Black Vel­vet

THE BRIGHT ACID­ITY AND SPICY KICK OF THE GRAPE WORKS WELL WITH MOST FOOD, BUT MORE SO WITH ASIAN CUI­SINE

India Today - - LEISURE - The au­thor is a wine lover and works with the Chedi, Mus­cat

In Vino Ver­i­tas. In wine there is truth. And mu­sic too, es­pe­cially if you are talk­ing about the Grüner Velt­liner. How can you not love Grüner Velt­liner? This grape va­ri­ety is the liq­uid com­ple­ment to Aus­trian clas­si­cal mu­sic. Just like gen­res in mu­sic vary so do va­ri­etals with this grape: from light, like Jo­hann Strauss II ( The Blue Danube), to the more com­pact and ver­sa­tile mu­sic of Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart. Wine has been an in­te­gral part of Aus­tria's cul­ture for more than two thou­sand years. Even to­day, you will fine Ro­man cel­lars, me­dieval vil­lages and Baroque monas­ter­ies throughout the Aus­trian wine re­gions.

In Aus­tria, wine­mak­ing is a gen­er­a­tional oc­cu­pa­tion with mainly smallscale fam­ily winer­ies; it has long been white grapes planted. This wine can sate the plea­sures of vary­ing palates: from light- bod­ied, fruity, easy drink­ing wines to full- bod­ied, com­plex, and age- wor­thy wines. Grüner Velt­liner is a rea­son­ably aro­matic grape va­ri­ety and clas­sic aro­mas in­clude stone fruit, cit­rus, grass, len­tils, fresh green beans, spice and white pep­per ( called Pf­ef­ferl in the Aus­trian di­alect).

At the din­ing ta­ble Grüner Velt­liner is en­gag­ingly flex­i­ble, but never over­whelms with pow­er­ful aro­mas. In my opin­ion, the as­pects to think about are the bright acid­ity and slightly spicy kick of the grape, which works with most food va­ri­eties, but more specif­i­cally it pairs very well with spicy Asian dishes.

The lighter fruity styles are per­fect for sim­ple sip­ping or to pair with the com­mon for grand­par­ents, par­ents and chil­dren to work to­gether un­der the same roof. This se­cures the easy and con­ve­nient trans­fer of skill and pas­sion from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.

The ex­cit­ing range of Aus­trian wines is en­hanced by the dif­fer­ent types of soil, such as the rocky Danube ter­races, the mas­sive lay­ers of loess in Wein­vier­tel, and the vol­canic soil found in the Kamp­tal. While Grüner Velt­liner is cul­ti­vated all over Aus­tria, its heart is in lower Aus­tria ( Niederoster­re­ich), and es­pe­cially in the sub- re­gions of the Wachau, Wein­vier­tel, Kamp­tal and Krem­stal, where vine­yards planted on top sites en­able Grüner Velt­liner to be its best.

Grüner Velt­liner is Aus­tria’s most im­por­tant white grape va­ri­ety, ac­count­ing for around one third of all more com­plex flavours and tex­tures of Asian cui­sine. The more clas­sic and fuller- bod­ied, min­eral- driven styles hold their own at the ta­ble with var­i­ous fish, pork and poul­try dishes. Here, the sig­na­ture bright acid­ity helps cut through any fat and the spici­ness pro­vides a de­light­ful con­trast as well as a fine com­pli­ment to a wide range of dishes.

Let’s hope that Grüner Velt­liner will be the next New Zealand Sauvi­gnon Blanc. This could make it a real global grape and it could, and in my opin­ion should, achieve as much fame as Sauvi­gnon Blanc.

Grüner Velt­liner—“The grape which will make you smile” Prost!

CHRISTO­PHER

GIRSCH

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