Maybe this IS the best way to get Americans to try Grüner Veltliner, but it seems to have done just fine, even with its Germanic (Austrian) name. Some may remember the scandal of 1985, where Diethylene Glycol, the sweet stuff in antifreeze, was actually added to some Bürgenland dessert wines. I actually owned some of this tainted stuff–had it tested at North Carolina State University labs–and, perhaps foolishly, tried some. I’m still here, and it was actually quite tasty. But it did nothing for Austria’s reputation…
All is mostly forgotten now, thankfully, and Austrian reds and whites are selling deliciously well everywhere. But Grüner is the prize winner. People ask for it as often as they do Pinot Grigio, and its delights are myriad. Like any grape, some producers make more serious versions than others, but today’s selection fits smack in the middle–thoroughly enjoyable without asking too much of the imbiber.
Nose of spiced apple and pear with peppery highlights. It has a snappy “green” quality about it–like springtime mornings. It also has a light vegetal touch, but in a good way–like newly sprouted, leafy shoots. Flavors have an apple-like crunch to them– light and almost spritzy, continuing on to the off-dry finish. This is the definition of fun and perfect for fresh fish dishes and casual outdoor sipping. Drink now.
Rockpile Vineyards overlooking Lake Sonoma
Mauritson Wines is located on the northwest edge of Dry Creek Valley. But that is deceiving. Its position, now known as the American Viticultural Area “Rockpile,” overlooks Lake Sonoma, with vineyards at 800-2000 feet above sea level. Beautiful wines are fashioned here and their rosé, only in its second vintage, is a great introduction to their vigorous wines.
2012 Mauritson Rosé Wine, Sonoma County, Rockpile $19 srp
Pale Salmon color–quite a delight for the eye. A gushing, fruit-laden nose of strawberry and watermelon–ripe and mouth-watering. Flavors are opulent and flinty at the same time. Generous fruit compote lingers nicely and a slice of crisp end acidity makes it a great match for scallops, pork chops or a pasta salad. ( A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc) Drink now-2015.