Sunday 19 November 2017

Austria's dry side

Liam Campbell
Liam Campbell

Liam Campbell

For lovers of dry whites with no hint of oak – just glacial purity like Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis and Pinot Grigio – Austrian whites share a similar style.

Most of Austria's vineyards are snuggled around Vienna in the flatter eastern side of the Alps' ski slopes. The cooling Alpine influence explains why two thirds of wine produced in the country is white; half of that is Gruner Veltliner, Austria's favourite grape.

Its pet name 'GruVe' is apt – this groovy, cool grape finds friends with many. It's usually very dry and fruity, from peach and spicy white-pepper notes on the warm plains to Riesling-like pure citrus and mineral from the steeper slopes by the River Danube.

Austria's style of Riesling is as a dry wine but in a fuller-bodied style than its German neighbours.

Prost!

1) Reserve Riesling 2011 Jurtschitsch Sonnhof from Loiserberg vineyard, Kamptal DAC, 13pc

Penetrating deep layers of this exceptional vineyard's strata of soil, the minerality is the top note and solo performer. Will continue to develop its serious character over the next decade. Go summer Alpine with a Carrigaline cheese fondue and sticks of raw carrots and celery.

€22-€24.50 at Power & Smullen, Lucan, Co Dublin; Quintessential Wines, Drogheda, and quintessentialwines.ie

2) Riesling 2010 Domane Wachau from Terrassen Smaragd, 13pc

A fragrance of freshly squeezed lemons starts the symphony followed by a sudden crescendo of mouth-watering acidity played on the tastebuds. Chalky dry with Vienna Boys' Choir-pure notes of citrus and minerally fruits, finished with steel. Form a duet with richly egged onion tart.

€21 at Searson's Wines, Monkstown, and Next Door Corcoran's, New Ross

3) Gruner Veltliner 2011 Brandl from Pfaffenberg, Kamptal DAC, 12.5pc

Muted aromas so typical of GV in youth. Tell-tale white pepper and lemon with mineral tones on the palate and finish. Try with a chalky textured and ash-coated St Tola goat's cheese.

€15.75 at Wines Direct Retail Store, Mullingar, and winesdirect.ie

4) Gruner Veltliner 'Friendly' 2011 Laurenz V from Niederosterreich, 12.5pc

Mineral aromas are followed on the tastebuds by invigorating, zesty and lemon fresh flavours. Youthful with balanced acidity and long pithy finish. Enjoy with ribbons of smoked salmon and piquant prawns.

€18.99 at La Touche, Greystones, Co Wicklow. In Dublin: Mitchell & Son, IFSC and Glasthule; The Vintry, Rathgar, and Cellarmaster, Donnybrook Fair

5) Gruner Veltliner Reserve 2010 Rabl from Kaferberg, Kamptal DAC, 13.5pc

This is a serious Reserve version of its simpler sibling. Aromatic with ripe peaches and pears, echoing on the palate with deeply delicious ripe and fruity peach fruit spiked with a little white-pepper spice. Enjoy with peppered smoked mackerel paté and a smear of gooseberry jam.

€20.99 at O'Brien's nationwide

6) Gruner Veltliner 2010 Domane Wachau, Terrassen Smaragd, 13pc

White-pepper aromas unfurl with flavours of the vineyard's minerality and bracing pithy and zesty fruits. Well-balanced acidity and alcohol, finishing with a flash of steel. Partner with medallions of pork in a mustard cream sauce.

€21.45 at Packies, Kenmare; thewineshop.ie; Morton's, Galway, and Next Door, Racefield, Raheen, Limerick. In Dublin: Searson's Wines, Monkstown; Avoca Handweavers, Monkstown and Kilmacanogue, and 64 Wines, Glasthule

Irish Independent

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