Grü V Olympics: Exploring Austrian Grüner Veltliner

By Kori ~ April 13th, 2010.

Recently, we participated in an event focused on Austrian Grüner Veltliner. We, along with a group of fellow wine bloggers, were sent four Austrian Grüner Veltliners as part of the Grü V Olympics. A fun play on the recent winter Olympics, we were asked to taste the wines head-to-head and score them based on certain characteristics.

Grüner Veltliner, a white wine grape variety, is indigenous to Austria and is not planted extensively elsewhere. More than one-third of the vineyard acres in Austria are planted to Grüner Veltliner. It is known as a very food-friendly wine.

To be true to our Wine Peeps way, we threw these four wines into one of our blind samples tastings. We scored them using our regular rating system as well as completed the Grü V Olympics score sheet. The organizer of the event tallied up all of the score sheets in order to pronounce the consensus medal winners.

If you take the time to look at the consensus rankings, you will note that our rankings (included below) are almost the exact opposite. Interesting. I think that there are possibly several factors at play here. First of all, we may just have different palates than the other judges. But probably the most telling reason for the difference is the circumstances in which we each tasted the wines. Now, before I go any further, let me say that I have not surveyed the other judges; however, after reading the blog posts of a couple of them, I think that we are one of the only, if not the only, judges who tasted blind. There are many schools of thought regarding whether wine critics should taste blind or not. When possible, we truly believe in the merits of blind tasting.

In the case of these Grü V Olympics, I believe that blind tasting really eliminated the potential bias of label and price for us. Our gold medal winner, the 2008 Fred Loimer Lois Grüner Veltliner, is the least expensive of the four and has the cheapest looking label. But, when we tasted it blind along with the other three, it clearly stood out as the best of the bunch.

Our opinion of the Lois was only validated a couple of weeks later. After our blind samples tasting, I stuck the partial bottle in the back of the fridge and forgot about it until a couple of weeks later when we were enjoying a mid-week chicken dinner at home. Lamenting the fact that I had forgotten to put a white wine in the fridge to chill, I found the two-week old Lois. Most often such discoveries result in the wine being poured down the drain because it has gone bad. However, I am happy to report that while it was certainly not as fresh as when it was first opened, we found the Lois to still be crisp, refreshing, and a great accompaniment to our dinner.

Gold Medal:
2008 Fred Loimer Lois Grüner Veltliner (Kamptal, Austria): Pale, straw yellow in color. Citrus aromas on the nose; citrus, tropical fruit, and grapefruit flavors on the palate. Light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14.99; Available elsewhere, $11 to $18

Silver Medal:
2008 Pfaffl Austrian Pepper “The Dot” Grüner Veltliner (Niederosterreich, Austria): Greenish yellow and very aromatic. Aromas of honey and apple lead to flavors of lemon, lime, and grass. Light-bodied and tart with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $15.99; Available elsewhere, $15.50

Bronze Medal:
2008 Wieninger Vienna Hills Grüner Veltliner (Vienna Hills, Austria): Pale, straw yellow. Floral and almond aromas on the nose; roses and pears on the palate. Light to medium-bodied and crisp with a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $17.99

Honorable Mention:
2007 Weingut Stadt Krems Grüner Veltliner (Kremstal, Austria): Yellow with green tinges. A very tight nose with faint aromas of flowers and grass. Citrus and hints of tropical fruit on the palate. Light-bodied and lively with a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $16.99; Available elsewhere, $15 to $24

Filed under: Austrian Wine, Gruner Veltliner, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Constance C | April 13th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I love the idea of doing it blind 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed it and glad to know the Lois will keep for extended periods of time! Can’t say I tried that one out myself!

  2. Kori | April 13th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks again for organizing this. It was fun to explore these wines. Cheers!

  3. Luso | April 14th, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Yea. Blind does seem fairer

  4. Sonadora | April 14th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    hey Kori-

    I haven’t posted on it yet, but I also bagged them and tasted blind! I thought it would be the best way to do this kind of a competition…whenever I’m comparing wines to each other I tend to bag them up to eliminate any potential bias.

  5. Kori | April 19th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Glad to hear you tasted them blind too. I completely agree that it’s the best way to eliminate any bias when tasting wines. Cheers!

  6. David A | April 21st, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Hey Gruner Fans,

    I’m Dave and I work with the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. Thought everyone might enjoy a free case of Gruner Veltliner! In preparation for
    upcoming tastings in NY and San Francisco we are having a slogan contest
    aiding us in building awareness of Austrian Wines. Tweet us your original
    Slogan @AustrianWine, and the best one wins the case!
    Check out what we have so far so you understand what we are going for
    Thanks, I look forward to seeing what you got!—win-free-wine