Weinviertel

Weingut R & A Pfaffl, Grüner Veltliner Hundsleiten, 2011

One of the glories of being a wine amateur without an ounce of professionalism is the childish pleasure you can take in things that more knowledgeable folk take for granted. Recently for instance, I rediscovered decanting. Now, of course I do know what pouring a wine into a larger carafe for greater air exposure does in theory, but somehow, I had let the habit slip. After all, there isn't always time for these kitchen rituals. But the exceptionally rewarding Grüner Veltliner on review today showed me what I may have been missing, as decanting did it a world of good.

The first swigs of this very young wine straight out of the bottle were not promising: A heavy, awkward and withdrawn wine. After two hours in the wide-bottom decanter, out on the cool balcony, we found something very different indeed:

Graf Hardegg, Syrah Reserve vom Schloss, 2004

Here in the UK, most people would probably associate the Shiraz grape with Australia. Germans and Austrians, however, like to call it Syrah, and if they were into wine they might know that Austria produces a few nice ones too - and this Syrah is one of them.

The colour is a shiny ruby-red that almost borders on dark chocolate or very reduced balsamic vinegar. I am quite definitive about the latter as I served the wine with slow roast lamb, potato mash and balsamic glazed baby carrots. But back to Count Hardegg's Syrah. Both nose and mouth brought some nice ground pepper thunder to the table - and lots of dark berries, embedded in an almost chocolaty smooth structure and garnished with roast bread and some notes of vanilla and roast oak.

R & A Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner Brut

This was very convincing: Typical white pepper, pear and herbal Veltliner fruit both in the smell and the taste, gets more aromatic as it gets less bubbly, harmonic acidity, nicely creamy.

Julian Tuesday, 23/12/2008