2016 Knoll Gruner Veltliner Federspiel



Zweigelt.  Zzzwhy?-gelt.  It’s a grape that makes dry red wine.  Your reference point: the same sexy, silky smoothness of Pinot Noir.

Blaufrankisch.  Sounds exactly like it reads.  It’s got the ripe, juicy brambly fruit of Zinfandel, but light on its feet, fresh, and pure.

And Gruner Veltliner.  Gru-Vee, or Veltliner for short.  Austria’s powerhouse white wine with intense minerality wrapped in a driving core.

Like Montmartre, Paris, around 1910, New York with the Beat generation in the ’50s, or Seattle’s grunge music movement of the 1990s, Austria is in the midst of an enormous creative renaissance—a wine renaissance.

Returning to their ancestral vineyards, a generation of young Austrian vintners, including Claus Presinger, Fritz Weninger and Emmerich Knoll, are doing the radical, economically-unthinkable thing in this global marketplace: They opted for uniqueness, individuality, and strength of character, and they are making the best possible wines they can with native, Austrian grape varietials.

We are the beneficiaries of their intoxicating efforts!  Perhaps you lament that the best examples of Austrian wine get snapped up by the Germans, Swiss and Italians.  But not always so. Crazily enough, these bottles made it all the way to Wisconsin and are now in need of a happy home.  Here they are:

Preisinger Kieselstein Zewigelt is bursting with succulent, snappy blue and brambly fruits – fully ripe summer blueberries, black raspberries, a hint of cracked black pepper, and a touch of savoriness deep down on the palate.

Weninger Horitschoner Blaufrankisch is ripe like a Cornas, but the palate carries the quintessential Pinot-esque notes of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Soft and silky, but also vigorous, it’s delicious as a cocktail or perfect for a grilled hamburger or roasted chicken with black truffles in a reduction sauce.

Knoll Gruner Veltliner Federspiel offers fresh-cut apples, honey, melon and wild herbs drive a decidedly mineral wine that drinks with utter freshness and minerality.  The weather isn’t warm yet, but it will be—and this is your summer sensation.

In Austria, these wines are duly famous and for good reason.  In Wisconsin, maybe not so much (hence the price reduction) –  but I bet they will be, and soon!

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