Spargel mit Grüner
Monday's dissertation on finding the perfect wine to go with fresh spring asparagus turned out to be another of those topics that inspired an unexpected flurry of E-mail and online forum responses.
Along with a lot of support for my assertion that a "grassy" Sauvignon Blanc makes a natural companion for these vernal spears and the usual choir of praise for Riesling as the wine that goes with everything, a few enthusiasts spoke up for Alsatian Muscat (the drier the better) as an ideal match.
But perhaps the strongest claim came from the Austrian contingent and those who love Austrian wine: Grüner Veltliner ("GV" for short), these advocates say, may be the best match of all - particularly for the thick and tender white spears that Germans and Austrians call "Spargel," a seasonal treat that's just about at its peak right now. (By coincidence, I was in Austria - and visited Donauland and the neighboring Wachau region - on this very day in May, 1998. I still remember how Spargel - and Grüner Veltliner - appeared at just about every meal except maybe breakfast.)
GV is one of my white-wine favorites, a topic I took on just a month ago in a report on Austria and its wines in the April 12 Wine Advisor. For today's tasting report, let's take a look at another tasty GV, this one from the lovely Donauland region near Vienna.
TALK ABOUT WINE ONLINE
The discussion that followed Monday's report on Sauvignon Blanc with asparagus is still online, too, at
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Söllner 2002 "Wogenrain" Wagram Donauland Grüner Veltliner ($13)
This very fine GV comes from the Wagram ("Vah-grahm") sub-region in Austria's Donauland ("Danube-land") growing area, a scenic spot on the north bank of the Danube not far northwest of Vienna. A clear, very pale straw color, it offers pleasant aromas of honeydew melon with a whiff of peppermint. Ripe white fruit and fragrant white-pepper flavors are built on racy, zippy, lemon-squirt acidity; a pleasing "stony" minerality develops with time in the glass, adding flavor complexity and texture in the finish. U.S. importer: Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, Pa. (April 30, 2004)
FOOD MATCH: A natural with white or green asparagus, as noted, and fine with poultry, pork or fish, GV is one of the most versatile of food wines. We served it with a marlin steak pan-seared Sicilian-style with lemon, garlic and oregano.
VALUE: A white wine of finesse and quality, more than fairly priced in the lower teens.
WHEN TO DRINK: Drinking well, but you needn't fear keeping it under cool conditions for a few years.
WEB LINK: The winery Website is currently available only in German. You'll find the specs on the Wogenrain GV here:
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: In the U.S., ask your local merchant to seek this wine through Weygandt-Metzler, the Pennsylvania-based importer. Check the winery Website under "Bezugsquellen" ("Supply Sources") for distributors in many countries:
Wine Travel: Join us in Austria ... and Burgundy
I'm delighted to partner with the respected California-based touring company Food and Wine Trails for a seven-day "Austrian Wine Experience" tour this coming Sept. 25-Oct. 1. We'll visit wineries in three of Austria's top wine-producing regions - Wachau, Kamptal and Burgenland - as well as taking in the rich world of art and culture (and food and wine, of course!) in Vienna. For a quick summary and details, visit
We're leaving next Friday for a week in Burgundy (plus a day in Champagne), hosting a wine tour of the region with our friends at French Wine Explorers. We have an eager group ready to go, but I'm told that there may still be room for one or possibly two more. This will be a memorable tour, with VIP-style visits at several top producers plus four-star lodging and meals at some of Burgundy's top restaurants including the classic Lameloise. If you're a world-class procrastinator and would still like to join us, get in touch with me pronto at firstname.lastname@example.org. For details about the tour, see French Wine Explorers,
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Friday, May 14, 2004