Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2004 Sollner Gruner Veltliner Danubio

It's hot in LA, and we're back to eating burgers and salads. Dragged home from the library and popped a 2004 Sollner Guner Veltliner Danubio ($9.95, Chronicle Wine Cellar) into the fridge while I made up some of Rachael Ray's chicken cacciatore burgers (not the one on the web--the one in 365 No Repeats that actually has a proper bun and sauteed portabella mushrooms) and of course a Jamie Oliver salad. People get sniffy about Rachael Ray, just like they do about Beverages & More, but she's the only woman in my kitchen almost as much as I am. Mind you, I can't stand watching her on tv, but I like the cookbooks.

As the burgers were grilling and the peppers and mushrooms were sauteeing, I opened up the GV. I wasn't expecting much because I had this at someone's house after I bought my bottle and didn't think much of it. Mine tonight was nicely chilled down, and it was paired with food that had an edge of sweetness and earthiness to it and it was very good.

Gruner Veltliner has an interesting varietal flavor profile: stones, minerals, grapefruit, white pepper, and lentils. How's that for a wine? If you haven't tasted it before, it tastes like a super lean riesling, with no impression of sweetness. It is experiencing quite a surge of interest at the moment, with wine writers like Jancis Robinson extolling its virtues and versatility.

This GV, from Weingut Sollner on the Danube, is made at a certified biodynamic vineyard. What are biodynamics, you ask? I thought it was a super organic designation, and then I went to the Oz Farm dinner this summer outside Point Arena and discovered it was something else entirely. Based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic wine production (as far as this historian can tell) is based on medieval and early modern farming techniques. Wineanorak has a good article on the topic. It's very much a "plant this wine at the full moon" philosophy. NPR did a great show on the topic, and urged caution before we turn up our collective scientific noses at it. At Oz, they think it makes a difference and they're the farmers, so they should know.

The 2004 Sollner GV Danubio was as pale as water in the glass, with a slight golden tint. Lots of citrus in the aromas and some on the palate. But mostly the taste was indeed stony, with a hint of musty lentilness and a bright peppery spark if you really dug for it. Some GV's just stun you with the way the flavors keep unfolding--rocks, fruit, herbs, lentils, spice--and this was not quite that fine. Still, I give this very good QPR for its price. It is available online at some east coast merchants, as are different vintages designations for Sollner.

Last but not least, this is my first Thanksgiving wine recommendation. Because it goes best with food with a touch of earthy sweetness, it would be great with turkey, cranberry sauce, and any mushroom dishes. At this price, you can get a few extra bottles and put it away for the leftovers, too.


Brooklynguy said...

What a great bit on biodynamics - thanks for the links. I have been really into the few gruner's i've sampled. one that i really think you would enjoy is from Nigl. They make several gruners and rieslings, all fantastic, but their Kremstal Gruner goes for about $15 and is just excellent. See what you think...

Credit Score Online said...

The photo of the map is really helpful. I was there last year but got lost and by the time I found the wineries, they were already closed :(