I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at @AustrianWineUSA and several of my wine blogging buddies for a virtual tasting that included several tasty Demeter-certified biodynamic Austrian Grüner Veltliner wines. Interestingly enough, an Austrian philosopher named Rudolf Steiner, who was not a farmer himself, laid down the founding principles of biodynamic farming with a series of lectures in the 1920’s. In a nutshell, biodynamic farming (as it relates to the vineyard) is a natural and holistic approach to agriculture that strives for the vineyard to be a well-balanced, self-healing, and self-sustained ecosystem (with no chemical inputs and a laser-like focus on the health of the soil). Biodynamic farming takes organic to the next level and also adopts a spiritual/astronomical dimension (unlike organic farming) to wine-growing. Some of the preparations may seem unusual and elicit puzzled looks and questions, like burying cow manure in a cow’s horn during the cooler months. But some top producers subscribe to this method of farming and have been very successful at growing high-quality wines reflective of their origins.
Austrian #Biodynamic #Grüner Wine Tasting
When the grower, who is at the center of this farming process, gets things correct and the vineyard is self-sustaining and producing healthy, high quality fruit, it is believed that these wines have the greatest potential (so long as the fruit is not overly compromised in the cellar) to express terroir – the place from which the fruit is grown. And for wine enthusiasts, who seek out and appreciate distinctive wines that reflect a sense of place, biodynamic agriculture makes a fairly convincing case.
In closing, this tasting was a great opportunity to learn more about biodynamic farming and taste through different styles of Austrian Grüner Veltliner. Below you will find a picture of each wine tasted accompanied by brief notes. Grüner Veltliner is Austria's flagship (indigenous) white grape variety and the nation's most widely planted wine grape (red or white). With summer on the horizon, it’s also a delightfully bright, acid-driven, and food-friendly wine to have around the house (hint-hint). Grab several bottles and enjoy, my friends. Cheers!
Meinklang 2012 Burgenland White
1) Meinklang 2012 Burgenland White (SRP $15): This wine is a crisp and refreshing blend of 50% Grüner Veltliner, 40% Welschriesling, and 10% Muskat that boasts bright citrus fruit and green apple aromas and flavors with a delicate sea-salt minerality component and clean finish. It paired nicely with my moderately spicy shrimp-and-pineapple fried rice dish and was also quite enjoyable on its own. Click here to find this wine.
Nikolaihof Wachau 2011 Grüner Veltliner
2) Nikolaihof Wachau 2011 Grüner Veltliner (SRP $28): This is a bio-dynamically farmed wine from the Wachau region in lower Austria. It offers aromas and flavors of pear, lemon zest, hay, white spring flowers, and a nice mineral character (that sort of frames the aforementioned flavors). On the palate, it has some richness in the texture with refreshing and focused acidity and a medium-length mineral driven finish. During the tasting, the producer stated that their wines are histamine-free (chemicals that cause hangovers). I guess this is a green light for enjoying a few extra glasses. Click here to find this wine.
Sepp Moser Schnabel 2011 Grüner Veltliner
3) Sepp Moser Schnabel 2011 Grüner Veltliner (SRP $27): This is a fresh, mineral-driven example with (medium) tree fruit aromas and flavors alongside citrus peel, hay, (delicate) almond notes, and spicy components that careen nicely over a pleasant acid frame with a tangy, clean finish. Overall, a harmonious wine that starts off a little shy at first; but after several swirls starts to show its vibrant, rock-laced personality. Click here to find this wine.
Wimmer-Czerny 2011 Fumberg
4) Wimmer-Czerny 2011 Fumberg Grüner Veltliner (SRP $20.99, 375ml): This is a likeable and pretty interesting bio-dynamically grown Grüner Veltliner with a restrained tree fruit character accompanied by flint, smoke, and notes of earth and exotic spice. It’s medium-bodied with fresh acidity and paired nicely with a simple white sauce pasta dish. Click here to find this wine.
My Food Pairing: Shrimp-and-Pineapple Fried Rice
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