A recent trip to Wellington resulted in a promise to release a very special tranche of our very first vintage of Gruner Veltliner – from 2010. I had on two occasions served this wine, blind, to Matt (about 10 months apart) who to my pleasure had both times been adamant the wine was from Europe! The variety was also a tricky one to pin down… looking at times Chardonnay/Chablis-like, Riesling-like, Chenin Blanc-like and finally Gruner Veltliner-like. It is a hallmark of Gruner that it can be quite a chameleon of a variety … but was quite apparent was that this wine was evolving beautifully. It got us both very excited to see that first-crop Marlborough Gruner could yield such complex and interesting results.
It was recounting this story to Hippopotamus restaurant sommelier, Florent Souche, in the bar of this funky, eclectic eatery that he decided he wanted all of what we had left. Florent, a native Frenchman, loves Gruner Veltliner, but also, like most good sommeliers, revels in showing his guests things that are a little different, away from the mainstream.
After confirming when we got home that only just over three dozen cases were left sitting in cleanskin in the cellar, I painstakingly hand-wrote the label and sent the cases away to Wellington in the few days before we left for Europe for vintage.
All three cases are now with Florent in the nation’s capital. We have just a few left-over in our cellar for our own consumption, perhaps to be enjoyed at various times over the course of the next few years…. and probably served blind!
Meanwhile, Master of Wine Bob Campbell managed to get his hands on a bottle of the 2010 – we thought he would find it interesting to have a glimpse into our suspicions that Gruner Veltliner is a prime candidate for long-ageing. Some of the best Austrian examples after-all are often compared to white Burgundy in terms of their ageing capabilities. Here’s what he thought of the wine:
Blank Canvas ‘Museum Release’ Gruner Veltliner 2010
“Only 38 bottles made and only available at the Hippopotamus Hotel in Wellington. Delicious wine with great palate weight and strong varietal character. Surprisingly fresh for its age – should develop further. Hard to describe what is a complex medley of flavours including toast, tree fruits, subtle citrus, grapefruit and a suggestion of green tea.” Bob Campbell MW, Real Reviews
We look forward to the future of Gruner Veltliner in Marlborough, and will continue to champion its greatness!