I’ve always loved the big liter bottles from Austria, and today I will have two strangers to most American wine drinkers … a white (Gruener Veltliner) and a red (Zweigelt). Both wines come from the Berger estate in the northeastern Kremstal region of Austria. The grapes are farmed according to organic principle and the family uses natural winemaking techniques in the cellar. When I am ordering wine at a restaurant and I can’t find anything that I know I often ask if they have any Austrian wine, knowing they are generally family-estate wines made from native grapes. Austria is not favored by the agro-business and factory wine-producers because of the country’s climate, land and labor costs.
Gruener Veltliner is a white grape native to Austria that produces bright, refreshing and satisfying wine. Because Berger’s Gruener is aged in stainless steel rather than oak there is no ‘oaky’ flavors to get in the way of the clarity of the natural flavor of the grape.
Zweigelt is a soft red that is low in tannins and slightly spicy yet light on the palate and perfect when you want a light red. Zweigelt is great for the warmer weather ahead as it is light and ideally served slightly chilled (58F).
With both of these wines at only 12,5% alcohol you are certain to want a second glass and when family and friends descend on the bottle wanting a second I am always relieved it is a big bottle so there is plenty to go around.
I hope you will stop by Parker and Otis between 4 and 6 this evening and take a stranger home for dinner. Both wines are $14.99 for a 1L bottle or grab one of each for $24.99.