This Grüner Veltliner is the estate-bottled wine reflection of the Austrian landscape in which this property's phenomenal heritage has been grown.
It is a true example of community and gives you a wonderful sense of time and place. Made from grapes grown in and around the region of the Kamptal, Michael, the winemaker, is keen to involve the neighbouring winegrowers and therefore gets fruit from upper slopes - for freshness - and lower slopes - for richness. Everyone involved in making these Domæne wines is happy - and so are we!
The balanced wine is fresh and fruit-forward; this is a wine that requires little effort and captures the zippy liveliness that Grüner Veltliner brings to the grape-party. Yet the freshness doesn't make it too simple - there are ripe yellow and green fruit flavours and the palate is quite substantial. There are even subtle kitchen spices on the palate as well - this solely from the fruit and the terroir in which it is grown.
With a great balance it makes for exceptionally versatile food matching - think of what they eat in Vienna... from Pork to potatoes, casseroles to warm salads, this really is a wine that allows for the presence of the essence of its own context. Great stuff!
The property itself, Schloß Gobelsburg, dates to 1171.
That's a very long time ago.
It was the year that Ascall mac Ragnaill, the last great Norse-Celtic King of Ireland was captured, trying to defeat Strongbow to become King of Leinster. It's the year that Henry the Second formally annexed Ireland... oh dear. Meanwhile in Austria, Cistercian monks settled in the lower valley of the Wachau region near to the Danube and established a community-based outreach programme to educate and promote better farming practices. The building was a quadrangle that framed an inner courtyard, housed the monks and the winery machinery - and it's still there today.
Not only that, but it is the home of Michael Moosbrugger, the winemaker. He lives there, all alone in the Schloß, making wine and, after his lunch everyday, plays the piano for an hour. He's a really pleasant chap and when I first met him, had just finished learning the Schubert a-minor Sonata, number 16. Which I certainly can't play, even if I practiced for an hour a day after lunch. He's that sort of a renaissance man. And he makes wines that are widely regarded as some of the finest in Austria...
Well, he minds the old monastery's vines with the attention to detail that he minds Schubert, or probably better. And because he maintains the good that the monastery practiced, their ethos of inclusivity at a local level has been upheld too and nowhere is this better seen than in this wine, that is made from grapes grown around the estate (domain - domæne), not just from within it. This local wine is a first foray into the world of Gobelsburg and is generous as it is an act of generosity.
The other sites he has are simply some of the best sites in the country. He doesn't own any of them outright and shares the names of Renner, Lamm and Grub and so on with other top, top winemakers. It's just that he has patience and experience to make the best of what he grows.
The lease from the monks was for sixty years - there's plenty of time...
Grüner Veltliner is a brilliant grape variety that seems to be the perfect food matching wine. Textural and semi-aromatic, it often has flavours that are on the culinary spectrum, such as tarragon, sage, oregano and, most typically, white pepper. There are very classic Grüner Veltliners that sometimes present complex aromas as though they have been macerated with a bouquet garni...
Grape(s): Grüner Veltliner
Style: Pure, Fruity, Fresh, Elegant
Best food matches: Shellfish, Seafood, Poultry, Pork, Asparagus, Aperitif