This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, May. 30, 2014 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20140530.php.
Tradition! Shout out the word, and you might start hearing Tevye the dairyman singing the popular tune from "Fiddler on the Roof" in your head. Then open a tall, cool green bottle of Gobelsburger Kamptal Grüner Veltliner from Austria, and you might just start singing "Tradition" yourself.
Even with a desirable if not-so-traditional metal screwcap to ensure clean freshness, it's hard not to hear the voice of tradition in a wine from Schloss Gobelsburg, a wine-producing property associated with the monks of Zwetti in Austria's Kamp river valley (Kamptal) for close to 1,000 years.
The Zwettl Monastery was founded in 1074, according to distributor Michael Skurnik, and in 1171 the Monks of Zwettl were granted their first vineyards. Now, that's tradition.
The monastery has contracted with Eva and Michael Moosbrugger for vine growing and wine making since1996, and Michael Moosbrugger was named Austria's "winemaker of the year" by the national wine magazine Falstaff in 2006.
Gobelsburg has come a long way, but it continues to deeply honor Austria's ancient wine-making tradition. Says Skurnik, "The winery continues to utilize organic winegrowing and has benefited from the fact that the monks of Zwettl Monastery began these practices as early as 1958.
"While many international cellars are attempting to produce clean, uniform wines, Moosbrugger is convinced that the future Gobelsburg lies in individuality and character. As a high level of technology is necessary to warrant uniformity, Moosbrugger believes that individuality can only be achieved through the reduction of machines."
For example, Moosbrugger developed what he calls a 'Dynamic Cellar Concept,' an approach that avoids pumping wine in production through hoses but gently transports them in wheeled barrels around the cellar.
Their care ... their tradition ... shows in the quality of the wine. My tasting notes are below.
Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain
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This should be an interesting topic. To be honest, based on the selection of Spanish wines I see in my local market, I tend to think of huge, hot, global-warming and Parkerized bombs when I think of Spain, so I'm eager for an opportunity to reconnect with reality if possible.
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Today's Tasting Reports
Gobelsburger 2012 Kamptal Grüner Veltliner ($17.99)
Transparent straw color. White fruit aromas, fresh green figs and a whiff of wine with a pleasant "woolly" note. Crisp and fresh on the palate, lime and white-fruit flavors follow the nose, tart and dry, with just a suggestion of Austria's characteristic stony rainwater-over-rocks minerality in the long finish. Food-friendly alcohol at 12.5 percent. U.S. importer: Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y. A Terry Thiese Estate Selection. (May 22, 2014)
FOOD MATCH: Grüner Veltliner makes a natural match with freshwater fish, goat cheeses or soft white cheeses like Camembert and Brie. I'll never forget traveling in Austria during spargel (white asparagus) season, so in homage to those memories I matched it with a fresh asparagus frittata loaded with onions and garlic.
WHEN TO DRINK: Grüner Veltliner can benefit from aging, and Wine-Searcher.com actually shows some European vendors offering vintages back to 1998. The wine's sturdy metal screw cap should also keep it clean and fresh. That said, it might make sense to buy the youngest available and cellar it yourself if that's your wish.
VALUE: My local price is a few bucks above the $15 U.S. average shown on Wine-Searcher.com, but I'm satisfied with its quality-price ratio in the upper teens.
WEB LINK: Schloss Gobelsburg offers its attractive website in German and English. Here's a link to its fact sheet on the Goldsburger Grüner Veltliner in English. It also publishes a Facebook Page in English.
Importer Michael Skurnik also provides a detailed article about Schloss Gobelsburg, with links to reports on many of its wines.
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