So, have you heard of Grüner Veltliner? Don't worry – I hadn't heard of it either until a couple years ago, when I participated in a Terry Theise trade tasting. I had many Grüner Veltliners that day, and I still wasn't sold on the white grape that accounts for ~36% of all the grapes grown in Austria.
At the time, I didn't like Grüner Veltliner because it seemed to be oily – not just on the finish, but the entire mouthfeel. What I didn't know was how food friendly Grüner Veltliner can be – in fact, it carries a reputation of being a wine to enjoy with food. I've since read that you can even pair it with asparagus.
We were at MicroWines a few months ago, and David convinced me to bring home a bottle without trying it first. He promised I would love it. Since I trust David & Jenn (the staff at MicroWines), I bought it. Over the weekend, we got around to trying it.
Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg "Gobelsburger" Grüner Veltliner 2007
The Gobelsburger Grüner Veltliner is a Terry Theise selection. Terry Theise is this man who brings in only the very best of the small European vintners, imported through Michael Skurnik. If the back label lists either of those names, you know you're in good hands – and good vines. This is actually a second-label from the Schloss Gobelsburg winery and not one of their
"premier" wines. It's made partially from estate grapes and partially from
In his 2008 catalog, Theise describes the Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg winemaker, Michael Moosbrugger, as someone who is searching for the soul of the wine. Theise goes on to describe this particular wine as "an alarm clock that wakes you up with the songs of a thousand birds; wonderfully sorrely and nettle-y and spearminty; less body and more brilliance than ‘06, and still absurdly fine in its class."
I do not know if I found all of that in this wine, but I certainly enjoyed it. We tried this Grüner Veltliner on its own, without food. I don't have Theise's gift for words, but I thought the wine was well-balanced, laced with bright clear notes and the tartness of Granny Smith apples. We even detected some underlying butterscotch, giving this wine a fullness we hadn't expected. As for that oiliness I don't like? Maybe my palate has improved with age. I detected it, but only on the finish, and it was appropriate, without being overdone. We drank this on a hot summer evening, but it would have been equally as pleasant on a Sunday morning with brunch. It's that kind of wine.
Michael Skurnik comments that winemaker Moosbrugger's "special genius seems to lie in the making of very pretty fine-grained wines at the “low” end of his range—no small gift." I would agree. My experience with the Gobelsburger has made me want to re-explore Grüner Veltliner.
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