Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stift Goettweig, Gruner Vetliner, Austria

So many new words it's like a foreign language... well, that's because it's a foreign language! Gruner Vetliner is known primarily as the white wine of Austria (where it is over 30% of all wine production), Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

     Gruner Vetliner, or GruVe as the hip kids in Austria call it, produces a crisp white wine capable of greatness. It can be enjoyed quite young (evidenced by the 2009 I'm enjoying today) or can cellar well (as is evidenced by giving high points to the 1990 Grüner Veltliner "Vinothekfüllung" Smaragd, Knoll, Austria). It also has in interesting heritage...

     It turns out that no one really knew where the GruVe came from (for certain), and so some researchers - researched. To no avail, still they couldn't deduce both of the parent grapes until... until someone (no idea who) discovered a solitary vine in the abandoned vineyard of St. Georgen outside of Einstadt, Austria. After many years, finally the mystery father appeared! And so, work is being done now to bring it back to the point where crops can be made from St.Georgener-Rebe so that researchers can analyze it properly.

     Pretty neat, huh!?

     Almost as cool as the story of Stift Goettweig, the monastery in Austria that produces the GruVe I'm tasting: the above picture is inside the cathedral.

     Founded in 1083 (as per the label), Stift Goettweig produces a special type of GruVe called Messwein, which can only be called such when it has been produced with permission of a Benedictine Bishop, and follows strict guidelines. Having grown up Irish Catholic, I can well believe the guidelines would be strict .

     Well now the secular has moved in, and though the wine is made under the auspices of the monastery, it is not the monastery Brothers who are toiling in the fields or heading up production. The traditions have been maintained however, from the way the fields are maintained, to the methods of vinification and maturation. Some oak is used now, which certainly did not happen in 1083, but the old ways are still alive and well in the Wachau Valley.

2009 Gruner Vetliner, Messwein
from Stuft Goettweig, Wachau Valley, Austria
Very Good Value
12% ABV, $22 CAD @ Fox's Reach Wine Store, Maple Ridge
  • visual:   clean; pale straw core with gold highlights and a light watery rim
  • nose:     clean; moderately intense youthful aromas showing signs of development; layers of slate minerality, wild grasses, little summer meadow flowers, ripe stonefruit especially apricot, light honey nuances, soft oaky finish
  • palate:    clean; dry, moderate+ to fully intense crisp yellow grapefruit acids, moderate+ (supple) body, moderate+ to full alcohol (don't serve too warm), moderate+ intense youthful flavors showing signs of development; yellow grapefruit, layers of minerality, crisp stonefruit, young pears, light backbone with soft oak, pronounced peppery finish. Good balance, very good structure, short to medium finish.
  • conclusion:   Well made entry level Gruner, this wine drinks very well right now, and will continue to do so until the end of 2012. Will not improve with cellaring.
  • PAIRINGS:    As always, the wine of a region pairs well with the food of a region, but in this I'll move outside-the-box. Try this delightfully crisp wine with butter braised rabbit and fresh pasta with wild thyme; the light gameyness of the meat will play off the spice in the wine, the butter will blend with the buttery texture of the wine, but also play off the acids and the wild thyme plays off the light grass/ripe meadow flowers.
Looking forward to more from Stift-Goettweig!!!

CINCIN~!!!    SLAINTE~!!!    CHEERS~!!!

1 comment:

  1. Austria is becoming an increasingly important wine-producing country in central Europe with an annual production of about 30 million cases, 30% more than Germany. The wines themselves are fuller bodied than the Germans and generally drier. Like Germany, Austria produces primarily white wines, however their success with certain reds, particularly because of the warmer climate, is much greater than Germany's. Monthly Wine Club