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Clint Hall

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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Clint Hall » Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:04 pm

The Austrian wine scandal, a reaction to wines laced with dethylene glycol (I think I'm spelling it right), stuff that goes into antifreeze, was a heck of a bomb. That's history, though, and it's long past time to put that aside.
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Bob Ross

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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Bob Ross » Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:27 pm

Hoke, thanks for the insights, not only on GV, but on how a wine "catches on". Very interesting sociology.

You make a great case for larger distributors who can afford the kind of educational effort you describe.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Bill Hooper » Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:52 pm

Bernard Roth wrote: fresh Gumpoldskirchner whites sold in the Viennese Heurigen - a wine that doesn't ship to the US as far as I know.


You'll be happy to know that Schellmann Gumpoldskirchner is available in the US via Vin Divino. Wonderful stuff and cheap ( $17 ?) I think that maybe Zierfandler and Rotgipfler will take a little longer than GV to reach the mainstream US vernacular.
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Bernard Roth

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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Bernard Roth » Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:53 pm

Clint Hall wrote:The Austrian wine scandal, a reaction to wines laced with dethylene glycol (I think I'm spelling it right), stuff that goes into antifreeze, was a heck of a bomb. That's history, though, and it's long past time to put that aside.


Why did I bring it up? Only to explain why there was a decade gap in Austrian wine importation that essentially had to reboot at the same time that Americans were discovering the terrific (in some cases) wines grown in our own country. The barrier to overcome was not so much spoiled reputation (consumer memory is short) but total invisibility.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Lou Kessler » Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:06 pm

I should give credit to SF Joe for introducing me to GV at a couple of offlines in SF, approx. late 90s. Due to this introduction the wine store I have an interest that is located in Manhattan Beach. (Manhattan Fine Wines was the first store in so. CA to sell a group of wines from the Austrian Vintage of 1997.) My partners were so thrilled with how "rapidly" the wines sold they let me purchase most of them personally for my own consumption. The remainder went into the closeout barrel where they languished for a long period of time. Pardon me for the obvious advertising but I felt it was owed to me by Robin & WLDG. SF Joe at the time did state publically that the best selection of Austrian wines in SO CA was our closeout barrel. Faint praise indeed.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Clint Hall » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:34 pm

Bernard Roth wrote:
Clint Hall wrote:The Austrian wine scandal, a reaction to wines laced with dethylene glycol (I think I'm spelling it right), stuff that goes into antifreeze, was a heck of a bomb. That's history, though, and it's long past time to put that aside.


Why did I bring it up? Only to explain why there was a decade gap in Austrian wine importation that essentially had to reboot at the same time that Americans were discovering the terrific (in some cases) wines grown in our own country. The barrier to overcome was not so much spoiled reputation (consumer memory is short) but total invisibility.


I didn't mean that you shouldn't have brought it up, but that consumers ought to forget about it. Actually the scandal about dyethelene glycol (I think I got it right this time) was an interesting piece of wine history. In Japan people got Austria and Australia mixed up and you couldn't give away wine from either country. All wines became suspect. I recall diners in Tokyo in French restaurants sipping Coca Cola.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Bernard Roth » Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:01 am

Clint, it's long forgotten. I think you're beating a dead horse.
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Michael Pronay

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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Michael Pronay » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:55 am

Another small particle to the mosaic: The role of a Swedish dentist working in deepest Bavaria, Germany. In the 1990s Jan Erik Paulson, who also deals in fine wines (http://rare-wine.com/), held a series of blind tastings in Vienna, London, Munich, Paris and possibly also New York, featuring top Austrian Grüner Veltliner against top white Grand Cru Burgundies. He chose the GVs, and left it to the locals to chose the Burgundies. (In London it was Jancis Robinson iirc).

The Austrian wines fared more than well, almost always being concentrated at the top of the result list. This gave a kind of publicity of the potential of the grape variety, at least over here in Europe.

As for the US market, I am not a specialist, but I guess Mark Lipton's posting with six points sums it up very well.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:57 am

The vast majority of consumers (at least in the USA) don't even know the whole issue happened. Heck - they don't even know that Austria is a country, much less that it exports wine. If they have any recollection of Austria at all it's Franz Klammer at Innsbruck in the '76 Olympics.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Michael Pronay » Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:15 pm

Sure it wasn't Hermann Maier plummeting spectacularly in the downhill race at Nagano in the 1998 Olympics, followed by equally spectacular triumphs in the super-G and giant slalom a few days later? That's from where his nickname ("Herminator") dates from.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Dan Smothergill » Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:27 pm

It can be hard to keep in mind that what we take for granted might not be general knowledge, even within the group. One of the winners in this year's New York State Home Winemaking Competition was a Gruner Veltliner (originating no doubt in a box). The announcer at the awards ceremony was a winemaker whose own wines win awards. But GV appeared to be terra incognita to him. A puzzled look came over his face when he came to it, he tried pronouncing it several times, and and then asked whether the copy he was reading from was correct. I sat there, silently wondering how a real wine guy could not know about GV. Then I remembered that until 3 years or so ago I'd never heard of it myself.
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Clint Hall

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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Clint Hall » Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:08 pm

[quote="Michael Pronay"]Another small particle to the mosaic: The role of a Swedish dentist working in deepest Bavaria, Germany. In the 1990s Jan Erik Paulson, who also deals in fine wines (http://rare-wine.com/), held a series of blind tastings in Vienna, London, Munich, Paris and possibly also New York, featuring top Austrian Grüner Veltliner against top white Grand Cru Burgundies. He chose the GVs, and left it to the locals to chose the Burgundies. (In London it was Jancis Robinson iirc).
quote]

I can relate to that. It's not hard to see why GVs could beat out white Burgs, especially if they are both young. It takes a long time for Burgs to open up and develop secondary characteristics while Gruner Veltliners can be marvelous mineral mines on release. For instance, last night my wife and I downed a 2005 Schloss Gobelsburg Renner GV that sells for something on the order of a modest twenty-five bucks, and it delivered several times the pleasure of most young Grand Cru white Burgs. (Will this particular GV be better in a few years? I don't think so, but there are plenty of GVs that will.)
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:28 pm

Michael Pronay wrote:Sure it wasn't Hermann Maier plummeting spectacularly in the downhill race at Nagano in the 1998 Olympics, followed by equally spectacular triumphs in the super-G and giant slalom a few days later? That's from where his nickname ("Herminator") dates from.


Nope. A US sports program "Wide World of Sports" used part of Klammer's run in its opening for many years after the '76 Olympics (along with that poor ski jumper who fell off the side of the jump - the agony of defeat).

I'm an admirer of the Herminator, but there's about 6 people in the USA who could identify who is based on name alone.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by James Roscoe » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:52 pm

I thought Austria was famous because of The Sound of Music"? You can certainly see a lot of GV on the shelves of my BAWS in Laurel MD. I don't know what that adds to the conversation, but they seem to sell a bunch of the low-end stuff.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Oliver McCrum » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:53 pm

Clint Hall wrote:
Michael Pronay wrote:Another small particle to the mosaic: The role of a Swedish dentist working in deepest Bavaria, Germany. In the 1990s Jan Erik Paulson, who also deals in fine wines (http://rare-wine.com/), held a series of blind tastings in Vienna, London, Munich, Paris and possibly also New York, featuring top Austrian Grüner Veltliner against top white Grand Cru Burgundies. He chose the GVs, and left it to the locals to chose the Burgundies. (In London it was Jancis Robinson iirc).
quote]

I can relate to that. It's not hard to see why GVs could beat out white Burgs, especially if they are both young. It takes a long time for Burgs to open up and develop secondary characteristics while Gruner Veltliners can be marvelous mineral mines on release. For instance, last night my wife and I downed a 2005 Schloss Gobelsburg Renner GV that sells for something on the order of a modest twenty-five bucks, and it delivered several times the pleasure of most young Grand Cru white Burgs. (Will this particular GV be better in a few years? I don't think so, but there are plenty of GVs that will.)


The strange thing about this series of comparisons is that any taster who can't tell GV from Chardonnay reliably isn't very good, which means that there isn't really a fair blind comparison.

I think the reason GV has become acknowleged as a true fine wine grape is that it can make wonderful wines in a wide range of styles and prices.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Michael Pronay » Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:39 am

Clint,

while it's true that these tastings (GV vs white Burgundy) were done on younger wines, GV has extraordinary staying power and longevity. Since I might be party, let me cite François Mauss, founder-president of the Grand Jury Européen, speaking of a tasting in June, 2006, in Austria:

"So right Michael : you know that at our last GJE session in Langenlois, we have experienced with a huge emotion, very old GV, back to 1932.

"We were all stunned by the exceptional qualities of these wines (especially the 1942) which give you plenty of complexity, finesse, lenght, aroma.

"Truly a varietal at the level of the best german riesling and that I will have no fear to put in a blind tasting with some old Montrachet."

(Posted on the Parker forum on 2006-08-06: http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/sho ... 250&page=2 posting #33)

He also said, commenting this tasting (but I seem unable to finde the exact quote) something like:

"If really experienced tasters misjudge the age of a wine by half a century, then GV is truly one of the great white varieties, on par with riesling and chardonnay."
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Clint Hall » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:09 pm

Michael, what would you recommend in the way of a GV with several years of age, one that might be available through Winesearcher Pro? I don't order wine for delivery during the summer months but would like like to buy an older Gruner or two this fall.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Hoke » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:49 pm

Miichael:

After having participated in a tasting of GV going back 30 years, which was put on by Terry Theise, I can attest to the fact that as GV ages it develops secondary and tertiary characteristics that, oddly enough, do approach the flavor and texture, of older Burgundies.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Mark Lipton » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:58 am

Clint Hall wrote: Actually the scandal about dyethelene glycol (I think I got it right this time) was an interesting piece of wine history.


So let's get the history straight: diethylene glycol, the adulterant that found its way into some sweet Austrian wines, isn't the same thing as ethylene glycol, which is what is used as antifreeze. It is roughly as toxic to ingest as ethanol (LDlo = 1000 mg/kg) and, in the quantities used in the wine tampering, it would have required consuming 28 bottles of wine to run the risk of DEG poisoning, a fact that was lost in the subsequent media hysteria. It was, however, devastating to Austrian wine exports, despite the fact that the wines in question were mostly cheap plonk, and did indirectly result in a tremendous qualitative improvement in Austrian winemaking.

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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Michael Pronay » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:32 am

Clint Hall wrote:Michael, what would you recommend in the way of a GV with several years of age, one that might be available through Winesearcher Pro?

Sorry Clint,

since I don't use Winesearcher Pro, I have no idea. But if you could name a few, I certainly can comment on vintage and producer, possibly also on the wine (if tasted in its youth).
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Hoke » Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:55 am

Clint, one of the best long-term agers (in my extremely limited experience) was the Schloss Gobelsburg. Sturdy to begin with, it held up and developed nicely in the long term. Don't know how many older GVs are available in the marketplace though. At the tasting I mentioned Theise had to cajole some of his producers to release some of their library cellar stock for the tasting. Good hunting.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Clint Hall » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:32 pm

Hoke wrote:Clint, one of the best long-term agers (in my extremely limited experience) was the Schloss Gobelsburg. Sturdy to begin with, it held up and developed nicely in the long term. Don't know how many older GVs are available in the marketplace though. At the tasting I mentioned Theise had to cajole some of his producers to release some of their library cellar stock for the tasting. Good hunting.


I wonder if my 2005 Schloss Gobelsburg Renner will improve with age. (I have two bottles left.) It's a lovely wine but it didn't impress me as having the keen acid and other stuffings needed for the long haul. But then what do I know; I haven't had more than a couple dozen GVs in my life.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by David M. Bueker » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:39 pm

Clint,

I am cellaring the 2005 Renner. Keen acids are not a requisite for Gruner Veltliner to age. Sure it needs some acidity, but we're not talking German Riesling here. Gruner Veltliner is a completely different beast. There's plenty of stuffing there.
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Re: The dynamics behind Grüner Veltliner's rising fame?

by Paul B. » Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:14 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:It was, however, devastating to Austrian wine exports, despite the fact that the wines in question were mostly cheap plonk, and did indirectly result in a tremendous qualitative improvement in Austrian winemaking.

So quality wines benefitted from all-around efforts to improve the image of Austrian wine as part of the fallout - interesting. It can sometimes be hard to wrap one's head around the fact that out of disgrace can come rebirth - even great rebirth, at times.

Although I wasn't into wine in those days, I don't doubt the power of the media in amplifying the whole affair.
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