This week the Blog and Wine Review are rolled into a single report on one of my favourite white varieties - Grüner Veltliner, native of Austria and now flourishing here in Oz.
Last week by invitation I attended the Grüner Grower’s Group (GGG) meeting at Hahndorf Hill Winery in the Adelaide Hills. This group was formed a few years ago in order to promote all aspects of Australian wines made from the outstanding Austrian native white variety, Grüner Veltliner.
The progress of this variety in the Adelaide Hills has been astounding. It was only ten years ago that the crew at Hahndorf Hill released their first (and Australia’s second after Lark Hill in Canberra) Grüner and yet today there are nearly fifty Grüner growers in Australia, with over forty of them being in the Adelaide Hills. Almost all the Adelaide Hills Grüner growers are members of the GGG, and whilst due to Covid-19 some weren’t at the meeting last week, the dissemination of information about the variety within the group is awesome. For instance at this meeting, nine different examples of the 2020 vintage were on taste, for the whole group to examine and comment on. This was followed by eight wines from the 2019 vintage and half a dozen samples from the 2017 and 2018 vintages so that members could see how the wines were progressing and developing with a bit of age.
There was open and frank discussion on winemaking methods and especially the use of wild (natural) yeasts and there was even a sample of a 2018 experimental wine that was left on skins for six weeks whilst being hand plunged and then matured for six months in older French oak barrels. It was quite different in terms of the aromas and the depth of flavours, but still possessed all of the primary inherent Grüner characters.
Carefully researched handouts were also supplied which highlighted some of the various methods that some of the cutting edge Austrian winemakers use to achieve the maximum quality in their Grüner.
Whilst there is no concerted marketing program as yet, the GGG do discuss their current marketing plans and encourage each other so as to increase the public (consumer) awareness of the variety, as they are fully focused on taking Grüner to the next level in the varietal popularity stakes.
Already the Adelaide Hills is (as I have been saying for several years) “The Australian spiritual home of Grüner Veltliner”, i.e. it “owns” the variety, just like Argentina is the spiritual home of Malbec these days and Australia is for Shiraz. In fact, it could well be argued that the Adelaide Hills are “The Southern Hemisphere’s spiritual home of Grüner Veltliner”.
With the amount of effort, co-operation and camaraderie that the members of the GGG exhibit, I am in no doubt that Australians will be drinking a lot more Grüner Veltliner in the future, from the great Aussie expressions that are being made, as well as some of the “originals” from Austria which are already being imported as well as those that “Wines of Adelaide” (see link below) are currently seeking importers for. I don’t think that Grüner will ever give Sav Blanc or Chardy a run for their money, but I can see it leapfrogging past quite a few of the currently in vogue emerging white varieties, to become a regular tipple for quite a few Aussie wine drinkers.
Link for: www.winesofadelaide.com
The Grüner wines tasted at the meeting were:
►Artis Wines 2018 and 2019
►Catlin Skins 2018
►CRFT Arranmore 2020, Maccelsfield 2020 and Kuitpo 2020
►Hahndorf Hill White Mischief 2020, Gru 2019 and Reserve 2017
►Handcrafted by Geoff Hardy 2020
►Henschke Percival’s Mill 2019
►K1 2017 and 2019
►Mt Bera Grüner Veltliner 2019 and 2020, Boundless Horizon 2019 and 2020
►Nepenthe Pinnacle 2019, Altitude 2019 and 2020
►Shining Rock 2018 and 2017
These were all great Grüners! I appreciated each and every one of them, noting that the 2020 vintage wines had more floral notes than the previous vintages. Whilst the style and flavours varied across the tasting, they were all excellent wines that amply demonstrated the core flavours and structure of this great white variety. This consistency will certainly aid in the variety’s acceptance by Australian wine consumers.
So all in all, a very positive and exciting future for this cracking white variety. Cheers!
If you ever needed proof that the Adelaide Hills was a brilliant place in which to grow Grüner Veltliner – well here it is:
The results for the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards have just been announced and the 2019 Hahndorf Hill Adelaide Hills “GRU” Grüner Veltliner was awarded a gold medal – the only Grüner Veltliner in the world to be so awarded despite strong competition from the Austrian Grüner Veltliner entry, which won stacks of silver and bronze medals.
AN OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT!!
Winery Link: www.hahndorfhillwinery.com
Decanter Link: www.decanter.com/decanter-awards/
This week the Blog and Wine Review are rolled into a single report - see above.