Grüner Veltliner Alert

Grown primarily in Austria but also widely in the neighbouring Czech Republic,
Grüner Veltliner is a white grape variety that hasn’t yet taken hold anywhere
else. A fairly hardy vine, it’s current success is tied to the rocky soils found on
the slopes of the ancient volcanic calderas in these regions. Mostly intended to
be consumed young (a staple in the so-called “Heuriger” wine bars of Vienna),
it’s also known as being particularly food-friendly – suitable to serve both as an
apéritif and as a compliment to main courses.

In the mid 18th century, 20 hectares of land associated with Weingut Rudolph
Rabl began as a traditional farm with mixed crops and livestock. Then, having
added grape vines, the business was up until the early 20th century confined to
providing bulk wine in barrels to the local innkeepers. In 1986 Rudolf Rabl junior
(Rudi) joined his father Rudolf senior which allowed the winery to expand to 80
hectares, becoming one of the largest estates in the Kamptal (the Kamp Valley
and river) with 35% of the vineyards dedicated to cultivation of Grüner Veltliner.

Derived from their terraced Kittmansberg vineyard near the town of Langenlois
in lower Austria, the desirable attributes of this land parcel represents a unique
combination of rich loess (wind-blown soil) with an underlying crushed stone bed,
providing the necessary drainage for healthy, mildew-free, white grape cultivation.
The distinctive black raven icon depicted on Rabl (‘little raven’) labels represents
their line of single vineyard wines. Moreover, these wines are only released when
deemed ready – thus explaining the fact that this week’s DéClassé featured wine
is from a somewhat unusual, late-breaking 2011 vintage.

All in all, it’s taken some time for North American markets to catch on to white
wine styles other than the classic, current stars such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon
Blanc, Soave and Pinot Grigio. So, here at the outset of the New Year and in the
spirit of exploring the horizon – add this to your list of DéClassé-recommended,
characterful dry whites that should now also include Sylvaner, Sèvre et Maine,
Tsinandali and Pecorino.

Gruner Veltliner

RABL KITTMANSBERG GRÜNER VELTLINER 2011
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #346007 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 14.95
12.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Kamptal, Austria
By: Weingut Rudolph Rabl
Release Date: Jan 4, 2014

Tasting Note
This is a bright, fresh and fruity wine with loads of ripe acidity and intriguing,
spicy notes on the finish. Try serving with smoked fish and meats, veal or
roasted vegetable minestrone.

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