E & M Berger Grüner Veltliner 2018
Winegrower: Eric Berger
Region: Kremstal, Austria
Grape: Grüner Veltliner
A classic, organic Grüner Veltliner from Kremstal in a 1-litre bottle for $25? With its amazing freshness and fruit and mineral flavours – a result of an excellent vintage – a second and third glass is simply inevitable. Tasting this wine takes me to the outdoor vineyard taverns that are so popular with the Viennese, with their simple, delicious fare and joie de vivre. This delicious, food friendly wine is the real deal. It just doesn’t get any better.
The Berger family has been growing award-winning wines since 1970. Eric Berger, who now manages the estate along with his wife Maria, has expanded it from its original five-hectares to 18-hectares. Their farm is located in the small village of Gedersdorf just west of Vienna in the eastern part of the Kremstal winegrowing region.
Erich Berger produces wines that focus on varietal character and terroir. His Grüners grow on the steep loess terraces that characterize the landscape of the eastern part of the Kremstal. These terraces store heat during the day and reflect it onto the vines at night, helping to ripen the grapes to perfection. In the winery, the character of the fruit is preserved by using neutral, cultured yeasts in combination with slow, temperature-controlled fermentations. The wines are then aged in stainless steel to produce fruity, fresh and bright flavours.
E & M Berger Grüner Veltliner 2018: With its large bottle format (not uncommon in lower-priced Austrian wines), you might be tempted to dismiss it as a utilitarian crowd pleaser. That would be a mistake. This is an un-oaked wine from organically farmed vineyards, grapes are handpicked and it is estate-bottled by a small, artisanal producer that is passionate about his wine. Fresh and inviting fruit and soft spice aromas jump from the glass; on the palate it is deliciously crisp and concentrated with flavours of white flowers, green apples, a touch of grapefruit, stony minerality and more than a hint of the white pepper that GV is known for. Excellent with most foods other than dark meats, this wine is also good on its own and “practically invites you to have a second glass” to quote Eric Asimov of the New York Times. That’s a great compliment considering its price. This is not a wine to cellar and see what the future holds – it’s basically all there, to be enjoyed right now. Simply serve in all-purpose stems at a cool 8˚ and, just like the zippy aromatics, let the good times roll.