Over the last decade Austrian wines have begun to find their place on US shelves. As is usually the case it starts with those who are really into wine and then eventually starts to seep into the conciousness of the everyday wine consumer. Riesling would seem like the most obvious choice to make a foothold first; and there are some tremendous Austrian examples. But in my experience it's often something different, something that a country or region does that stands apart from other areas that helps them establish themselves. In the case of Austria that grape is Grüner Veltliner. This varietal is poised to do for Austria what Malbec has done for Argentina. Sure, it can be grown elsewhere but nobody makes Grüner Veltliner the way Austria does, ditto for Argentine Malbec. Today I'll look at an example of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling from Loimer. This Austrian producer with a history dating to 1998 produces approximately 16,000 cases of wine per year. Well over 90% of their production is dedicated to white varietals; red varietals and sweet wines make up the remainder of their portfolio. The 2007 Loimer Riesling Langenlois Terrassen has modest alcohol of 13.5%. This selection is most often available for approximately $25.
Lychee fruit and granny smith apple present in the nose of this 2007 Riesling. Lemon zest, grapefruit, hazelnut, Bartlett pear and subtle hints of ginger are part of a full flavored palate that delivers waves of flavor in spades. Emerging tart apple notes and a huge influx of mineral notes emerge on the lengthy and persistent finish. This wine is tangy, zest and incredibly refreshing, helped in part by fine acidity and excellent overall structure.
This is a lovely Riesling with tons of character and many layers of complexity. My advice is to drink it over the next 2-3 years and to be careful not to over chill it. A couple of degrees warmer and you will be rewarded with a lot of additional flavor.
The 2007 Loimer Grüner Veltliner Terrassen comes in with an alcohol content of 13%. This wine is also most often available for approximately $25.
Do you like apricots? If you do the tremendous apricot notes that open the nose of this Grüner Veltliner will certainly please you as they do me. These are underscored by gentle hints of vanilla. Persistent, unyielding mineral characteristics are present throughout the palate. Lovely flourishes of lemon ice and stone fruit echo onward and lead to the finish which is unrelenting in length. Honey emerges and accompanies the mineral notes that just keep on coming. This wine is incredibly crisp and refreshing with a racy acidity.
This wine will pair well with lighter foods. It would go quite nicely with brunch selections. However, I personally prefer to sip this Grüner Veltliner on its own and contemplate its beauty, elegance, complexity and my happiness that this fantastic varietal is soon to have its day on US shelves. Not to mention the prominent place in the collective conciousness of wine drinkers that it so richly deserves.
Both selections from Loimer are tasty, well made and reasonably priced for the complexity and quality they offer. The Grüner Veltliner though is a slight cut above for me for all the reasons I listed above.