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Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grapes)

by David M. Bueker » Fri Jul 30, 2021 2:02 pm

Grüner Veltliner is perhaps the grape that is most closely associated with its primary home. While there are plantings of Grüner in other places (e.g., Orgon, California, Hungary, etc.), the mention of the grape inevitably brings up Austria. There are over 40,000 acres of GrüVe planted in Austria, eclipsing the combined total of the rest of the world.

Food friendly, especially with some of those green flavors that wreck many other wines, Grüner Veltliner has thankfully never made it to cocktail wine status, though climate change is pushing alcohol levels of top bottlings past the 14% threshold. It became a staple on restaurant wine lists in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

We’ll be exploring Grüner Veltliner for the month of August.

As an addendum, we know that Grüner is not the most commonly available grape in the wine world. Because of that we are adding an alternative. One of the parents of Grüner is Savignin, which has its tendrils into an astounding number of grapes. To flesh out the possibilities for August you can open a Silvaner, Trousseau, Petit or Gros Manseng, or even Chenin Blanc. They are all half-siblings to Grüner Veltliner!
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Jenise » Fri Jul 30, 2021 3:05 pm

Did not know that about savignin!

Love the topic, thanks. Perfect weather for it, too.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:19 am

Yeah..nice focus. I am back after a month of sun, smoke, butterflies and winery visits in S BC.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Jenise » Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:44 am

Welcome back, Bob. What wineries did you visit? Blue Mountain, I presume....
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Jenise » Sat Jul 31, 2021 11:34 am

Having no clue you were going to throw Savignin (and its relatives) into the mix, we coincidentally opened this gem on Thursday night to pair with some Icelandic cod oven roasted on a bed of cannellini beans with castelveltrano olives and oregano, a fortuitous choice that pushed every button in the wine:

2019 Alpine Roots 'Heida' Valais, Switzerland
100% Savignin! Deep golden yellow color. Nose and flavors of pineapple and lemon with walnutty tannins. Serious concentration and length on the finish--more so than any Savignin or Swiss white I've ever had. A gem for $35 at Total Wine (just last week). If you run into this, BUY.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Jenise » Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:49 pm

So the Swiss wine above was definitely Savignin, not Sauvignon Blanc. If nothing else, I could taste that difference. However, another wine I own, a St. Michael Eppan from Sudtirol/Alto Adige's label also says 'Sauvignon', with a 'u', no 'blanc'. Cellar Tracker presumes this to be Sauvignon Blanc, not Savignin, as there is no option in their data base that's just plain Sauvignon. In that region, can we be sure? (Tastewise, the wine, which we opened Friday night, didn't seem to identify particularly as either.)
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by David M. Bueker » Sun Aug 01, 2021 4:12 pm

Time to consult the tome of Jancis!
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by David M. Bueker » Tue Aug 03, 2021 7:40 pm

  • 2015 Franz Hirtzberger Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Rotes Tor - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau (8/3/2021)
    Classically Wachau Grüner Veltliner with all the white pepper, cress and inner density I expect from a top bottling. The weight seemed even more than expected, but never verged into heaviness. On the finish here was a distinct element of mint that added freshness. Lovely to drink before, during and after the meal.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Jenise » Tue Aug 03, 2021 8:05 pm

Sounds heavenly. I have an Austrian Gruner on deck too. One of only two for sale in this entire town.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Tim York » Sat Aug 07, 2021 11:40 am

I have often felt that, if I were confined to drinking the wines of only one country, that country would be France or, failing that, Italy. However, living in Normandy in the French provinces, I do get increasingly frustrated by the paucity of “foreign” wines on the shelves of supermarkets and cavistes. The choice was much better in little Belgium (even for French wines!), where I was within an hour’s drive of an enthusiastic importer of wines from most countries in the world who, to boot, held regular tastings.

I am quite unlikely to happen upon a bottle of GV this month but am surprised to find that I have had as many as four bottles since I have been living here, mainly bought outside France IIRC. Although I quite often tasted the Nigl range when living in Belgium, I preferred his Rieslings and have yet to find a GV on a par which the best whites I have tasted from other grapes, let alone of a calibre to “beat” best white Burgundy as Jancis R has claimed.

Here are my TNs on those four bottles-

2016 Weingut Steininger Grüner Veltliner Kamptal - Austria, Niederösterreich, Kamptal (23/09/2018)
I have seen claims that GV can rival the finest whites such as Chevalier-Montrachet or Scharzhofberger. I have never had one of that calibre and this one certainly does not have that potential. It was however very enjoyable in a crisp citrus and mineral way and was supported by a saline spine. May develop more complexity in the medium term. Good.

2014 Sepp Moser Grüner Veltliner Reserve Rohrendorf Gebling 1 - Austria, Niederösterreich, Kremstal (08/07/2017)
Attractive dry but not bone dry and medium bodied GV with fresh white fruit, some spice, lively minerals, fresh acidity and some grip on the finish. Good.

2015 Freie Weingärtner Wachau / Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Pichlpoint - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau (06/06/2017)
This is a very attractive medium bodied quite dry white showing lightly fragrant aromatics, charming citrus tinged fruit, gentle minerals, a little spice, moderate acidity and backbone. Not enough acidity for good ageing, I think, but good+ now.

2014 Weingut Steininger Grüner Veltliner - Austria, Niederösterreich, Kamptal (26/10/2016)
Medium/light bodied, refreshing, mineral and a bit prickly but simplistic and quite shallow. GV can do better than this. Overpriced at c.€13; better wines available at half that price from, say, Mâconnais and Muscadet
Posted from CellarTracker
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by David M. Bueker » Sat Aug 07, 2021 12:00 pm

Tim - I was specifically thinking of you when I expanded the range of grapes for this month!

Thanks for chiming in on Grüner Veltliner.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Tim York » Sat Aug 07, 2021 12:14 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Tim - I was specifically thinking of you when I expanded the range of grapes for this month!



Thanks for that thought, David. The only bottles from Savagnin which I have in my cellar at present are Vin Jaune, which need careful pairing. If I see a regular non-oxidative bottling, I'll certainly snap it up. There is a caviste in Deauville who offers excellent but expensive bottles from Ganevat.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Rahsaan » Sat Aug 07, 2021 2:32 pm

Tim York wrote:...have yet to find a GV on a par which the best whites I have tasted from other grapes, let alone of a calibre to “beat” best white Burgundy as Jancis R has claimed.


In all fairness, that's a very high bar. Most of us mortals very rarely drink the 'best' of any grape. So even if GV has a bit lower potential than riesling (or white Burgundy), it still produces some very nice wines that are well worth my time and money. And when we factor QPR, there is even a stronger argument for GV relative to white Burgundy.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Tim York » Sat Aug 07, 2021 3:13 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Tim York wrote:...have yet to find a GV on a par which the best whites I have tasted from other grapes, let alone of a calibre to “beat” best white Burgundy as Jancis R has claimed.


In all fairness, that's a very high bar. Most of us mortals very rarely drink the 'best' of any grape. So even if GV has a bit lower potential than riesling (or white Burgundy), it still produces some very nice wines that are well worth my time and money. And when we factor QPR, there is even a stronger argument for GV relative to white Burgundy.


I can accept that, Rahsaan. And I haven't heard reports of GV being subject to the Pox :evil: .
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 08, 2021 1:02 pm

I have had some past experiences of Savignin and have posted here a while back. Think I need to check out what is downtown..know there is one Vin Jaune. For this month I have a lone GV..the 2019 Hiedler Loss. Stay tuned forumites.
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Rudolf May Rossthalberg Silvaner 2019

by win_fried » Sun Aug 15, 2021 7:38 am

Franken is Silvaner Country and up to now we have not had a Silvaner from somehwere else comparable to what you can find in Franken. We distinguish two stylistic differences, one with some recognizable fruit and the other almost purely on the mineral side. We join this months focus with a recent example of the latter style which we prefer by far.

Rudolf May 2019 Stettener Rossthalberg Silvaner trocken "unfiltriert"

Rudolf May uses new oak barrels made of "Spessarteiche" in barrels between 800-1200 litres for his premium bottling. The Rossthalberg is an "alte Gewanne" in the Stettener Stein and is considered "Premier Cru" in the VDP-regulations, which Rudolf May only recently added to his portfolio. The soil is limestone (Wellenkalk).

Nose: Flinty wet pebble and a hint of Nashi pear.
Palate: Chalky minerality, salt and a hint of mirabelles. Good structure, bone-dry (although 2g res. sugar), hints of vanilla and wood (9 months in new oak). Medium length.

These wines are very food friendly and we considered the Rossthalberg an excellent match to "Japanese" spare ribs with cole slaw, kimchee and a gooseberry-tarragon-parsley relish.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by David M. Bueker » Sun Aug 15, 2021 1:18 pm

Thanks for that Silvaner note. I am currently down to one bottle in the cellar, but more is on the way from Franken (in a Bordeaux style bottle!) and Alsace.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by win_fried » Sun Aug 15, 2021 1:52 pm

Please delete.
Last edited by win_fried on Sun Aug 15, 2021 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by win_fried » Sun Aug 15, 2021 1:59 pm

Bordeaux style bottle

I think I have two different Sylvaner in Burgundy style bottles. Most are in Riesling style bottles. Weltner still uses the Bocksbeutel for his GG. My other favourite producers use wine rack friendlier bottlings.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Jenise » Sun Aug 15, 2021 3:39 pm

The winemaker from Oregon winery Dobbes Family Vineyards joined us yesterday and shared several very interesting whites, including this:

2019 Willamette Valley Vineyards Gruner Veltliner Elton Vineyard
From a mere half acre vineyard and one of only 15 Gruners registered on Cellar Tracker for the Oregon '19 vintage. Pale, delicate, and pretty--not bland, but you have to reach for the light notes of lemon blossom and sweet peas. Very pure with crystalline acidity.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by David M. Bueker » Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:26 pm

Jenise wrote:The winemaker from Oregon winery Dobbes Family Vineyards joined us yesterday and shared several very interesting whites, including this:

2019 Willamette Valley Vineyards Gruner Veltliner Elton Vineyard
From a mere half acre vineyard and one of only 15 Gruners registered on Cellar Tracker for the Oregon '19 vintage. Pale, delicate, and pretty--not bland, but you have to reach for the light notes of lemon blossom and sweet peas. Very pure with crystalline acidity.


Only 15 Gruners from where? Willamette Valley?

There’s well over 1000 different 2019 Grüners in CT right now.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Jenise » Sun Aug 15, 2021 5:14 pm

Oops. That was supposed to be Oregon's '19 vintage. I looked because I was curious; I've only seen a scant few. Between WA (which also produced about 15 per CT) and OR have only had five or six that I can recall. And not one delivered what I so love in the Austrian versions (have two I'll open soon).
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by David M. Bueker » Sun Aug 15, 2021 7:49 pm

There’s a reason I skip domestic Grüner, despite the occasional Tom Hill glowing review. They all suck compared to Austrian liter bottles.
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Re: Wine Focus - Wine 302: Grüner Veltliner (with bonus grap

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Aug 20, 2021 4:28 pm

2019 Hielder Gruner Veltliner Loss, Kamptal Austria.

Light straw color. Aromatic with lycee, mango and pear. Lemon, grapefruit on entry, wet stones obvious.
"Love the minerals" from across the patio. Pleasant, easy to drink, guess standard fare. Could have used some added grip imo.
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