When deciding on a wine to pop with roast chicken my thoughts immediately turn to white Burgundy. However, Editor Daniel suggested we try something different so I looked through the wine cupboard and found a bottle of Gruner Veltliner from a really spiffy producer – we expected serious interest value.
It has been a while since I have tried a decade old GruV. We are always told by their fans that Gruner is an ideal candidate for cellar time; my memory seems to be that I have preferred them at five or less years old rather than ten. I really hoped it would be as engaging a drink as the Roulot Meursault I wanted to pop.
Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Loibner Berg 2001, FX Pichler
This nose has real scale. It has an incredibly strong white pepper aroma and the kind of fruitless density you might associate with Savennieres or white Hermitage. I suppose this is a somewhat opaque description: as I am smelling it I feel the aromas are very strong, not least in terms of its alcohol-character, but I’m finding it rather hard to get any recognisable form of fruit. It is also lacking much in the way of vineyard character. If you like big things in your nasal cavities then this would satisfy, but those seeking complexity or finesse would find themselves feeling somewhat deflated. The palate is also massive, with perhaps an even stronger white pepper character than white pepper itself. The acidity is also quite impressive, yet I find myself wanting more fruit and definitely more minerality. The peppery character and alcohol warmth persist on the finish for quite a while, but what is this wine trying to be? It is big like buxom white Burgundy, but with none of the fruit. It has the acid levels of Riesling or Savennieres, but does not have the minerality. Perhaps if you wanted to make a lightly-coloured sauce with a strong pepper character you could find a use for this wine; as far as a drinking experience goes it is just confused. What is the point?
The roast chicken, by the way, was quite delicious and I look forward to roast chicken sandwiches with butter and salt. Salt is very important in roast chicken sandwiches.