Schloss Gobelsburg, Kamptal, DAC Reserve, Lamm Erste Lage, Grüner Veltliner, 2010
I've written about the winery quite a lot. About this very wine, actually. So let's talk about the grape, Gruner Veltliner.
It's a big white grape. I mean, it makes wines that feel big. Big and spicy. It feels like it just soaks up the sun. Which is good, I think. I think grapes that give that impression usually manage to contain the heat of summer quite well.
Gruner always makes me think of Pinot Gris and Gewurztranminer. Not because it tastes like them, especially not like Gewurtz - by definition, nothing tastes like Gewurtz. But it's rich and spicy like them. If the great white star in Austria is Riesling, same as in Alsace, then Gruner plays the same sidekick role that Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer do in Alsace. But what a sidekick! I think it can make more of a grand vineyard then Gewurtz and Pinot Gris usually do, and, because its character is less dominating, it doesn't overwhelm the landscape.
It won't make you swoon the way Riesling does, not at the entry level, at any rate. And even the top wines are going to appeal to your brain more than your heart and loins. But something about its texture and breadth, the way the flavors insist on attention but don't bang you around, makes you realize it's quite a unique fixture in our kaleidoscopic world of wine and deserves a place at the top of the pops.