H & M Hofer Grüner Veltliner 2018
Winegrower: H & M Hofer
Region: Weinviertel, Austria
Grape: Grüner Veltliner
A big bottle at a great price! Organically farmed Grüner Veltliner in a generous 1-liter bottle? Clean and crisp with nice grip, from one of the region’s top producers and for under $30? Hofer’s Gruner Veltliner 2018 has it all and is a great introduction to this variety. Super-fresh with enticing minerality, a laser like focus and persistent finish – this is hardly the entry-level wine it purports to be. And because it comes in a 1-liter bottle rather than the traditional 750 ml it has 30% more wine and is an imposing presence on the table where it pairs well with most foods. Easy, light and dry and utterly fresh and delicious, this is a wine that should be bought by the case and enjoyed all summer long.
The Hofer family has been growing award-winning wines since 1980. Maria and Hermann Hofer, who now manage the estate, are two of the pioneers of organic viticulture in Austria. The family farms 20 hectares of vineyards in Auersthal, a small village just north of Vienna’s northern suburbs in the Weinviertel winegrowing region. The deep loess soils are planted predominantly with Grüner Veltliner but also include Zweigelt and Riesling. The Hofers also grow organic grains such as rye, barley and alfalfa.
Hermann Hofer is dedicated to wines that reflect their soils, the climate and the vintage. He believes that great wines can only come from nature and that herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers separate the vines from their soil and fellow creatures. Hermann believes that these chemicals create a fake environment that produce fake wines that taste like they could have come from anywhere.
Hermann’s focus is Grüner Veltliner and this grape represents most of his vineyards. All work is meticulously done by hand. The vineyards have been organic since 1990 and are certified by the Austrian firm Bio-Ernte whose standards exceed those of the EU. The vineyards lie in a rain-shadow and have to endure hot summers with little rain. The grapes are pressed conventionally (no whole-cluster) with skin contact, fermented with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks then lightly filtered and bottled with just a small amount of sulphur. This wine is clear, fruity, fresh and well structured with excellent minerality. It’s a great food wine that does not cost a fortune and represents excellent value especially considering it comes in a 1-liter bottle. Short of Sunday roasts and large juicy steaks you can pair this wine with practically anything.
Grüner Veltliner is Austria's signature white grape and its most widely planted, occupying one third of the country's vineyards. The name translates to “Green Wine of Veltlin”. Veltlin was an area in the lower Alps during the 1600’s that is now part of Valtellina, Italy. Although the exact origins of the grape are unknown, records of its existence date back to Roman times. The variety is indigenous to Austria and is grown throughout the country but is predominantly known from the Wachau, Kamptal, Kremstal, Wagram and Weinviertel regions. Grüner Veltliner is extremely reflective of its terroir and takes on the soil and climate characteristics of each region dramatically; an example is – wines from the Kamptal and Weinvertel regions are recognized as a more mineral than those from the Wachau which are fruitier and more acidic.
H & M Hofer Grüner Veltliner 2018 is clear straw in colour. Fresh and delicious aromas of white flowers, pear, apple and spice leap from the glass. White peach and green apple flavors up front, then lovely notes of sage and rosemary commingle with that signature GV wet/stony minerality plus a touch of pepper. Dry, crisp and delicious and lively on the tongue, it delights with surprising depth and palate persistence.
While this Grüner pairs well with classic Austrian dishes like wiener schnitzel, its newfound glory is with Asian spices, anything from Vietnamese to Thai to spicy Chinese flavours. It’s also one of the few wines that pairs well with challenging vegetables such as artichokes and grilled asparagus. Other great pairings include creamy and fresh cheeses like Camembert and Ricotta, veal, poultry, pork, paté, terrines and eggs. For seafood try anchovies, cod, shrimp, trout, smoked salmon, clams and mussels, steamed crab, fresh oysters and sashimi. And don’t forget bitter greens and salads. This is a stellar, well-made, carefree wine with a serious, terroir driven side to it. It’s rare to find such a high-quality wine at this price. Serve at 7˚ in a standard white wine stem and enjoy.