I have become extremely fond of Gruner Veltliner since I sampled it in my Wines of the World class. It was a real challenge finding a New World Gruner Veltliner. Searching many stores in Phoenix including Total Wine, BevMo, Trader Joes and Costco without success, I finally found it at Whole Foods in Sedona.
My tasting started with the Austrian, Winzer Krems, Kremser Sandgrube 2015 from the lower state of Austria, Niederosterreich. On the back, it was labelled in English as a Dry White Wine, with no Austrian designation. This well balanced wine was 12.5% alcohol with a very pale straw color and extremely effervescent. It felt medium bodied due to the effervescence, with notes of grapefruit, green apple and minerals, and had a long finish at over 35 seconds. At $15 from Total Wine, I felt it was an excellent buy and my favorite of all of the Gruner Veltliners I had sampled so far.
The New World wine was a Habit, 2014 from Santa Ynez Valley, California and was dry farmed. The alcohol content was 13.1%. The color was straw, with a limited nose and had grassy notes, minerals and a little peach upon sampling. The finish fell off at around 20 seconds. It was easy drinking, somewhat balanced with a slight bitter finish but would pair well with most foods. It was pretty lackluster after the Austrian Kremser Sangrube and at $35 per bottle it was too expensive in comparison to the Old World varietals sampled. I’m definitely an Old World Gruner Veltliner lover but look forward to sampling some Willamette Valley and New Zealand selections.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours and is studying for her CSW and sommelier certificates.