WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

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WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:07 pm

Sunrise, sunset ...

One of the most enduring images of the wine snob features a sniffy gentleman who has painstakingly memorized all the "good years" and "bad years" for his pricey favorites, and stuffily insists on only the best.

It's this kind of thing that gives wine a bad reputation as a hobby for pedants, a dilettante's infatuation that's almost impossible to learn.

But I'd argue that vintage is about more than mere rote memory of trivial information. Following the changes that vintage variations bring to our favorite wines is a bit like nurturing an old friendship and enjoying the changes that maturity imparts.

As I wrote just this past summer, it can be fun to observe the similarities that the grape, the land and the wine maker's hand bring to a particular wine each year, and to contrast these fixed points against the inevitable changes that result from differences in each vintage's weather and other variables.

Vintage variations also remind us in a very basic way that wine is, after all, the result of an agricultural process and that vine growing is ultimately just another form of farming. That's a useful antidote to snobbery.

All this is by way of celebrating my recent tasting of a very pleasant Austrian Grüner Veltliner from the respected producer Nigl, my first GV of the 2005 vintage. While there's some argument in favor of cellaring GV - especially the robust Wachau-bottled version labeled "Smaragd" - until it gains added richness and complexity, it's mighty hard to wait, though, when a crisp, light and minerally beauty like this one tastes so good right off the boat.

<table border="0" align="right" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/nigl1014.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Nigl 2005 Kremser Freiheit Kremstal Grüner Veltliner ($15.49)

Transparent, very pale straw color, almost watery pale. Lovely citrus scents of lemon-lime lead into a crisp and tart flavor clean and snappy citrus shaped by "rocky" minerality and cleansing acidity that lingers. U.S. importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y.; a Terry Theise Estate Selection. (Oct. 14, 2006)

<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> It made a fine match with an autumn dinner of pork rib roast braised with sauerkraut.

<B>VALUE:</B> No complaints at this price point, although it's worth noting that Wine-Searcher.com prices for this bottling range from $14 to $19, so careful shopping could save a dollar or two.

<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> As noted, Grüner Veltliner may gain complexity with time under very good cellar conditions, but there's really no reason not to enjoy this light, crisp rendition now.

<B>WEB LINK:</B>
Curiously, even the winery's purportedly English-language pages seem to come up in German for me.

For an English alternative, try the importer's Nigl pages, with links to specific wines.

<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B>
Compare prices and find vendors for Nigl Grüner Veltliner on Wine-Searcher.com.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:14 pm

Thanks but around $30 Cdn up here!!!!
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:45 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Thanks but around $30 Cdn up here!!!!


Whoa! For the 05 Kremser Freiheit? Even with the exchange rate taken into account, somebody's making a tidy little profit there, Bob. Are you sure it's the same bottling, though? Nigl makes a lot of different GVs, but this is the low-end item.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Clinton Macsherry » Wed Nov 01, 2006 4:19 pm

Robin--
Did you note the alcohol content of this bottling? I ask only because of Michael Pronay's observation that percentages of 13 or over tend to indicate more serious, age-worthy GVs.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Paul B. » Wed Nov 01, 2006 5:42 pm

Robin Garr wrote:One of the most enduring images of the wine snob features a sniffy gentleman who has painstakingly memorized all the "good years" and "bad years" for his pricey favorites, and stuffily insists on only the best.

It's this kind of thing that gives wine a bad reputation as a hobby for pedants, a dilettante's infatuation that's almost impossible to learn.

I've been fascinated with this idea that wine comes across to newbies as a potentially snobby and intimidating topic - mainly because when I was a newbie, I never actually felt this way. Wouldn't you say, Robin, that this image of wine predominates particularly in cultures that have not had indigenous wine cultures for a long time? I see it in Ontario, because we have a relatively young wine culture here ... but somehow I get the feeling that your average Spaniard, Frenchman or Italian who's not wine-attuned would see wine as merely another option of things to drink at mealtime than as an "academic body of knowledge to acquire", if you will.

I'd be interested in knowing others' thoughts on this part.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Michael Pronay » Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:11 pm

Robin, what's the closure? Kremser Freiheit should come in screwcaps, at least over here.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:26 pm

Michael Pronay wrote:Robin, what's the closure? Kremser Freiheit should come in screwcaps, at least over here.


Michael, I have to confess that I didn't take close note of it, but I'm fairly certain that it was indeed a metal screwcap, and if it's the one I'm thinking of (not entirely certain - these notes are a few weeks old), I noted with interest that it differed somewhat from the usual Stelvin type, bearing a particularly close look-alike resemblance to a cork-stoppered wine's capsule.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:33 pm

Paul B. wrote:somehow I get the feeling that your average Spaniard, Frenchman or Italian who's not wine-attuned would see wine as merely another option of things to drink at mealtime than as an "academic body of knowledge to acquire", if you will.


Paul, maybe in parts of the world where wine is commonplace most people feel this way about it, but somehow your question leaves me feeling that I didn't communicate very effectively. My point was that the wine enthusiast who commits vintage charts to rote memory and uses them slavishly in demanding "the best" qualifies as a bit of a snob no matter what language he speaks; and I don't really think the local "wine culture," whatever that may be, really alters that very much.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:09 pm

Clinton Macsherry wrote:Robin--
Did you note the alcohol content of this bottling? I ask only because of Michael Pronay's observation that percentages of 13 or over tend to indicate more serious, age-worthy GVs.


Clinton, as I told Bob P, this is a tasting report from earlier last month, and unfortunately I didn't keep the bottle or jot down either the alcohol content or information about the closure. As I told Michael, I believe it was a screwcap. And I'm pretty sure it was unexceptional in alcohol content - 12% or maybe 12.5%, based on the negative information that if the content is <i>not</i> typical, <i>then</i> I generally write it down.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Sunrise, sunset ... (Nigl '05 Kremser Freiheit GV)

Postby Hoke » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:31 pm

Paul B. wrote: Wouldn't you say, Robin, that this image of wine predominates particularly in cultures that have not had indigenous wine cultures for a long time? I see it in Ontario, because we have a relatively young wine culture here ... but somehow I get the feeling that your average Spaniard, Frenchman or Italian who's not wine-attuned would see wine as merely another option of things to drink at mealtime than as an "academic body of knowledge to acquire", if you will.

I'd be interested in knowing others' thoughts on this part.


Paul, I'd say that the "average" Spaniard, Frenchman or Italian (although I've never known an average one) would fall somewhere in the middle: wine would be a little more than just another beverage option, but perhaps a little less than an academic body of knowledge.

To illustrate, some years ago my wife and I stayed in a 'gite in the Ventoux, and so had some lovely times in the local little village hangouts. One night at an extremely modest pasta/pizza joint, crowded mostly by locals, we couldn't help but notice a large table of truck drivers having heaping plates of spaghetti with red sauce. They had multiple beverages on the table, but several of them were drinking wine. What was most interesting was watching these basic working class men, with grubby jeans and well-worn black jackets, seriously debate the merits of the different village wines, and compare them to the Chianti that was also on the table.

When wine is a fairly normal and common part of your daily life, even if you're not a fan of it it's difficult to remain aloof and unknowing. But neither do you approach it as something academic----you don't learn it in schoolrooms, after all, but within the course of your daily life.

For most of those 'average' folks in the countries you cite, the availability is there, the acceptance is there, but it's not like it's shoved on you, like you have to drink wine because you're French or something. If you want, you can have wine. It doesn't have to be more than that, but it's fairly understandable that someone who wanted to know more could delve deeper.

Bit more difficult if that same person grew up in the Deep South of the USA in a redneck, teetotal, fundamentalist household though.....
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