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Schloss Gobelsburg Tradition Gruner Veltliner 2008
Schloss Gobelsburg maintains a large number of parcels in Erste Lagen, or 1st Growth, vineyards in the Kamptal, including the mineral-rich, crystalline slopes of the Gaisberg and Heiligenstein planted to Riesling, and the deep loess soils of Renner, Grub, and Lamm planted to Grüner Veltliner. The winery continues to utilize organic winegrowing and has benefited from the fact that the monks of Zwettl Monastery began these practices as early as 1958.
While many international cellars are attempting to produce clean, uniform wines, Moosbrugger is convinced that the future Gobelsburg lies in individuality and character. As a high level of technology is necessary to warrant uniformity, Moosbrugger believes that individuality can only be achieved through the reduction of machines. Moosbrugger developed the ‘Dynamic Cellar Concept’ for Gobelsburg in which wines are no longer pumped from one location to the other, but transported in ‘barrels on wheels’ from one section of the cellar to the other.
A hallmark of the estate are the ‘Tradition’ bottlings of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. Having read the meticulous notations of the Cistercians at the estate over the past 150 years, Michi pays homage in his role as cellar master, responsible for the ‘education’ of his ‘pupils’ –wine- while leading them through elevage; as opposed to acting as ‘winemaker,’ whose decisions in present day Austria are generally to preserve aromatics and fruit through extremely reductive methods.
Climbing north and slightly east of the Kremstal region, Kamptal has very little vineyard area bordering the Danube River (unlike Wachau and Kremstal, whose vineyards run along it). The region takes its name from the river called Kamp, which traverses it north and south. Kamptal’s densely planted vineyards represent eight percent of Austria’s total.
The area experiences wide diurnal temperature variations like the Wachau but with less rain and more frost. Its vast geologic diversity makes it suitable for various experimentations with other varieties besides Grüner Veltliner and Riesling such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc (Weisser Burgunder), Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, St. Laurent and Zweigelt.
But the region is probably most noted for the beautiful and expansive terraced Heiligenstein, arguably one of the world’s top Riesling sites, as well as some of Austria’s most extraordinary Grüner Veltliner vineyards. Kamptal’s soils, which are mostly loess and sand with some gravel and rocks, make it suitable for Grüner Veltliner, so much so that actually half of the zone is planted to that grape.
Difficult to pronounce yet delightfully easy to drink, Grüner Veltliner is indigenous to Austria, where it has long maintained its status as the nation’s most important white grape. It became trendy among America’s wine elite in the mid-twenty first century, and has since proven itself to be more than just a fad, becoming a mainstay on the shelves of wine shops and the pages of restaurant wine lists for those who enjoy a crisp and refreshing yet serious white wine. Grüner Veltliner performs well in cool climates, and is gaining ground in chillier pockets of California and New York’s Finger Lakes.
In the Glass
Crisp and refreshing with plenty of lively acidity, Grüner Veltliner is marked by telltale notes of white pepper and a slight vegetal quality reminiscent of green beans, as well as a streak of minerality. When less ripe, it leans toward the lemon/lime end of the fruit spectrum, while additional hangtime at harvest can lend notes of pink grapefruit and even stone fruit. A hint of spritz on the palate is not unusual.
Grüner Veltliner is a wonderfully versatile wine—it can pair with just about any lighter fare, from seafood to poultry to complex salads. It even works with spicy foods, and can be a classic pairing with Asian dishes.
When it comes to foods that are notoriously difficult to pair, Grüner Veltliner has been known to step in and save the day. The sulfur compounds naturally present in asparagus can imbue a wine with a highly unpleasant metallic taste, while artichokes’ cynarin compound typically cause the taste of a wine to turn unpalatably sweet. Grüner Veltliner not only manages to avoid these issues, but actually serves to complement these foods with its sharp, pungent, vegetal flavors.