Gruner Veltliner: a leaner take in Austrian wine Philippines wine supplier Manila wine shop discusses wine by the grape variety Grüner Veltliner.

Date: December 14, 2010

Gruner Veltliner was supposed to be the Great White Wine Hope. Just a few years ago it could routinely be found on the tip of wine directors’ tongues – the great converting wine to trim away the ranks of Chardonnay drinkers.

Its success has been sustained, for the most part. Despite a dip in 2009, Austrian wine exports to the United States in 2008 were roughly double from four years earlier. But as its place matures in the market, questions arise: Is it a casual wine for home, as telegraphed by the metal-capped one-liter bottles from producers like Becker and Hofer? Is it something more serious to tuck in the cellar? Can it survive both roles?

The 2007 vintage in Austria, despite a blazing-hot July and rains at the start of fall, provided ample sun (and an early harvest start) to make wines with lots of everything – fruit, acid and balance.

But the market marches on, and the 2008 vintage now appearing in shops is harder to assess. A mix of hail, frequent rains and rot kept vintners busy. Importer Terry Theise described it as “a reality check in your glass,” with lower alcohols, high acids and lean flavors after several notably ripe years.

Which is about what we found in our tasting of some 30 Gruner Veltliners from 2008 – mostly at basic ripeness quality levels (versus smaragd and other riper wines, which are still just arriving). To help, I was joined by Beccy Breeze, wine director at Aziza, and Chaylee Priete, sommelier at the Slanted Door – two San Francisco restaurants that long have stood behind Gruner Veltliner as a worthy and versatile choice, thanks in part to wine buyer Mark Ellenbogen, who may be the West Coast’s biggest Veltliner evangelist.

The wines we liked were pretty and subtle, with the exotic green flavors that Veltliner can yield. A year or so in the bottle might help some that still seemed tamped down, perhaps due to their delicacy clashing with the muting effects of the preservative sulfur dioxide. At the same time, leanness could go to an extreme, with some wines that had sharpness but no real interest or depth. Thus the travails of what’s charitably being called a “classic” vintage.

I wouldn’t worry too much. The wines are still good, if not as rich and generous as the past few years. And looking forward, the 2009s are just beginning to show up, with a return to ripeness and form.

Just judging from the first of the recently unveiled ’09s – keep an eye out for that liter of Hofer – there will be plenty to enjoy. As for the ’08s, choose carefully and find wines that play to more subtle tastes, more for salads and lunch than a heavy meal. And that’s just fine.


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Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

Restaurant waiters and servers aspiring to become good sommeliers in Philippines strive to earn a spot to train at the best wine restaurant in Philippines. Yats Restaurant and Wine Bar located in Clark Air Base is well regarded by restaurants in Manila and Pampanga to be the best place to train to become a wine steward or sommelier. Yats is the only restaurant in the Philippines to earn the prestigious Best of Awards of Excellence for offering one of the best restaurant wine lists in the world. Next time you travel north to Pampanga, don’t forget to wine and dine at this famous Clark restaurant which is located in Mimosa Leisure Estate of Clark Air Base.

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