Thursday, June 26, 2014

Weekly Wine Review - Central California White - 2011 Zocker Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner, that white wine from Austria is one of my go-to white wines for food pairing. With aromas and flavors of citrus and herbs, it's like a squeeze of lemon and some fresh herbs to accentuate a dish.  My local Total Wine & More only carries a few brands of this wine - so I was intrigued when walking by the tiny Austria section and saw a new brand - Zocker. Wait... Edna Valley? Is there also an Edna Valley in Austria? Nope, this is a Grüner Veltliner from Central California, but stuck in the Austria section by the folks at Total Wine instead of getting banished to the "other white wines" section of the store. This island of misfit whites is home to such cast outs as Chenin Blanc, Viognier, and Torrontes.  So, after considering switching to Hugl, my usual Austrian brand, I decided to be adventurous.

Wine: 2011 Zocker Grüner Veltliner
Region: Edna Valley, Central California
Grape Varieties: Grüner Veltliner
Obtained from: Purchased at Total Wine & More
Price: $16
Wino4Life Category: Everyday Wine
Aeration before tasting: Just a swirl or two, no special aeration.

Cork Condition: Screw Top - no defects or issues.
Appearance: Wine is clear, light yellow with a water white rim. Also, some bubbles attached to the glass - something I mostly see in Riesling.
Aroma: Lots of apples with some hint of citrus.
Taste: The minerality of this wine was very pronounced, and almost overpowered the wine. The aftertaste was such that I would have guessed this wine spent some time in oak.  I served it with a pasta dish that has baby artichokes. Artichokes can be tricky to pair, but I've made this dish many times and successfully paired with Reisling (German and Washington State), Grenache Blanc, Torrontes, Albariño - probably others as well.  I was suspicious that the pairing was the problem, but trying some wine after dinner, the taste was a bit better with some of the fruit coming forward - but still a disappointing bottle.

The Grade: I give this one a C-.  I am a big fan of experimenting with non traditional varietals, but I have to say stick to Austria for now to get you some Grüner.  If this bottle wasn't a screw top I would suspect some cork taint may have decimated the fruit in the wine. The 2012 of this wine has already been released, maybe the 2011 only had a short shelf life? I'm afraid I probably won't be trying it to see. 

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