Asparagus season isn’t over yet, so we decided to do another round. Last time around I decided to accompany the asparagus with an Austrian Riesling, but there was another Austrian wine lying around, so I decided to open another Austrian white wine. This time a Grüner Veltliner from Wachau by Domäne Wachau.
Grüner Veltliner is a white wine grape variety that stems from Savagnin and further down the line, Rotgopfler and Pinot Noir. Despite of the name Veltliner, the grape isn’t related to Roter Veltliner and Frühroter Veltliner. Most Grüner Veltliners are planted in Austria and to a lesser extent, Slovakia and the Czech republic, but more recently also in the United States and Australia. One-third of all the grapes planted in Austria is Grüner Veltliner. In Slovakia one-fifth and in the Czech republic “only” one-ninth of the planted grape varieties is Grüner Veltliner. Most Grüner Veltliners age well and accompany food excellently.
Especially in the Wachau wine region on of the following terms can be found:
- Steinfeder: lightest version with up to 11.5% alcohol,
- Federspiel: a slightly more powerful version with 12.5% alcohol,
- Smaragd: the most rich and powerful Grüner Veltliner with 12.5% alcohol and often more. (Smaragd can be compared with the german term Spätlese, the grapes are harvested late and often ripen for a prolonged time on stainless steel or large casks). (This Smaragd is 13% ABV).
Finally, Weissenkirchen is one of Domäne Wachau‘s village-bottlings. Besides Weissenkirchen itself, it comprises of the villages of Joching, Wösendorf and St. Michael. The wines are elegant, full-bodied, fruity and quite mineral.
Nose: Lemony and acidic. Smells very fresh and refreshing with whiffs of alcohol. You can already smell the balance between the sweetness and the acidity. Nosed blind this could have easily been from Alsace. Nice yellow fruits. Hints of peach and dried apricots, but also some sweat! (No that’s not a bad thing, in this wine). All in all, light and fresh, but with body.
Taste: Definitively more spicy. Fruity syrupy sweetness (high iron content). Apple treacle, raisins, tree sap with the slightest hint of licorice. Green apple skin. Some hints of wood, although this probably never came in contact with wood. Some unbalance when near the finish. Short, slightly sugary, finish. The sweetness in the finish is a bit “strange”.
Of the two Austrian wines we recently had with Asparagus, we liked the Riesling Better. Having said that, on its own, this one isn’t bad either.