Nearly two years ago to the day, I wrote about the wines of Laurenz V. from Austria. I got a press release recently about their newest Grüner Veltliner, a slightly sweet wine called Forbidden and marketed around the story of the serpent in the garden of Eden. It certainly sounded interesting, but alas, the wine is not yet available in the United States. But the PR firm was happy to send me the recent releases of Singing and Charming, the two wines that I tried in 2010.
The bottles still have a lot of great things going for them: affordable prices, friendly labels, convenient screwcaps, and food-friendly flavors. Grüner Veltliner is coming in a close second to dry rosé as my favorite type of wine for the summer. There's no heavy oak, no heavy acidity, just a pleasant and well-balanced white wine that goes well with so many different foods.
2011 Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner
$16, 12% abv.
Crisp and refreshing with a light ripe apricot aroma and just a touch of lime peel. It's an easy drinking wine that would be an outstanding introduction for a first time Grüner Veltliner drinker, and it will pair well with a lot of light summer dishes like grilled chicken salads and cold pasta.
2010 Laurenz V. Charming Grüner Veltliner
$30, 13% abv.
This is a more serious wine with more earth, more minerality, and greater balance. Once again, I found myself craving seafood but also enjoyed sipping this one after dinner. While it's great cold, this one maintains its elegance even as it warms up, something that I always take as a sign of a great white wine.
I made enchiladas verdes with pork shoulder that I smoked over cherry wood. What does Austria have to do with Mexico? How about the 1864-1867 reign of Austrian Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. He overthrew (and was later overthrown by) President Benito Juárez, who happens to be the second most well-known Benito in history after that bastard Mussolini. Some day I'll overtake them both...
The wines worked well with the enchiladas and it was fun to maintain a "green" theme with the meal. On a second helping I added a bit of ghost pepper sauce and discovered that Grüner Veltliner can hold up to some pretty serious heat, something to consider for future pairings with Thai and Vietnamese food.
Note: These wines were received as samples.