Nikolaihof Wachau Hefeabzug Grüner Veltliner ($13.99)
That odd term on the label, which appears to be an unpronounceable "Hefeabxng," is actually German for "yeast aged" or, in the somewhat more familar French terminology, "sur lie," indicating that the wine is kept for an extended time on its "lees" or spent yeast, a flavor-boosting technique more familiar in Muscadet on the Loire than the Wachau on the Danube. The bottle also carries the red logo of Demeter International, an organization that certifies "biodynamic" producers, an extreme version of organic agriculture. In short, it's a very unusual wine ... and a very good one, from the winery said to be the Wachau's oldest. Clear, watery pale in color, it shows a greenish-brassy glint. Subtle but complex aromas blend white fruit, wildflowers and a chalky minerality that carries over on the palate with crisp fruit, snappy acidity and a distinctly mineral character that illustrates an old Austrian wine joke about "drinking rocks." Firm, steely acidity and subtle minerality carry on in a very long finish. US Importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y.; a Terry Theise Estate Selection. (Jun 26, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: Fresh pork-and-veal bratwurst patties scented with coriander and grilled over charcoal made a spectacular match; try it in general with pork, poultry or richer seafood.



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