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Monthly Archives: August 2011

I crossed off a lot of To-Do’s this week, but it was truly exhausting. Friday nights after such weeks are really best spent doing nothing. When as tired as I was this Friday, I prefer dwelling on some singular, perfect sensation. I find that sparkling wine usually fits this bill. However, how many Cavas and how many Proseccos can one man handle? How many Fridays can be spent with the same bubbly? How… ok wait, how the hell is this even a realistic scenario I’m trying to use as a segue? Let’s face it, I don’t drink sparkling wine all that often. But if I was constantly bombarded with Cava, I’m sure it would grow dull. Somehow.

So, when I go looking for something new in bubbly, something completely different and fringe, but delicious, I turn to a country far from the top of my list for that sort of thing. I look to… Austria. Yes, the Republic of Austria. Formerly the Roman province known as Noricum. Home to towering Alps, boasting a population just over 8 million, adorned with the jewel city of Vienna, and the birth place of a shit ton of composers:  Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, Schubert, Bruckner, Johann Strauss Sr. and Jr., Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg. Oh, and Mozart.

Austria has two other things I care a great deal about: ridiculously rich cuisine and world-class white wines. To the inquisitive wine aficionado, Austria can provide a unique take on sparkling wine made from the country’s premiere white grape: Grüner Veltliner. Quick aside: Grüner Veltliner has the coolest texture of any white wine except possibly Roussanne: almost creamy, but also occasionally waxy in a good way. The wines have spice, great acidity, and wonderful pear and citrus fruit commanding close attention from the lucky taster. What happens when you produce bubbly from such a sassy green grape?

In this case, you get this bottling by Punkt Genau, a non-vintage (NV) sparkling Grüner Veltliner made in the Weinviertel region of Austria. It is not especially elegant, and it is definitely not complex or mind-blowing. What this wine does is make you grin like a fool. It has phenomenal fruit, rich and opulent. It just tastes like frothy hibiscus foam drizzled down the sides of a fresh-cut Granny Smith apple. Of course, there’s a bead and decent mousse when the wine is poured into a glass. Refreshing and bright, Punkt Genau finishes clean and pure, washing a whole week’s stress away with a sip. $16. Pair this with Saint Andre or another rich creamy cheese if you need to pair it with anything at all.

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Just watched Captain America, and the most prominent theme, besides ‘MERICA!, seemed to be “hooray for the little guy.” So this post is a celebration of one of the little wines, a wine with of small stature and little renown… a bottle with a secret and startling strength. Heroic, searingly-youthful-yet-sometimes-muscular wine. That’s right: a French wine. Sorry, ‘MERICA?

So let’s address the grape: Picpoul. Picpoul grows mostly in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, particularly in the Picpoul de Pinet appellation, and is a very straightforward grape, with fresh, clean fruit aromas. White wines made from Picpoul tend to be green-gold in color, medium-bodied, with lively citrus notes and a zest that makes them perfect for summer quaffing. They’re casual, approachable, and simple.

This particular Picpoul de Pinet, the 2010 Domaine de Guillemarine bottling, is right in line with what I’d expect of this white. Straw gold in the glass with a tinge of green, very pale and crystal clear. A nose just chock full of lemons, lime zest, and slight gooseberry notes. The citrus carries right through in the mouth, with snappy acidity and a quenching finish hinting at stony mineral. You won’t find a better wine for Friday movie nights, provided the genre is action, the theater is outdoors, and it’s August. All that flavor for a price even the little guy can tackle: $12.