Summer Refreshment: 2013 Hofer Grüner Veltliner

Saturday, June 20, 2015 5:43 PM

Happy Friday!! Can you believe spring is almost over??!! Yep, looking at the weather map of the US, it seems most of the country is heating up. Here in SF, we’ve got our cool microclimate, but should one venture north, south, or east for an hour or so, look out! One of summer’s challenges is to stay cool and refreshed. We’ve all got our methods for keeping cool, whether it’s spending time at the beach, pool, cinema, or refrigerated section of the local grocery store. Refreshed? Rule #1 – stay hydrated, drink lots of water. Rule #2? Something cool and crisp in your wine glass. May we offer a suggestion? Full liter bottle. Unpretentious bottle cap enclosure. 12.5% alcohol. Certified organic. Crisp. Dry. Tank fermented. 15 bucks.How about the 2013 H & M Hofer Grüner Veltliner?

If one is going to name the most refreshing white winesof the world, Grüner Veltliner is going to be on the short list; its unpretentious, entry-level liter bottles hover near the top of the best values column. It is Austria’s most widely planted grape, and has a global fan base. It’s sleek, herbaceous, mineral driven, bright, and crisp. It’s a great wine to pair with summer salads and crudo dishes, and it is an ideal refresher whilst cooling off on a summer’s evening. That 12.5% abv helps a bunch too; sure, have a second glass! With all of our French and Italian direct-imports, we don’t spend a whole lot of time writing about Grüner-Veltliner, but take our word for it, we all love the stuff! Funny, it was at around this time last year when we sent out a pre-summer blurb about Veltliner. Go back a few more years, and we sent out another pre-summer Gru-V offer! So there you go, no coincidence; when the weather heats up, we love our Veltliner!
The 2013 H & M Hofer certified organic Grüner Veltliner is a Terry Theise selection imported by Michael Skurnik wines out of New York. If you’ve never read any of Terry Theise’s writing about Austrian wines, and you appreciate well crafted wine writing with substance and whimsy, give him a spin. Terry never disappoints. Here’s what he had to say about the liter bottlings of Hofer’s 2013 Veltliner,“This wine took off like a rocket, and we needed to contain it. That’s correct; we needed to write less business, because it was the only way to sustain quality and to ensure the wine would continue being organic.”
So giddy-up, next stop: summer. Let’s all get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. Hosting an impromptu gathering? Let us suggest the perfect summer aperitif wine: 2013 H & M Hofer certified organic Grüner Veltliner!

2012 Berger Gruner Veltliner

Saturday, May 31, 2014 5:53 PM

With summer rapidly approaching, it’s always a good idea to have ways to keep cool … and happy. In the wine department, easy drinking, low alcohol, crisp whites and rosés do the trick for both. But there’s a lot of wine out there, eh?  So what to choose? No need to overthink this, sometimes the answer is right there staring you in the face. Look over here, it’s a full liter size bottle with a traditional bottle cap firmly affixed to it. It’s 12.5% alcohol, it’s dry, it’s crisp, it’s the 2012 Berger Grüner Veltliner!


When I first started here at TWH, I remember being quite overwhelmed by the myriad of selections to be found among our bins. I knew a little about Bordeaux, but there were so many question marks in view that I was unable to even formulate a strategy as how to get the knowledge, so to speak. After saying “I don’t know, I haven’t tasted it” to customers several times over that first week, it hit me. I then changed my response to, “I don’t know, but I will tomorrow,” and would put aside the bottle in question, only to taste it with some of my wine-loving friends after work. That, combined with occasional staff tastings, got me up to speed. Well, technically, in the wine universe, you’re never “up to speed.” There are always new vintages, emerging regions, and less recognized grape varietals hitting the marketplace.  At the time, Grüner Veltliner was unknown territory for me. It was Memorial Day weekend that year, and forecasts were calling for warm weather, so among my weekend wines was a full liter bottle of Veltliner. There exists, among the core of my wine-drinking pals, a tendency to gravitate toward white wines that are less fruity and more on the sleek and zippy side. Needless to say, the Berger Grüner Veltliner was a smash hit!


Grüner Veltliner is the most planted grape variety in Austria. It is capable of delivering on several quality levels. At this fresh and easy level, the wines are known for having an herbal profile, often displaying aromatics of white pepper. They are a lean in the fruit department, but some show hints of stone fruit.  Buoyed by fresh acidity levels and coming in at 12.5%, it is a great refresher on a warm day or evening. Incredibly versatile in the pairing department, it suits a wide variety of cuisine including light fare such as herbal salads and hamachi crudo. It can also take on such mains as wiener schnitzel, roast chicken, oysters, and pork chops. The New York Times’ Eric Asimov had this to say about Berger’s Veltliner, “Fresh and expressive, with citrus, floral and mineral flavors that linger in the mouth. It practically invites you to have a second glass.”


So later that summer, my best friend was having a milestone birthday, and plans were made to rent a ridiculous place in the Napa Valley and have our own wine tasting as well as a couple of memorable dinners. Tasked with wine duty, I knew there would be plenty of time spent around the pool in the hot sun. A few liters of Berger Grüner Veltliner were perfect for the afternoons outdoors. The wine was not recognized by many partygoers at the time, but many of them now buy Veltliner every summer to remind them of the great time we all had.

Full steam ahead! It’s almost June; time for dads and grads and June brides. As the days continue to get longer and warmer, having some crisp, unpretentious white wine around is always a good idea. At 12.5% alcohol, the 2012 Berger Grüner Veltliner does indeed invite you to have another glass; and the price tag allows you to stock up as well. – Peter Zavialoff

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