Get your Gruner Veltliner on

– By Jim Boyce

When it comes to great grape names, Grüner Veltliner ranks up there. It sounds like the name of an ice hockey* player or an airship or a pair of fashion sunglasses. Or a belt of asteroids circling the sun. Frankly, it tastes better than all of these things put together.

Tastings of Grüner Veltliner are as rare as a week of Beijing “blue sky” days, but Cafe Europa in Beijing will have one on January 24, from 7:30 to 8:30 PM. RMB 150 fee gets you a taste of four Austrian wines (two red, two white) and canapes (RSVP: 5869-5663 /

Here’s what one site has to to say about Grüner Veltliner wines:

Austria’s serious winemakers have discovered that, with lower yields and higher ripeness, Grüner Veltliner can produce stunningly intense and concentrated wines. Even the simple wines, from overcropped vines and underripe fruit, can have very pleasant citrus and grapefruit aromas, with a hint of the variety’s most distinguishing characteristic: the spicy fragrance of freshly ground white pepper.

For more details, see the full article.

By the way, I will soon re-start listing information about upcoming tastings, so keep the info flowing. Details are preferable in text format, so as to reduce the risk of my mistyping information from a pdf.

* I use “ice hockey” not because I hail from a non-hockey playing nation, but due to my sensitivity toward those who live or grew up in lands where “blue line”, “five-minute major” and “holy moly, what a goalie!” were not everyday language.

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