Austrian wines are finally shaking free from the shackles of being assumed to be sweet and German-like, and have for some time been the darling of sommeliers in high-end restaurants. Leading the way is Austria’s own grape variety, Grüner Veltliner.
£17.95 single bottle, £15.95 ‘case price’*
Bert Salomon’s excellent wines from the Kremstal, a few miles up the Danube from Vienna, have been the mainstay of our Austrian wine selection from the beginning, and his Grüners are the best we’ve found. The Wachtberg, from grapes grown on steep loess terraces rising above the old town of Krems, elevates Grüner Veltliner from simple zippy freshness to a more complex, more thoughtful level but still revels in the clear mineral refreshment that Grüner delivers so well.
The enticing nose is both fresh and complex, green fruits, maybe a hint of something tropical, maybe a hint of white pepper; the palate is clean and precise, but yields up a fascinating and evolving fruit salad of flavours, with the trademark Grüner acidity wrapping it all up neatly. It’s sort of clean but rich but, ultimately, clean.
“Pea tendril, fresh green bean, cress, and lettuces lend the Salomon 2012 Gruner Veltliner Wachtberg an irresistible combination of primary juiciness and invigorating snap, while sweetly-saline and iodine-tinged suggestions of crustacean shell reduction serve for saliva-drawing savor in a long, mouth-coating finish. Add an eyebrow-raising dash of white pepper and you won’t be able to put the glass down! This terrific value projects a combination of density with energy and buoyancy that is all the more praiseworthy in the context of its vintage.”
David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate
Insert this charming Grüner Veltliner anywhere where a Chablis would have done previously – well-chilled with fish or light suppers, as a talking point aperitif.
Bert Salomon’s other wines
The other two Gruners we stock from Bert – one more expensive and one even cheaper, are both well worth a try, and his Riesling ‘Undhof Kogl’ has surprised quite a few guests en aperitif chez the Leas this spring with its dry precision fruit. Mix it up!
Or why not mix this up with some previous ‘Wines of the week’?
* ‘Case price’ refers to the discounted price per bottle which applies to all orders of 12 bottles or more from L&S, however mixed and including delivery on all orders over £100.