Are you acquainted with Grüner Veltliner? This mineral-rich Austrian white is still somewhat under the radar in America, but I'd like to change that, sofort. Grüners tend to share many qualities with Riesling, another popular Austrian grape, and are exceptionally food-friendly thanks to pronounced acidity and a peppery finish. So to say that I eagerly awaited uncorking (or rather, twisting the top off of) the 2010 Domäne Wachau Federspiel Terrassen Gruner Veltliner ($16) is an understatement.
A few notes on the rather unwieldy name: Domäne Wachau is located in Wachau, a wine-growing region whose steep and rocky terraced land is ideal for the cultivation of Grüner Veltliner grapes. Federspiel denotes the must weight, or sugar percentage of the grapes upon harvest, and indicates a wine with low to moderate alcohol (11 to 12.5 percent) and a dry to off-dry finish. Lastly, Terrassen simply indicates that the grapes were grown on terraced land, which generally produces wines with subtle minerality, thanks to the rocky soil.
Luckily, the anticipation was well-warranted. I loved this Gruner's perfume of crisp Fall fruit and grass, as well as its minerality; the slight effervescence made the wine remarkably sippable. I wasn't the only taster coming back for seconds: one taster even proclaimed the vintage to be her "favorite thing ever." The verdict? A resounding win with great value.