A Wednesday morning in October 2013 in »Le Bernadin« in New York: The crème de la crème of the international wine scene met in this absolute top restaurant in the metropolis for a special tasting: »Austrian Monuments: Four Decades of Great Grüner Veltliner« was the motto a vertical tasting of 31 Grüner Veltliners with a top-class panel consisting of Jancis Robinson MW (Financial Times), David Schildknecht (The Wine Advocate), Aldo Sohm (»Le Bernardin«) and Terry Theise (Michael Skurnik Wines), moderated by Willi Klinger , Managing Director of the AWMB. The 31 wines were selected by Falstaff editor-in-chief Peter Moser.
Versatile Grüner Veltliner
After two classic wines as an introduction, three flights were presented, each with three large reserve Veltliners from the vintages 1971 to 1999. With their complexity, freshness and clarity, these showed the high aging potential of the Grüner Veltliner. The second group consisted of twelve wines, each with one representative from the vintages from 2011 to 2000. It was very clear that the Grüner Veltliner wines can be excellent in both warm and cooler vintages, with warm vintages benefiting particularly from longer aging in the bottle.
Between the flights there was space for lively panel discussions, which were supplemented by numerous questions and comments from the audience. Terry Theise, the pioneer among US importers of Grüner Veltliner wines, pointed out that great Grüner Veltliners are not only among the great white wines in the world, but are also unrivaled in price: »Monumental Grüner Veltliner is the greatest value in the fine wine world.«
Sommelier World Champion 2008 Aldo Sohm particularly emphasized the versatility of the Grüner Veltliner in everyday restaurant life: “There are only very few grape varieties that can be used so exceptionally well in combination with the most diverse cuisines.” David Schildknecht demonstrated in-depth specialist knowledge of the wines, both what their type of production as well as their terroir. Both Terry Theise and Jancis Robinson MW had gotten to know Austria’s wines better through Riesling, but were subsequently also very impressed by the complexity and power of Grüner Veltliner. Jancis Robinson MW recalled the legendary “London Tasting of 2002” and underlined that Grüner Veltliner is already regarded as a “noble grape variety” in Great Britain. Grüner Veltliner is not a fad, but a fixed star in the firmament of internationally recognized grape varieties.
Distinguished guests: Jancis Robinson MW, Willi Klinger, Hugh Johnson
A first class audience
The guest list, headed by the world’s most widely read wine author, Hugh Johnson, reads like a Who’s Who of the international wine press. The invitation was accepted by Eric Asimov (The New York Times), Tyler Colman (Dr. Vino), Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW (International Wine Center), Alice Feiring (The Feiring Line), Howard Goldberg (The New York Times), Josh Greene (Wine & Spirits Magazine), Megan Krigbaum (Food & Wine Magazine), Elin McCoy (Bloomberg News), Dave McIntyre (Washington Post), Stephen Tanzer (International Wine Cellar), Lettie Teague (The Wall Street Journal), as well as Christy Canterbury MW, Michael Madrigale (Bar Boulud), Véronique Rivest (Sommelier Vice World Champion), Dustin Wilson (Eleven Madison Park) and numerous other experts from the wine industry.
Exquisites Service und imposantes Food & Wine Pairing
The Le Bernardin team gave an impressive demonstration of what service should look like. At the end, head chef Eric Ripert, together with head sommelier and Falstaff columnist Aldo Sohm, served three creations from the repertoire of what is recognized as the best fish restaurant in the USA, perfectly matched to the wines.
Willi Klinger: »Rarely has Eric Ripert prepared the six Grüner Veltliners from the 2010, 2009 and 2007 vintages that were served with it. I see that as a huge compliment to Austrian wine.«