Showing posts with label Gruner Veltliner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gruner Veltliner. Show all posts

Sunday, March 16, 2014

How to Add Some Green to your Glass for St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17 to commemorate the patron saint of Ireland, and the country's culture and customs. Because it is also known as a Christian feast day, food and drink tend to be at the forefront of the celebration; especially drink. St. Patrick's Day falls under the season of Lent, which means no meat on Fridays, sacrificing a luxury in the name of the Lord, and in some cases, no drinking. However, these restrictions are lifted on March 17, allowing everyone to participate, which may encourage some views that this day represents heavy drinking. Traditionally, pubs fill up quickly and green beer flows like the water cascading down Niagara Falls. Other traditional drinks include Irish Whiskey (i.e. Bushmills), Irish Cream Liqueur (mmm, Bailey's!), and for those who don't want food colouring in their beer, Ireland's trademark Guinness does the trick.

But what about us wine drinkers? Is there a way we can celebrate with wine? Yes! Here are some ways us wine lovers can add some green to our glass, without the food colouring:

1. Drink "Green Wine"

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese semi-sparkling white wine that translates into English as "green wine". This translation is meant to describe the wine as young, and not in reference to the colour. Vinho Verde wines are full of citrus flavour, with mouth-watering acidity and low alcohol. They can also show notes of tropical fruit, lighter stone fruits like apples, and in some cases a bit of a barnyard aroma. Vinho Verde wines are great values and many are found in Canada under $20. They also pair well with fish and chips!

Vinhos I recommend: Twin Vines, Gazela, any Vinho Verde made exclusively with the grape Alvarinho.

2. Wines that Think Green

Many wineries throughout the world highly value sustainability in the vineyards. Organic and biodynamic wineries are on the rise as environmental concerns become mainstream. No chemical treatments are used in organic viticulture, and all wines have to be registered with a certification body in order to be classified as organic. Biodynamic wineries base their vineyard management on planet and star cycles, and winegrowers use holistic concoctions to mitigate pests & diseases. Organic wines range in prices from inexpensive to premium, but there are many good quality wines on the market that do their part for Mother Nature without costing you a lot of greenbacks!

I recommend: Villa Teresa DOC Prosecco-why not add a little bubbly to the celebration?

3. Wines that Taste Green

This is where the red wine drinkers come in. There are many varietals in the wine world that pack a vegetal punch with hints of asparagus, peas, and grass to name a few. Some of the most common varietals include:

-Cabernet Franc
-Sauvignon Blanc
-Cabernet Sauvignon
-Pinot Noir
-Gruner Veltliner

Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon would both pair well with Irish stew, and Gruner Veltliner marries well with potatoes. Bonus points for finding bottles that have Irish names, places or language on the label!

You don't have to be a beer drinker or a whiskey lover to participate in St. Patrick's Day. The day is for celebrating Ireland's customs, culture and St. Patrick's contribution to Christianity. Everyone is welcome to celebrate no matter what they drink as the day is meant to be fun and friendly. And as an Irish toast once said:

"May friendship, like wine, improve as time advances.
And may we always have old wine, old friends, and young cares."

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting to Know You...Gruner Veltliner

Once upon a time, the Traminer grape met an obscure grape called St. Georgener in a faraway land. The 2 grapes began a torrid "love affair" and the fruit of their passions became known as Gruner Veltliner, one of the defining grapes of Austrian wine.

Gruner Veltliner (or GV as it will be called for the rest of the post) has small greenish-yellow berries on the vine. It grows best along the Danube river in Austria, and the best quality wines come from regions named Kremstal, Kamptal, Wachau, Weinviertel and Donauland. It is also grown in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Germany. GV is known for it's peppery notes both in the bouquet and on the palate, with refreshing acidity and the ability to age for years in a cellar. It also boasts mineral, citrus and sometimes peachy flavors in the mouth.

The wine I tasted was the 2011 Rabl Gruner Veltliner Spiegel, based out of the Kamptal region. This was part of 3 bottles given to me for my 2013 cellaring project. 

Crisp with refreshing acidity and mineral, citrus and stone fruit notes, this wine is light, yet full-bodied. It coats the throat with a smooth, slightly sweet finish that will make you want to sip again and again! I did not pair this with any food, but some recommended pairings include asparagus, smoked salmon, potato pancakes and sashimi. 

What shocks me the most about this wine is it's reputation for aging, and not just for a year or two in the cellar. Some sommeliers and websites state that GV can age upwards of 20+ years. Here's a link to an article of GVs from 1960-1979 that were tasted in 2002, and beat out some notable Chardonnays and White Burgundies. Although I'm unsure of how long I plan to keep these in the cellar for now, you bet it will be a long time! Remember, a fine wine gets better with age!