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Admin note:
No edition tomorrow or Monday

As noted in Monday's edition, I'm headed for the annual Boston Wine Expo this weekend. Accordingly, there will be no Wine Advisor tomorrow or Monday. We'll be back on Tuesday, Feb. 5, with lots of tasting notes; and the full weekly edition will go to all subscribers that day.

For information about the Boston Wine Expo, see If any of you plan to attend, feel free to contact me by E-mail at - perhaps we can arrange a meeting in the Expo hall.

30 Second Wine Tasting Tip:
Two Gruner Veltliners

In our recent exploration of "trends and blends" in wine, I spoke highly of the Austrian Gruner Veltliner grape, an anything-but-Chardonnay option that was out of favor in much of the world for years but is enjoying a recent resurgence.

No tipple for fans of "fruit bombs," Gruner Veltliner is often bone-dry, tart and minerally, even austere, giving rise to the joke among Austrian wine makers, "Why drink fruit when we can drink rocks?"

But that's a rather unappetizing way to characterize a wine that's not merely appetizing but particularly well matched with food. As noted in the Jan. 14 Wine Advisor, "GV" is gaining popularity as an exceptional companion with Pacific Rim cuisines. It occurred to me the other day, though, that the Gruner Veltliner style also bears a kinship to the top white wines of Northeastern Italy, a region that - perhaps more than coincidentally - was long under Austrian dominion.

So, I wondered, would Gruner Veltliner marry well with a Trieste-style seafood risotto? You bet it would! The stony minerality and clean, zingy fruit of two somewhat different GVs really sang with a risotto packed with shrimp, scallops and fish. Here are my notes:

Nikolaihof Nikolaihof 2000 Hefeabzug Wachau (Austria) Gruner Veltliner ($13.99)
Clear bright straw color. Green-pea and mineral scents, the signature characteristics of Gruner Veltliner. Fresh and crisp flavor, white fruit and stony mineral notes follow the nose. Good structure and length. U.S. importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y. a Terry Theise Estate Selection. (Jan. 23, 2002)

Mantlerhof Mantlerhof 2000 Spiegel Kremstal (Austria) Gruner Veltliner ($6.99)
Clear light brass color. Distinct almond aroma with a whiff of spice. Tart and juicy white fruit, banana and a hint of cloves. Slight fresh-fruit sweetness, a surprising contrast with the bone-dry style of most Gruner Veltliners. U.S. importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y.; a Terry Theise Estate Selection. (Jan. 23, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: As noted above, both wines were well matched with the seafood risotto recipe featured in last week's 30 Second Wine Advisor Food Letter, archived at

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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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