Periodically, the Winestream Media will embrace gruner veltiner, an Austrian grape, as the next big thing. The Wine Curmudgeon always thought this was silly for two reasons: First, it has not been easy to find quality gruner (as it’s called); most of what I’ve tasted is a riesling knockoff and not as well done. Second, because there isn’t very much gruner, and you can’t have the next big thing unless there are tanker loads of it to sell. Otherwise, it’s just an odd grape.
This frustrates many gruner advocates, including my pal Doug Caskey, who can only shake his head at what he sees at my intransigence. Gruner, as Doug has noted more than once, can make great wine, and can even make great cheap wine.
So this one’s for you, Doug: The Pratsch ($10, purchased, 12.5%) is not only one of the best gruners I’ve tasted in a long time, but the first candidate for the 2015 $10 Hall of Fame. For one thing, it tastes like gruner — some apple and citrus fruit but not too much, a spiciness (white pepper?) and not a trace of sweetness, either in the fruit or the wine itself. This is a crisp wine (but not as zingy as a sauvignon blanc) that will pair with almost any kind of food — I drank it with pork jambalaya, and it worked well with the dish’s spiciness.
It probably won’t make the Hall — I am the Wine Curmudgeon, after all — but it will be nice to be able to say I considered it.