Is there a wine more eager to leave the bottle than Gruner Veltliner? Like a Wisconsin Spring that has been delayed far too long by April’s torrid rains, and Vetliner’s adolescent vernal instincts burst from the bottle, health leap into the glass and slide gratefully down the parched palate.
Alas, buy just like this Wisconsin’s April, spring in 2009 for Austria was a rained out gloomy affair: flowering saw hail and soaking thunderstorms, and while the rest of the year was immaculate for growing grapes the effort was mostly wasted – there were very few grapes to grow.
Many a farmer and vintner responded to this shortage by raising prices to cover their shortfall in quantity. While perfectly understandable it sadly resulted in wines more expensive than our regular spring fever for the flavor of Gruner Veltliner could substantiate. So right from the get-go the search was on: fleshy, juicy Veltliner at a price that wouldn’t limit spring’s verdant consumption.
And like a morel hunter in a forest of Elm trees, Markus Huber vinified a beautiful harbinger of the year to come: Hugo Gruner Veltliner.
Located in the Traisental, that small area of lower Austria south of the Danube from the city of Krems, Huber’s winery isn’t exactly on the beaten path of wine-tourism. But this is to our advantage. Most of the area’s “vineyards” are actually just family gardens, tended with lots of love and care but too small to be much commercial use – except to Markus Huber. 10 generations of Hubers have made wine in the Traisental and Markus, facing the same ’09 shortage as everyone else, called in some neighborly favors in order to make his fun and fresh springtime tipple, Hugo Veltliner.
Hugo bounds from the glass with all the anxious enthusiasm of a child receiving unexpected May Day candy. Delicate pear and persimmon fruits intermix with an almost Chablis-like minerality drawing across the breath of the palate. It is a precious little papoose of a Veltliner, pure energy and dimpled baby-faced smiles. It drinks quickly and easily, brushing away Spring’s potential showers. The finish is with Veltliner’s classic spicy Romaine note – a lingering touch of the wild.
Within every passing thundercloud is a silver lining: our record setting cool and rainy April was greatly loved by one Wisconsin native – the morel mushroom. And along with morels comes fiddlehead ferns, ramps and asparagus – all perfect culinary partners to Hugo Gruner Veltliner. Cheers!
2009 Markus Huber “Hugo” Gruner Veltliner
Suggested List Price: $13.99
Special price via this email: $9.99
We will be tasting this wine on Friday and Saturday.
All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number. All orders will be available at the time of purchase. Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.
When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged. The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge. Offer is good while supplies last.
This piece was edited by Tim Hansen.