Wine of the Week: A lean, crisp and fragrant Austrian wine

The Dallas Morning News
By Rebecca Murphy
February 10, 2015

Domäne Wachau, Terrassen, Grüner Veltliner Federspiel 2013, $14.99-$15.49

Grüner veltliner is a star in the Austrian wine universe. One sip of this one and you’ll see why. It’s lean, crisp and fragrant with spicy, floral and white pepper aromas and graceful apple, peach and Meyer lemon fruit layered with dusty mineral notes. It’s a welcome aperitif and the perfect companion for foods with the assertive, spicy flavors found in Thai or Vietnamese dishes.

The vineyards of the Wachau region of Austria rise steeply along the Danube River. They are terraced, held in place by dry-stacked stone walls. It makes for glorious scenery, but it’s a difficult place to work with the vines, because everything must be done by hand.

Grüner is grown in other areas of Austria, but this is the place where it really shines, producing some of the country’s most distinguished wines. It’s taken so seriously here that the wine producers created quality parameters that go beyond the country’s formal appellation system. The three quality levels — steinfeder (usually not seen in the U.S), federspiel and smaragd — have requirements for grape ripeness and alcohol levels that affect the flavor, concentration and structure of the wine.

This federspiel from Domäne Wachau, one of the best cooperative wineries in the world, is a high-quality, great value introduction to Wachau grüners.

Find it at Goody Goody, Total Wine and Whole Foods Market.