02/05/08 – Gruner Veltliner

By Jesse on February 5, 2008


I frequently receive complaints that the weekly e-mails are too long and ungainly.  Since the name of this week’s wine is itself long and ungainly, I’ve decided to keep the e-mail short.

This week we’ll be tasting Gruner Veltliner (more accurately but less conveniently spelled “Grüner Veltliner” with little dots above various letters).  The grape, which is pronounced GROO-ner VELT-lee-ner, is not only Austria’s most widely planted white grape, but arguably its most prestigious as well.  A stereotype exists that Austrian wine is basically just cut-rate German wine; however, nothing could be further from the truth.  While the wines of Germany are light, precise, and frequently sweet, Austrian wine — especially Gruner Veltliner — can be “wildly untamed,” fuller in body and fruit, and consistently dry.  The vibrant grape allegedly features flavors of peaches, vanilla, and fresh-ground pepper.  Here’s a brief summary from the Appellation America page, a longer summary for those with some time on their hands, and a third article which lists some top producers.

Please note: you’ll be unlikely to find Gruner Veltliner in a supermarket, so plan on making a pilgrimage to your local wine dispensary.  As always, you can bring a $10 donation instead.

We’ll be meeting at Emily’s house in Hollywood.  She has just undergone LASIK eye surgery, so please ensure that you look your best, as to not offend her keen new aesthetic perception.  Also, chill your bottle.  Also, be prepared to participate in a “focus group” discussion with a reporter from the LA Times.  We’ll see you at 9pm on Wednesday.