I’ve been lucky when it comes to Gruner Veltliner, one of the great grapes of Austria. Through friends who have worked for various importers over the years, I’ve been introduced to some incredible renditions — expressive wines of intensity, balance and flat-out deliciousness.
With that as context, I’ve been a bit let down by most New York Gruner. I used to chalk it up to young vines, poor picking decisions and winemakers getting their footing with it in the cellar. I still think that’s true in some cases, but I’ve also been guilty of not allowing the grapes to express what it wants to express in the Finger Lakes.
I don’t compare Finger Lakes riesling to wines from German, Alsace or Australia — why should I treat Gruner any differently?
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2014 Gruner Veltliner ($15) tastes almost like a sauvignon blanc at first, driven by grapefruit and sweet herbs, before moving into peach, tangerine and white pepper as it warms a bit. Crunchy with mouth-watering, citrusy acidity, it’s dry and focused — and a good value to boot.
In fact, it is a May 2015 New York Cork Club selection.
Producer: Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12 %
TA: 5.8 g/L
Production: 457 cases
Price: $15 (sample)
(3.5 out of 5 | Very Good, Recommended to Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)