Yesterday I went to Jones Beach with some of my most loved friends, and did the right thing. I brought a bottle of chilled white wine. Now, what makes a wine compatible with the beach? It needs snappy acidity, for one; all that brine in the air will overwhelm a wine lacking bite of its own. Defined fruit aromas and flavors are also critical. I am not looking for a supremely well-integrated wine, not with all those ocean scents in the air: salt tang, smoke, motor oil, suntan lotion, hot human – complex wine is wasted in such context. Better to have something eminently drinkable, something you can share with friends and enjoy without breaking a sweat – not over the wine, at least.
Many wines fit this bill just fine: Albariño, Ugni Blanc, “bare” Chardonnays that have seen no oak, Vinho Verde… but only one has really held my attention this summer of 2011: Grüner Veltliner. The star grape of Austria, Grüner Veltliner produces wines that have a really interesting full texture paired with bright acidity, citrus or pear-driven fruit, and notes of spice. Quenching, ubiquitous, and cheap: the recipe for a good hot weather beverage. Perfect for the sun and sand.
This bottling, the 2009 Franz Etz Grüner, reflects the growing season that year; 2009 was warmer in Austria, resulting in fuller-bodied wines with more round fruit notes. A nice pale green-yellow in the glass, good clarity, with aromas of lemon zest, dandelion, white pepper, and petrichor – the scent of rain on stone. An exceptional mineral component, which carries through the lush yet focused mid-palate, showing more citrus fruit. Crazy texture, like buttered linen. Bright acidity is well-balanced, and every component just shouts “Drink me! DRINK ME!” Finishes nicely, too. Friends, this is a 1L bottle you can get for $13. Act now.