Specialty Club – April 2008

2006 Weingut Emmerich Knoll, Loibner Grüner Veltliner, Vinothekfüllung Smaragd
If Le Montrachet is the vineyard that represents the apex of white Burgundy, then this wine, a careful selection of high altitude grapes from 4 small lots in the Wachau Valley, is the Montrachet of the Grüner Veltliner world. A strong statement, true, but the Knoll family has been making this wine since 1962 and they are still pouring bottles from the original vintage in their wonderful restaurant Loibnerhof in Unterloiben. This wine balances perfectly the peppery, pungent minerality of the grapes from the Kellerberg with the complexity of the Loibenberg vineyards, and it doesn’t hurt that 2006 is being widely acclaimed as the best vintage in Austria in recent memory. Opulent, rich, full-bodied, warm, and expressive: I recommend holding this one at least 5-8 years, and then drinking it with a lobster feast, although it will retain its youthful freshness for much, much longer. And the Baroque label? A painting from 1742 of St. Urban, patron saint of Austrian winemakers, that hangs over the bar in the Loibnerhof, where our webmaster Dave Egan and I spent a wonderful afternoon in the summer of 2003. The wine cost $65.75, is completely sold out, and, as far as I know, we were the only retailers in Seattle crazy enough to order it directly from the importer.

2002 La Gerla, Brunello di Montalcino
While the rains of 2002 did the winemakers of Tuscany no great favors, this wine is a good demonstration of the axiom that great winemakers make wonderful wine even in challenging vintages. Sergio Rossi has produced a rich, complex, and spicy Brunello, with lots of cherry and dark berry flavor – absolutely delicious and very limited. Here’s a chance to taste a traditionally styled Brunello, always a great match for red meat or venison, at a reasonable price: only $45. It was a big hit at our Collector’s Club tasting last month, and we still have a bit left after grabbing the last 3 cases available.