While in New York on a trip sponsored by Snooth I took some time to stroll through High Line Park. I can’t recall a more surprising, inspiring, or thoughtful way to spend a leisurely hour before sitting down to taste wine. It’s possibly the coolest city park I’ve visited. You’re lifted up off the ground to not only better enjoy the views, but also to soak in the artistic touches and design of the park. The High Line is ultimate in rails to trails transformation.
I started to think about what wines would be most evocative of this experience, and I got my answer at a seminar (one of many put together by Snooth for myself and a group of fellow bloggers) on Gruner Veltliner conducted by the personable and knowledgeable Aldo Sohm. Not only is he the Chief Sommelier at Le Bernadin and a winner of the Best Sommelier in the World award, but he’s also a winemaker. Naturally, Austrian-born Aldo is making Gruner. And, based on his dynamic presentation, he clearly has a passion for wine, for educating, and for life.
The wines ranged from pleasurable to contemplative, much like the gamut of emotion and feeling captured on the High Line that brisk, sunny day. Like a walk through the park, Gruner is a wine that can be fun and refreshing or serious and brooding.
Two of my favorites sampled fit nicely into those bookends. Consulting my prodigious tasting notes, I came across a Gruner I decreed “smokin’ good for $16“, the 2011 Stadlmann. For the intellectually curious seeking something for the cellar, check out the 2010 Schloss Gobelsburg Tradition ($50). And, since flattery will get you everywhere, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the austere, lime-y 2011 Sohm & Kracher ($38). Finally, if you’re looking for an atypical Gruner with a lot of licorice along with extra punch and richness, check out the 2011 Veyder Malberg Kreutles ($30).
Did I say “finally”? I lied. Because I must make special mention of the 2011 Prager Stockkultur ($90). Prager has a special place in my heart, as I was introduced to them back in 2004 while working at Randolph Wine Cellars in Chicago. I had the opportunity to taste (drink) vintages of both Gruner Veltliner and Riesling with a few years of age on them and they took my breath away. I recall one evening in particular at a restaurant in Chicago where, during a multi-course meal of great diversity, technique, and flavor, a Prager Gruner somehow managed to match each dish.
Meet me on the High Line? Don’t forget the Gruner.
Check out other posts from this Snooth tasting by fellow attendees:
Gruner Veltliner: A Delicious Puzzle (Vine Sleuth)
Gruner Love Featuring The Stadlmann Gruner Veltliner 2011 (The Reverse Wine Snob)
Snooth PVA: Wines of Austria (Benito’s Wine Reviews)
So You Think You Know Grüner (Vindulge)
Snooth PVA: Wines of Austria Master Class (My Vine Spot)
My 2013 Vinous Revelation: Grüner Veltliner (The V.I.P. Table)
Lingering Flavors, Lingering Questions: Tasting Grüner Veltliner with Aldo Sohm (Meg Houston Maker for Palate Press)