Tuesday Night Wines: Aichenberg Gruner Veltliner
The Austrian grape is an affordable, badass alternative to Sauvignon Blanc
I was always afraid of Gruner Veltliner. The smart kids in the wine playground seemed to talk about it quietly among themselves. I didn't know how to pronounce it, and it was, well...Austrian. I had little experience with Austrian wines, and no affection: The few I'd tried were sweet Rieslings that didn't leave me wanting to spend any more time in that neck of middle Europe.
Then I was at Kafe Leopold's, a lovely Austrian place in Georgetown in D.C., and on a lark decided to go native. My lovely wife and I each ordered a different Gruner Veltliner.
We were stunned: Fresh and bright and citrus-y, like your typical Sauvignon Blanc, but with little edgy notes: Florals I couldn't identify, something hearty and vegetal, some nice stony layers beneath it all. Edgy, if not precisely badass.
This is how I wound up in possession of a case of Aichenberg Gruner -- as we smart kids call it, or, better, "GV." 91 points from wine.com's Walter Wong, 3.7 from Vivino ... I took a flyer.
I was not disappointed. It's a perfectly priced, perfectly delightful Tuesday Night Special.
If you haven't made friends with GV yet I recommend it. It's good to hang with the badasses every now and again.