A groovy tasting party. Sounds interesting enough. I pictured Joplin tunes, tie dye shirts, and a little incense burning to set the mood…
Oh, a GruV tasting parting, meaning the Austrian grape Gruner Veltliner. I suppose that would be cool too. Four white wine reviews done in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. Rather than a Conan the Barbarian themed tasting the theme was a GruV Olympics. Evidently the Austrians are big Winter Olympic champions. I decided to do some research and googled Austrian Olympics. Apparently, Austria has participated in more Olympic games than any other country and has won 185 Winter Olympic Medals, including more alpine skiing medals than any other country (Hermann Maier is considered to be the greatest skier of all time).
So, with that back story, we proceed with the Olympic style tasting of Gruner Veltliner. 43,000 acres of GruV are grown in Austria (about 1/3 of all grape acreage). The refreshing white wine is often citric, moderately tart with aromas of peach and sometimes tobacco. From what I’m told their very food friendly (probably because of the tart acidity).
We pooled together our greatest wine tasting connoisseurs to judge the grand tasting (actually just regular peeps, who’ve never tried the grape). The party was a blast. We enjoyed tasting through each wine as we used a standardized tasting sheet that scored on appearance, aroma, balance, body, taste, finish and overall quality. The maximum score is 20 points. We sampled each wine with our dinner of Salmon, rice and salad, and then proceeded to the judging chambers as each wine entered the starting gate for their run through the course.
SEE THE VIDEO FOR A BRIEF RECAP OF OUR PARTY
2008 Lois Gruner Veltliner
- The Stuff: 100% Gruner Veltliner from Fred Loimer in Kamptal Austria 12.5%ABV
- The Swirl: Presented a nice bright yellow apple color with mild amounts of sediment
- The Sniff: Very mild on the nose with tart apples and dull banana peel
- The Sip: A decent sweetness on the front end that was attacked by a tart bitterness at the end. The finish trailed off quickly. Someone bubbly in the mouth.
- The Score: At under $10, some may like this wine for its dry tartness. I score this a 2 out of 5
The Olympic scoring sheet between six tasters (not including the French judge) 6.5 out of 20
The Schwarzenegger rating: Junior or Twins (awkward and out of place)
The race for silver and bronze was extremely tight.
2008 Weingut Wieninger
- The Stuff: 100% Gruner Veltliner, estate founded in 1905
- The Swirl: A very nice bright color. Pale and clear.
- The Sniff: The nose was still slightly tight with hints of herbs and bright lemon peel
- The Sip: Moderately sweet with a decent balance. Slightly thrown off on the back end by some steeliness and minerality. Acid levels seem high. The finish was modest.
- The Score: At $13 this was a good GruV offering that would score well with most people (especially for the price and party talk it could bring) Not quite the Terminator in his prime but still a 3- (out of 5)
The Olympic scoring sheet between six tasters award this wine the BRONZE at 11.5 (out of 20)
The Schwarzenegger rating: Running Man or Eraser (ok but forgettable)
2008 Austrian Pepper
- The Stuff: 100% Gruner Veltliner from lower Austria 11.5% ABV
- The Swirl: Slightly cloudy with a dull pale golden green
- The Sniff: The aroma in this offering seems to dance around in the bowl a little more offering up some tender notes of peach, spicy tobacco, and seven-up.
- The Sip: Very nice across the palate with smoother fruit and spice. The acidity was well balanced and the wine had a good tartness on the back end, but not overwhelming.
- The Score: At $18 this is on the more expensive side of GrV but scores well at a 3 (out of 5)
The Olympic scoring sheet between six tasters award this wine the SILVER medal at 12.5 (out of 20)
The Schwarzenegger rating: Commando or Conan (Classic)
As the tasting wraps up, it is becoming apparent that we have not established any lovers of the Gruner Veltliner. Admittedly there was only one white wine lover of the six of us with other drinking whites “on occasion.” The overall impression was that the grape seemed tart and citric for everyone’s tastes.
2008 Stadt Krems
- The Stuff: Owned by the city of Krems the estate was founded in 1452! 100% Gruner Veltliner grapes with 7 months in stainless steel 12.5% ABV
- The Swirl: Impressed with the clarity and brightness of the color. A very nice golden white.
- The Sniff: Aromatic nose with white flowers, perfume, and lemon peel. Slight herbs too.
- The Sip: Slightly bubbly on the tongue with a good sweetness. The acidity and tartness were well balanced and the finish lingered. Overall impression was good citrus fruit but thrown slightly off by the perfume flavor.
- The Score: At just $16 this is a good showing for Gruner Veltliner and justifiably earns a 4 (out of 5)
The Olympic scoring sheet between six tasters award this wine the GOLD medal at 17 (out of 20)
The Schwarzenegger rating: Predator, Terminator and Total Recall (Great with some good muscle and finesse)