Hahndorf Hill Winery
The big question on many lips that have been wetted with Gruner Veltliner is whether the Australian versions will translate into the style of a typical European Gruner Veltliner.
To put this to a mini-test this evening, I opened four Gruner V’s and tasted them blind. There were three Europeans and one Australian in the line-up.
Wine no 1: Full nose of stone fruit, melon and herbs – palate bursting with sweet nectarines, spice, texture and mineral notes. Possibly a bit of residual sugar but not unpleasant. Quite a big styled wine.
Wine no 2: Fresh, clean pear and herbs on nose – big on the palate with mouth-filling, mad tumble of spice, texture, stone-fruit and citrus. Great balance between zesty freshness and the interplay of spice and texture. Good long finish.
Wine no 3: Prominent spicy, candied pear on nose – oodles of spice that is offset by lovely citrus and gentle stone fruit tones. Fresh and bracing yet quite a powerfully structured and classy wine.
Wine no 4: Gentle melon and spice on nose. The palate is a gentle melange of herbs, melon and spice with a web of mouth-filling texture.
And the wines?
No 1: Stift Goettweig Grüner Veltliner Goettweigerberg 2010. (Kremstal)
This wine is made from grapes sourced from a vineyard owned by a 1000 year-old Benedictine monastery, now leased to a business consortium.
The monastery and vineyard hold a commanding position on Gottweiger mountain on the southern banks of the Danube, opposite the town of Krems.
No 2: Hahndorf Hill GRU Gruner Veltliner 2010. (Adelaide Hills)
This was our very first vintage of Gruner which was produced from three clones imported from Austria.
No 3: Weingut Knoll Loibner Grüner Veltliner 2010. (Wachau)
This celebrated winery from the Wachau region is situated in the beautiful village of Unterloiben alongside the Danube. The baroque-like label features an image of Saint Urban, the patron saint of wine.
No 4: Salomon Undhof – Wieden & Berg Grüner Veltliner 2008. (Kremstal)
This wine was made by Bert Salomon, a 7th-generation Austrian winemaker, whose family business produces acclaimed whites; but he also owns a vineyard in the Fleurieu Peninsula, where he makes robust reds.
The grapes for this wine were sourced from the beautiful vineyard beside the family winery.
It was interesting that I hadn’t tasted the HHW GRU for over two years and I was unable to pick it out amongst this bunch of suave Europeans. The wines were clearly all from the same variety and generally had very similar profiles of body, texture and aromatics.
Conclusion: It will be very intriguing to watch how this exciting variety evolves in the New World over the coming vintages and especially here in the Adelaide Hills. This cool-climate, South Australian wine region has remarkably similar growing-season conditions to the wine region of Lower Austria, which is the spiritual home of Gruner Veltliner.