Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects an AUSTRIAN WINE by Rudi Rabl as her bottle of the week …
Rabl Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal 2016
Even though it’s zesty and spring-like, Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t feature on my list of whites to shake away the winter blues. Enough is enough and we’ve had far too much of it sloshing around the Irish wine market for decades. But Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s star white grape variety, is right up at the top. It’s zesty and flavoursome with a bit more roundness and a shade less acidity than your average Sauvignon – making it just right for early spring. And this M&S version comes at a cracking price.
It has all the aromas and flavours you’d expect of a fruity, easy-going Grüner – pears, peaches, lemon, white pepper and hint of fresh herbs. Although the style is ripe rather than lean there’s nothing remotely flabby about it. The finish is bone-dry, leaving the palate refreshed and ready for more.
This perky number is made by Rudi Rabl whose family has been prominent in Austrian wine for several hundred years. The grapes are grown in Kamptal north-west of Vienna, one of the pre-eminent regions for Grüner Veltliner, and the approach to wine-making is straightforward. The grapes are left to macerate on their skins for a period before pressing, and the wine remains in contact with the yeast lees for three months after fermentation – all with the objective of generating more flavour in the simplest possible way.
Rabl Grüner makes a lively apéritif or partner for many first courses or light main courses. It’s a safe bet for fish or seafood prepared simply with no creamy sauce (sushi is a knockout partner). Salads tend to pick up on the green, herbal notes in the wine, as does asparagus; and you’ll also find it an excellent match for light Asian dishes with ginger and/or lemongrass.
From Marks & Spencer, €13.30.
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