For fans of crisp, unoaked white wines (as in anything but Chardonnay) here’s a couple of recent arrivals from our friend Jost Hopler of Weingut Hopler in Austria’s Burgendland region.
For those not familiar with Gruner Veltliner (pronounced grew-ner velt-leen-er), this is essentially Austria’s hometown grape. Gruner has been a bit of a media darling of late with the hip sommelier crowd featuring it en masse on restaurant wine lists and by-the-glass programs. And with good reason too: Gruner Veltliner’s zesty, bright profile makes it very versatile in the food and wine pairing department. I like it with Asian cuisine, especially Thai. It’s also at home with pork tenderloin, baked chicken, soft white cheeses, salads, tapas and seafood.
Jost Hopler’s family winery is located in Breitenbrunn on the banks of Lake Neusiedl with 46 hectares of cultivated vineyards on contrasting soils of chalk, gravel, sand and slate. Lake Neusiedl creates a warm microclimate ideal for Gruner Veltliner to flourish, contributing to the unique complexity and tipicity of Hopler’s wines.
Weingut Hopler Gruner Veltliner ($15) displays aromas of peach, roses, apricot and lime with a hint of white pepper. It should pair well with sushi and antipasti or fit the bill on its own as a refreshing aperitif.
Weingut Hopler Gruner Veltliner Guttenberg ($20) is a single vineyard bottling which offers a bit more weight and lush creaminess with passion fruit, almond, citrus and a long, mineral-driven finish. Try it with a country pate or smoked salmon.
Jim Greeley, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine and spirits supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwineJimG