Eric Asimov’s New York Times Wine School: Austrian Grüner Veltliner
We have two of his featured wines in stock—for now—and have a great substitute for the third, and we’re offering them today at a special discount (good through Sunday, July 10) as part of our celebration of this new website! We recently offered all of these wines to our newsletter subscribers, but luckily have a little more in (or coming in).
Hirsch, Grüner Veltliner Heiligenstein, 2014 Pre-Arrival $25.99 $22.99
Nikolaihof, Grüner Veltliner “Hefeabzug”, 2014 $26.99 $23.99
Unfortunately, the Knoll sold out when we offered it to our email subscribers (sign up for our newsletter here, so that you get first crack at these kinds of wines). But we have an absolutely delicious and incredibly well-priced recommendation to take its place:
Bernhard Ott, Grüner Veltliner “Am Berg”, 2014 Pre-Arrival $18.99 $15.99 – this is always a great wine, but the 2014 is super-special. Read on to learn why!
Why we love Grüner Veltliner:
Reading Eric’s Wine School column reminded us of the great moment in the early aughts when Grüner Veltliner captured the attention of sommeliers and wine-lovers across the US – largely because of how great it is at the table.
Now here we are, more than ten years later, and many fashions have come and gone. But Grüner Veltliner, while no longer the grape-du-jour (or however you say that in German), has become something greater: a staple for wine drinkers. And rightly so! It is made into some of the most delicious everyday table wine and, when grown in the right terroir (and crafted in the right hands), becomes wine that is as complex, refined, nuanced, terroir-expressive and age-worthy as its Riesling brethren.
Though Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s most widely planted grape, some regions produce far less of this wine than others. The Wachau– home to Knoll and Nikolaihof, both Wine School features – is one of the world’s tiniest fine wine regions (1,350 hectares compared to Burgundy’s 25,000) and the wines are always very limited. So it’s no surprise that the 2014 Knoll Asimov featured sold out as soon as we offered it to our newsletter friends.
We’re eagerly awaiting the 2015s (in late fall or even early January), but in the meantime we have lots of great Grüner to drink. Our first recommendation is to try a wine from the Wagram, which is actually the region most famous for Grüner Veltliner.
We have long praised Bernard Ott, a biodynamic grower deeply devoted to Grüner Veltliner’s potential. He does make a Riesling, but all of his single vineyard grand crus (Stein, Spielgel, Rosenberg) are devoted to the power, finesse and depth of Grüner Veltliner.
2014, however, presents a rare and special opportunity: yields were so low that Ott didn’t have enough wine to bottle the single vineyards on their own. So he declassified all these top sites, and blended them into his estate bottlings, giving them an extra boost of depth, texture and substance.
The result is a 2014 Am Berg that is simply off the charts.
Asimov’s Wine school selections, Nikolaihof and Hirsch:
We actually featured Nikolaihof’s 2014 Hefeabzug in our weekly newsletter just last week, so many of you already snagged some bottles at our special newsletter price. Luckily we were able to grab another drop of the wine and are happy to extend the newsletter pricing to online customers this week.
Nikolaihof is a storied winery. Thought to be the oldest in Austria (production is documented back to 470 A.D. and portions of the cellar date to 1075), it has been in the Saahs family since 1894. They have cared for the land fastidiously, working as naturally as possible and ensuring health and stability in the vineyards. They began farming biodynamically in 1971 and were the first winery to be Demeter-certified. Again and again we find that Nikolaihof’s practices enable the vines to preserve their wonderful energy and transmute it into the vibrant, long-lived wines we love.
Johannes Hirsch is another Flatiron favorite; in fact, just a couple of weeks back we made a special offer of the Hirsch wines to fans of German and Austrian wines on our list (see a longer version of that offer here on our blog). We don’t think it’s hyperbolic to claim these are some of the most delicious, nuanced, and impressive wines coming from all of Austria. Johannes brings a special energy and joy to his craft, and that combined with impressive Kamptal terroir makes for some very extraordinary wines.
We stressed in that blog post that Grüner Veltliner and Riesling often need a little time in the bottle before they begin to reveal their true depth, nuance and complexity (the biggest shame is that most Austrian wine is consumed too young!). So we are super-thrilled to have a small selection of Hirsch wines with bottle age. [link to search?]. But of course we’re also happy to have the 2014 Heiligenstein GV for those interested in diving into Asimov’s Wine School.
Nikolaihof, Grüner Veltliner “Hefeabzug”, 2014 $26.99 $23.99 From Austria’s esteemed Wachau region, the fruit is bright and refreshing—classic 2014 character highlighting grace and energy. Subtle white pepper and fresh melon make this a perfectly versatile food wine. The depth of texture from time on the lees elevates the body without any loss of elegance.
Hirsch, Grüner Veltliner Heiligenstein, 2014 (Pre-Arrival) $25.99 $22.99 From one of Austria’s top producers who consistently highlights the true great sites of the Kamptal region. This wine is classically savory, aromatic and quite amazing: a wine with a perfect balance of freshness, energy and depth—and an exceptionally long finish.
Bernhard Ott, Grüner Veltliner “Am Berg”, 2014 (Pre-Arrival) $18.99 $15.99 From the Wagram master of Gruner Veltliner, the 2014 Am Berg is elevated because of contribution of declassified fruit from some of the most ideal sites for GV in Wagram. Still marked by the grace and freshness of the vintage, there is so much substance, depth and complexity for under $20.
Please click the links to order or email us at email@example.com. Offer pricing is available through Sunday, July 10 and the wines will be available for pick up or delivery early next week. Not on our newsletter yet?