Two Johann Strauss Numbers

Austria’s Grape: Grüner Veltliner
A Johann Strauss Duet.

On a coach tour through Austria some eight years ago, two things were unavoidable: one was dreaded dry pork (it featured in every dinner in the budget hotels) and the other was their “national wine” made from Grüner Veltliner.

So, I was nearly turned off pork but certainly I was turned on to GV or Gru-vee as some call it. GV may not be unique to Austria but it “belongs” to the country in the same way that Zinfandel is associated with California.

While it is a national treasure, the Austrians sometimes treat it quite nonchalantly as was the case in a wine tavern in Grinzing (close to Vienna) where they were serving it in half litre mugs at three euro a time. Quite a night. Wine, schrammelmusik and I don’t think we got pork there!

Memories of that Austrian trip came back as I recently tried two GV’s from Karwig Wines, both made by Weingut Johann Strauss in the Kremser area. This region, on the banks of the Danube and west of Vienna, is not too far east of the abbey of Melk, a famous tourist attraction that some of you may have visited.

My rainy day cruise by the Danube vineyards

Weingut Johann Strauss, 2009 Grüner Veltliner (Alte Reben, Kremser, Weinzierlberg), 13.5%, €15.70 Karwig Wines

Weingut Johann Strauss, 2009 Grüner Veltliner (Kremser, Sandgrube), 13%, €13.50 Karwig Wines

The first wine is made from the fruits of old vines (Alte Reben) in the Weinzierlberg vineyard while the second, not from old vines apparently, gets its fruit from the adjoining Sandgrube (sandpit) vineyard, both in the Kremser.

Joe Karwig says that location can be a quite important factor in Grüner Veltliner, though that didn’t seem to be the case here. Each has white fruit aromas and a colour of light gold (with green hints).

The first one has a pleasant tingly introduction, followed by fairly intense fruit flavours before a long dry finish and performed at a good level from start to finish. It is possibly a little more lush and slightly peppery than the Sandgrube but there is not much between them in my humble opinion. The Sandgrube has a very similar attack, again with nice bright fruit flavours and a similar finish.

So there you are, a pleasant alternative to the mainstream white grapes. I certainly enjoyed them and both are highly recommended, well worth a try.
Music in Grinzing wine house