Vorspannhof Mayr Kremstal, Austria Grüner Veltliner 2017 1L It’s a necessity for inclusion in the Thirst club that the wines we choose must first and foremost quench our thirst. A central tenet of this club is that delicious, responsibly-made wines do not have to come with a side of pretension. Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in wine these days is the tendency of growers, especially those in Austria and Germany, to bottle their table wines in one-liter bottles as a nod to their primacy on the table, their desire to create affordable wines, and their drinkability. This month we bring you two from the heart of Austria’s Kremstal region. Each speaks clearly of its variety and region of origin, all the while bringing a lot to the table in terms of refreshment and versatility. We’ll begin with the best known of Austria’s grapes–Grüner Veltliner.
Sommeliers are often taught to look for a rather auspicious note of ‘dry green lentils’ when searching for Grüners in blind tastings. And, indeed, you can find a deep herbal and earthy quality here framing its zippy green and yellow fruit character. Vorspannhof Mayr’s is lighter in body, clocking in at 12% alcohol.
Austria’s best-known and most widely planted variety, Grüner is often described as a more exotic cousin of Sauvignon Blanc. Like Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner often exhibits flavors driven by pyrazines, chemical compounds that contribute to herbal and spicy flavors in wine (hence the aforementioned lentil note.) Though this character can be charming–spicy components can often complement the fruit in a wine–winemakers must be careful to prevent this character from over exerting itself and dominating the flavor of the wine. You’ll be familiar with this if you’ve ever had an especially intense Sauvignon Blanc. Vorspannhof Mayr’s is elegant and subtle, with its spice character complementing its fruit from the backseat.