To finish out a week of posts based on a single night hanging out with Sam and Michael, here are the two wines that I brought to the gathering. I knew that Michael was a big fan of Austrian wines, so it seemed like a good fit. Normally it's in bad form to show up at someone's house with already-opened bottles of wine, but I figured two fellow wine bloggers who are also wine retailers would understand. Notes and photos were taken earlier in the day so that I could focus on having fun with friends in the evening.
Laurenz V. is an Austrian winemaker focusing exclusively on Grüner Veltliner with five amusingly named styles. Two are reviewed below, and in the same way that Riesling can be made in a wide range of sweetness and acidity, it's nice to see a single producer doing the same with Grüner. I assumed at first that the "V" stood for a lengthy and difficult to pronounce surname, but he is Laurenz Maria Moser the Fifth, member of a family that has been in the wine business since 1124. I love the simple, straightforward design of these labels, and nicknames like "Sunny" are an excellent way to differentiate and demystify a product line like this.
First up is the younger, more casual of the two: the 2009 Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner, $15, 12% abv. This comes from the Kremstal region in northeast Austria. Crisp lemongrass, light body, very short finish. Made with his daughter Sophie, this is a fun, relaxing wine that is great chilled and would be a perfect match for salads and cold pasta dishes. Think picnics and summer lunches.
On the more serious side is the 2006 Laurenz V. Charming Grüner Veltliner, $27, 13% abv. This is from the Kamptal region, directly north and adjacent to the Kremstal. I was extremely impressed with this wine, and to enjoy this properly you'll want to make sure it doesn't get too cold. Rich, earthy, mineral, long and slightly bitter finish. It is drier than the Singing wine, with less fruit. I found myself craving grilled trout. Because the flavors here are more subtle, you'll want to enjoy this with milder dishes so that those quiet notes are not lost.
This is a great time to be an Austrian wine fan, because the quality is superb, the prices are affordable, and the availability is getting better every day. There are far fewer producers than in Germany, so the selection at the wine shop or on a wine list is not quite as imposing if you're just getting into the scene. I look forward to trying the remaining three Laurenz V. wines in the future.
Note: These wines were received as samples.