grüner veltliner / germany / alsace tasting

The initial suggestion for this was Grüner Veltliner, basically the grape of Austria. Thinking it would be tough to find a large number of examples of that specific cépage, I suggested an expansive interpretation of German Europe, excluding its best known and most common grape, riesling. Two grüner veltliners each showed up twice. They and a third one were quite lovely and all of them would be exceptional with thai food. I’ve tried to group the list below somewhat thematically from light and dry to heavy and sweet.

O. Kuentz-Bas, Alsace, 07
This blend of chasselas - gewürtztraminer - pinot blanc was light yet complex. It smelled of lychee, flowers, and grass, and it was crisp and slightly mineral. One of my favorites. Two people managed not to like it, saying it was watery or bland.
S. Schoffit Pinot Blanc Auxerrois Vielles Vignes, Alsace, 07
One wrote “heavy in a good way” referring to its sweetness, which was slightly more than the kuentz-bas but still balanced by sufficient acidity. I wrote “party: goat cheese” and also craved a tarte flambée / flammeküche.
N. The Furst Riesling, Alsace, 07
A nice example of alsatian riesling, less citrusy than the trimbach, but otherwise comparable. Notes include “fresh, tangy” and “smooth. like.”
Q. Loimer Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal, 09
This was lightly effervescent, and really well balanced sweetness and acidity. It wasn’t assertively floral like O and S, but had more mineral than the other grüner veltliners. People found it “sparkly, balanced” or “med. sweet, unexciting”.
W/X. Huber Hugo Grüner Veltliner 09
One wrote “interesting! and spicy” and I found it tart like a green apple, but not at all lemony. It was called “acidic and strong” and “tingly”. This wine made me want tom kha soup.
P/D. Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner 09
Less sweet than Q and less citrusy than W. It had a bit of yeasty taste usually associated with champagne. Generally well liked but no one seemed to find it more than “passable” or “meh”.
Y. Becker Estate Pinot Noir, Pfalz, 07
This stood out as the only dry red, but I was very pleased to try it and will be buying more. Most people disliked it, but we will be tasting it again with its peers whenever we have pinot noir night. I also like Zach’s suggestion of smoked trout with it but we were this wine’s only defenders.
H. Vranac Red, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 07
A 1939 interpretation of “german” brought this lush red. It was “rich” and “very smooth” with a long finish, that I compared to Hungary’s egri bikaver. I wanted a rich meaty gulyás with this wine.
T. Valckenberg Dornfelder, Rheinhessen, 08
This light, sweet red smelled of violets and tasted like pluots. One suggested this would be a nice addition to a batch of mulled wine.
Z. Martin Schaetzel Gewürtztraminer Cuvée Réserve, Alsace, 08
This was “cloyingly sweet” and “anæsthetic” but it was the most complex of the sweet wines. One said “blackberries” which is fair but “honey” predominated.
V. Saint Josef Kabinett, Rheinhessen, 06
I said this tasted like pineapple- and lemon-flavored haribo gummy bears or pineapple jolly rancher. Two agreed that it tasted mysteriously “dusty” and “sweet. too sweet.”
—. Seebrich Scheurebe Kabinett, Niersteiner Ölberg, 03
This was the last sweet one that was accidentally left in the refrigerator until after the tasting. It had considerably more acid and better balance than V. We found it improved with just a dash of chartreuse.

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