Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Washington Gruner Veltliner vs. Austria

The Tour of the Alps is the new name for the Giro Trentino.  The race starts in Austria and heads due South with the majority of the stages taking place in Italy.  The overall winner of this year's edition was Geraint Thomas, a strong rider with a big motor that usually rides in support of Chris Froome at Team Sky.

The first stage of the race started in Innsbruck and finished in Hungerburg.  Michele Scarponi took the opening stage showing that he was working into good form to be Astana's team captain for the Giro d'Italia.  Sadly, Scarponi was hit, and killed, by a car when heading out for a training ride this past Friday (April 21).

Michele Scarponi was a friend to nearly every cyclist in the pro peloton.  Several riders dedicated their victories to him over the weekend.  Following their lead, this Lucha Vino matchup honors Michele Scarponi with a matchup of Gruner Veltliners, one of Austria's primary wines grapes.

2015 Syncline Gruner Veltliner vs. 2014 Winzer Krems Kellermeister Privat Gruner Veltliner

Tale of the Tape

2015 Syncline Gruner Veltliner

100% Gruner Veltliner

38% Underwood Mountain
38% Bloxom
24% Celilo

These grapes are grown in cool climate areas of Washington State, the Columbia Gorge and Terrace Heights.

Provided as a sample by the winery.  Available at retail for $19.

2014 Winzer Krems Kellermeister Privat Gruner Veltliner

100% Gruner Veltliner from the Kremstal DAC

Purchased for $19 at Total Wines.

Round 1.  First opening

The Syncline Gruner Veltliner sprints into the ring showing serious confidence.  The nose shows straw, white flowers, light pear and green apple mixed with mineral notes and subtle oiliness.  The palate is balancing sweetness and acidity with notes of tropical fruit, white flowers, green apple and lime zest with solid acidity.

The Winzer Krems Luchador from Austria shows no fear.  This Gruner is a bruiser!  The nose shows more minerality along with pungent oily meadow flowers.  The palate features honeydew melon, mineral tinged green apple and lime zest with a mean streak of acidity.

The Austrian challenger takes round one.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

Syncline is warming up and getting ready to avenge that first round loss.  The nose is showing notes of pear, white flowers, straw and green apple.  The palate is dominated by green apple and lime zest, supported by some subtler sweet notes of pear and melon, finished off with some zingy acidity that lingers on finish.

Winzer Kremer is standing steady with a nose that continues to show pungent oily meadow flowers and green apple.  The palate is dominated by green apple and lime zest, with some subtle melon and mineral notes backed with the same mean streak of acidity.

This round was close.  The judges gave the points to Syncline, tying the match at one point a piece.

Round 3.  One day after opening

This is it.  The winner of Round 3 takes the match and the title of Gruner Greatness!

Syncline goes for a power move and surprises the Winzer Kremer with a figure four leg lock after distracting the Austrian challenge with a smooth nose of light white flowers, straw, dried meadow flowers, pear and melon.  The palate follows up with pear, green apple, lime zest and a wicked kick of acidity that is followed by a touch of nuttiness.

Thrown off guard, the Winzer Kremer fights back with a nose that shows more pronounced pungent oily character and green apples.  The palate features more melon, mineraly green apple and lime followed by acidity that is still going strong.

Syncline wins the match by taking the final round after catching the Austrian Luchador by complete surprise.

Wrap up and overall observations

This was a close match of two solid Gruner Veltliner Luchadors.  If you enjoy dry Riesling you should definitely check out these two Gruners and explore more of this grape that is an Austrian favorite.

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