In a tasting of Grüner Veltliner like none seen before in the US, Austrian wine pulled out all the stops rolling out the red carpet for top wine industry names such as Hugh Johnson, Steven Tanzer, Mary Ewing-Mulligan, and Eric Asimov, to name a few.
An expert panel made up of Aldo Sohm, Chef-Sommelier of Le Bernardin, Jancis Robinson, MW, author and acclaimed wine personality, Terry Theise, Importer and personality, and David Schidkneckt, wine critic, and moderated by Willi Klinger, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, discussed hot topics in Austrian wine as the room tasted vintages of Grüner Veltliner dated from1971-2012.
The tasting featured wines from the Reserve category which is a legal definition in Austria. These wines do not subscribe to the lighter, crisp, green apple with a hint of spice and effervescence philosophy, but rather show the true character of Grüner Veltliner and its place amongst the finest wines in the world.
In discussion, both Theise and Robinson admitted that whilst they had originally explored Austria for its Rieslings, they were awed by the complexity and power that Grüner Veltliner had to offer. Robinson also expressed that for the London market, where she lives, she finds that Grüner Veltliner is a grape that is considered to be noble already.
“There is nothing like Grüner Veltliner,” said Theise, “It’s, its own variable range of styles. High acidity is apparent, but that’s not the only thing that makes it great.” Theise continued, “Grüner Veltliner had only been a single cepage grape for 50-60 years, but it has established itself a a bonafide modern classic.”
Sohm, commenting on his experiences with Grüner Veltliner in the US, stated that he was “surprised by how many people knew Grüner Veltliner,” when he arrived, “but,” he continued, “it’s because few only grapes pair so well with different cuisines.”
The panel also took on the recent idea that Grüner Veltliner is a “fad” grape. The conclusion: nope. Instead it’s that many people are still figuring Grüner Veltliner out themselves. Young sommeliers haver adopted it as eagerly as those who precede them.
In addition to these hot topics, there was lively discussion about the alcohol levels of Grüner Veltliner, “off-vintage” years – many of which were tasted -, and Grüner Veltliner’s place in the overall spectrum of wines.
Robinson noted that the first time she actually tasted, “minerality,” or, as she called it, “the ‘m’ word,” was from Austria’s Achleiten vineyard in Kamptal. Talk about good dirt.
The wines were served in six flights with an additional two reception wines, two sparkling intermission wines, and six served with the three course lunch.
|Reception||2012||Wachau Federspiel||Terrassen||Domäne Wachau|
|D||2011||Wachau Smaragd||Smaragd Loibenberg||Tegernseerhof|
|2010||Wachau Smaragd||Smaragd Achleiten Stockkultur||Prager|
|2009||Wachau Smaragd||Smaragd Honivogl||Franz Hirtzberger|
|2008||Wachau Smaragd||Smaragd “Vinothekfüllung”||Knoll|
|E||2007||Kamptal DAC Reserve||Käferberg||Loimer|
|F||2003||Wagram||“Tausend Rosen”||Bernhard Ott|
|2002||Wachau Smaragd||Smaragd Wösendorfer Hochrain||Rudi Pichler|
|2001||Wachau Smaragd||Smaragd Kellerberg||F.X. Pichler|
|G||Österreichischer Sekt||Grüner Veltliner Brut||Szigeti|
|2010||Österreichischer Sekt||Grüner Veltliner||Steininger|
|3 x 2 Grüner Veltliner with Lunch: 2010, 2009, 2007|
|H||2010||Kamptal DAC Reserve||Maxiumum||Hiedler|
|I||2009||Traisental DAC Reserve||Berg||Markus Huber|
|2009||Traisental DAC Reserve||Der Wein vom Stein||Neumayer|
|J||2007||Kremstal DAC Reserve||Tabor||Forstreiter|
|2007||Kremstal DAC Reserve||Gebling||Josef Schmid|
The tasting was a great success. The room was bustling with the whose who of the wine business and some even declared it to be the, “social event of the season.” We’ll have to agree.