2011 Weingut Allram Grüner Veltliner

2011 Weingut Allram Grüner VeltlinerPrice: $10.99 (for 1L) @ K&L Wines imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “From some of the top sites in the Kamptal. Michaela Haas is the 4th generation of this family to run the 23 ha domaine. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and bottled with a crown cap, this is the perfect liter – fresh, light and snappy; delivering all the thirst quenching qualities you look for in a wine like this. The nose is textbook Gruner Veltliner filled with spice and pepper, snap pea and grapefruit. It is sleek, focused and juicy owing to the wonderful bright acid structure of the 2011 vintage.”

What I Think:

(13%) Fresh and zippy with bright, juicy grapefruit before a refreshing, white pepper laced finish that lingers on nicely. A thirst quencher except that it keeps calling you back for more. Before you know it the 1L bottle is gone. Perhaps Grüner on summer solstice should become a new tradition. Between this and the Franz Etz one should always be on hand…

Rating: Buy It

Wine Geek Notes: Direct K&L import, Fermented and aged in stainless steel, Pop-top so have your bottle opener handy

2009 Rabl Grüner Veltliner Spiegel

2009 Rabl Grüner Veltliner SpiegelPrice: $6.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “An AMAZING value, this white boasts subtle green grass with that classic Gruner peppery spice and mineral tones racing up and down the middle. A touch of lime zest interplayed with green apple, lemon wax and a crystalline structure that has a fantastic elegant structure and length. Weingut Rabl is a family run winery quietly located in the village of Langenlois, the heart of the Kamp Valley. The unique microclimates and mineral rich soils give these wines their unique and renowned character. If you are looking for wines that are spot on typical of Kamptal and posses spot on varietal character, these are most definitely wines for you.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) Tight lemon, mineral palate with green apple fruit on a backbone of refreshing mineral acidity. Well balanced and dry with nice fruit leading to a zesty, white pepper (perhaps a bit light for Grüner) spiced finish that lingers nicely (with a hint of creaminess). Single vineyard Grüner (discounted from $18) for $7? Are you kidding me? I already stocked up…

Rating: Buy It

2009 Rabl Riesling Steinhaus

Price: $7.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

2009 Rabl Riesling SteinhausPer K&L Wines “Imagine yourself sipping on a cold glass of fresh grape juice (white grape juice not that oddly colored purple stuff) with a slightly muddled apricot right off the tree. For being so delicate and lifting this has quite the structure behind it along with plenty of power keeping everything in check just in case you leave it open for a day or three or, forget a few bottles in the back of your closet. Weingut Rabl is a family run winery quietly located in the village of Langenlois, the heart of the Kamp Valley. The unique microclimates and mineral rich soils give these wines their unique and renowned character. If you are looking for wines that are spot on typical of Kamptal and posses spot on varietal character, these are most definitely wines for you.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) Pure, perhaps a bit light golden in color. Bright minerality on the palate with faint peach and firm acidity which leads to a spicy finish lacking fruit perhaps. Clean, crisp almost perfectly dry. More fruit as it warms so be sure not to drink this one too cold. A tad of sweetness emerges as it warms; makes me wonder what the residual sugar is? Either way this one is well structure and appears it will last for a while. Single vineyard Riesling (discounted from $19) for $8? Sign me up! I already grabbed six more…

Rating: Buy It

2009 Franz Etz Grüner Veltliner

2009 Franz Etz Gruner VeltlinerPrice: $11.99 (for 1L) @ K&L Wines imported by Winemonger

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines When it comes to killer value-priced Gruners like this one, more is definitely more. You will find that a liter of this in your fridge goes much much quicker than anticipated! This very dry, peppery white rings in at just 12.5% abv, and it is a cool, clean, bracing quaff with a spicy finish and notes of green melon and grapefruit. Just what a white wine should be, and nothing more.

What I Think:

(12.5%) I don’t know that I can say simple with any more enthusiasm than right here. Light straw color with stony, citrus notes on the nose. The palate is immediately dry, crisp and refreshing with nice mineral driven acidity and juicy lemon and honeydew flavor that gently fade in to an again crisp, white pepper finish. This one comes in a liter bottle and is perfect for any summer quaffing occasion. Going to the beach? Yes. Having a barbeque? Yes. And can pair with just about any meal to boot. Good stuff. If you are looking to get started with Gruner look no further than this crowd-pleaser!

Rating: Buy It

Summer Stash: Some Riesling and a Grüner Veltliner…

Riesling has always been intriguing to me and I’ve long wanted to explore it further but yet to do so. On the other hand Grüner Veltliner is quite new to me but quite intriguing as well. Why? Because both can deliver loads of value. You can drink some very high quality offerings of these at affordable prices. This is even more true (at least in the case of Riesling, does Grüner Veltliner age well?) when you are looking to cellar some wines. Over the past few months I’ve had a chance to sample a handful of these. What was my overall take? That I need to do a lot more exploring with these two grapes! So let’s take a look at those I have been drinking…two rielsings and a gruner...

Both of these Rieslings are designated as Kabinett which is on the lower end of the sweetness scale (and to my liking). Did I mention the other thing I love about Riesling? The low ABV (10.5% and 9.5% here). The Pfeffo has a great nose of plush white fruit over a nice mineral bed. The palate shows more of the same with juicy apple flavors and a firm acidity that shines through to keep this one balanced. Very nice but I would have preferred a bit more crispness here. The Marcobrunn was totally lacking the fruit on the nose yet much sweeter (and slightly syrupy) on the palate. Both are well suited to be paired with spicy Asian cuisine. As for Forstreiter; it showed rock, talc and mineral on the nose with loads of white pepper lingering nearby. The palate starts with racy grapefruit flavors before the acidity kicks in and leads to a tangy, mineral finish. Next time I have to pair this one with food!
and the wines of Heinz Eifel...

Warning! Wine geekery adhead… When I first started learning about Riesling the thing I struggled most with was what the difference between the designations meant. Spätlese vs. Auslese? Say what? Eventually I realized the easiest way to think about these is by their level of sweetness. The designations, starting with least sweet, are rank ordered above. So what did I love most about these wines? The chance to try them all at once! We had an Indian dinner party and brought these all out. It was a wonderful tasting opportunity to try different wines with the same foods (my tip is the spicier the food the sweeter the wine) and was a really enjoyable evening for all involved. So my wine geek friends go grab these and give it a try on your own. You’ll be glad you did!

There you have it. Have you had any of these? Any similar favorites to share? (PSA: my favorite has yet to be revealed) Either way would love to hear your thoughts via the comments below.

*as indicated above these wines were indeed all received as press samples.