Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Duo of Delicious Whites: Riesling and Grüner Veltliner

A Duo of Delicious Whites: Riesling and Grüner Veltliner

“Straightforward and elegant,” is how Georg Lingenfelder described this wine while speaking in Cork late last year. Georg represents the 14th generation of the family in wine in the Pfalz and this year is their 500th anniversary!

The 2018 is a straw yellow in colour. It certainly has the typical Riesling aromas (citrus-y). 'Trocken' on the label means this is a dry Riesling, yet it bursts with bright citrus and red apple fruit, all the time remaining elegant with a stony minerality, a high acidity and a lemon-fresh finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Georg told us that Pfalz is in the south west of Germany. “One of the driest and warmest areas but still a cool climate. Wines can be more full bodied here in good years. 2018 was warm and dry and some of the 2018 are not too heavy. All hand-picked, all wild fermented, we rely on the natural yeasts that are all around our cellar.” 

The wines with the Lingenfelder’s house on the front label are single plot. This Riesling has the house on the front, so the fruit came from a single plot, quite a small one in this case. “We are right next to the Rhine but our vineyards are not too steep - easier to work there. We use sustainable methods, lots of other plants between the rows. This gives bio diversity, very important to us.”

Georg is enthusiastic about local and authenticity. And the commitment continues so that the next 14 generations “get a chance to live off the land as well; without herbicides, without irrigation, only minimal fertilisation and lots of biodiversity”. And we, the consumers, get the opportunity to drink excellent wines like this one.

Steininger Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (DAC) 2018, €17.25 Wines Direct

This Grüner Veltliner (Gru-Vee) is a light golden yellow. Ripe apples aromas, herbal notes too. Juicy fruity (melon) on the palate, with crisp acidity, complex and elegant all the way through to the minerally finish. This harmonious easy-drinking wine is Very Highly Recommended. Well priced too, by the way.

Importers Wines Direct suggest pairing it with Rich Fish, Light Fish and Shellfish, Hard Cheese, Fresh Greens. In fact, Gru-Vee is very versatile at the table. 

Not too long back, I was impressed by the way it handled a dish of Fresh monkfish, Malaysian noodles, pancetta, chilli and black pepper jam and julienne of vegetables in Jacques (one of our top local restaurants). 

And it also married amazingly well with Halibut, Sea Radish, Bacon, Pepper Dulse and Elf Cap in Greene’s (another classy Cork venue); lots of flavours in both dishes but no bother to the Steininger.

This wine is indeed an excellent ambassador for Grüner Veltliner from the Kamptal. The winemakers say the Kamptal’s three types of soil (primordial rock, loess and clay), are ideal for Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and Zweigelt. 

The climate too, of course, not to mention the family. “The vine absorbs these impressions and reflects them in the wine and gives each wine its personality and character. Behind every wine are also the people. Making good wine is a way of life, as well as a fascinating task. You need experience and a lot of feeling.”

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