super-confusing French and German bottles, but I have to admit this one had me stumped. It was just a jumble of Austrian words, and I had to turn to good old Google to help me solve the riddle. Turns out the producer is Hofer, the grapes were grown in Auersthal, and the estate is certified organic. I checked it out on Wine Enthusiast's free ratings, and though the '07 wasn't rated, the '05 got an 89. Bingo: time for an 89 Project cross-post.
The Gru-Vee, true to its cool-climate roots, was fresh and acidic, not unlike cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc. Also like Sauv Blanc, GV has a grapefruity varietal character and is extremely food-friendly. But that’s where the similarities end: while Sauvignon Blanc often tastes herbal and grassy, Gruner Veltliner has what’s often referred to as “peppery” notes, as in black pepper. It sounds strange for a white wine, but it’s absolutely true, and that’s probably part of the reason it’s so great with food. Just don’t gulp it alone, because the acidity that makes food sing will turn your stomach inside out alone.
Price: $15.99 (about prices)
Rating: Great Value (about ratings)