Even cooler Cali pinot
Terrific deluxe meritage from Two Sisters
A cool California chardonnay
Pinot grigio beats chardonnay!
Frame-up: The Beer Store, beer tax and beer prices


Gruner Gone Wild

About the only Austrian wine with significant presence here is the increasingly fashionable white, gruner veltliner: almost half the Austrian wines available at the LCBO are gruner velts. This sort of makes sense as, according to Wikipedia, gruner velt accounts for 32% of all vineyard plantings in Austria. I’ve heard it described as “Vienna’s white wine, as Chablis is Paris’s” – in the days before high-speed travel, the wines made closest to the bigger cities were local favourites.

Of the top ten export markets for Austrian wines, Canada… doesn’t make the list. Germany takes over half the exports and Denmark is ranked 10th with just 0.64%. Canada should really be on the list because gruner veltliner is a well priced dry white with a great name.

Gruner is more a summer wine, fresh and crisp. It's also made from a grape well suited to cool climates in that it can deliver good fruit and  decent body without a ton of heat and sun. Someone should give it a try in Niagara or Prince Edward County. It started to gain traction in Britain and US and Canada has followed suit. You will now find it in a number of smart restaurants around the city.

At the LCBO, gruner runs from $10 up to $39 for the fanciest online-only one, and most gruners are in the mid-teens.

Coming in February is Domane Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2010 (Vintages 31534, $17.95). It’s got a muted nose of lime and a slight floral note. It’s lighter bodied on the palate, which is dry and minerally and has nice white fruit notes. Bracing. With a good, clean fresh finish.


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