A Romantic Character

Cantina Valle Isarco (Kellerei Eisacktal)
Grüner Veltliner 2021
Alto Adlige Valle Isarco DOC
Chiusa, Italy
Co-op with 135 members
Enologist: Hannes Munter; Agronomist: Alexander Damiani

Yellow golden green starlight. Breathing in delightful peaches, pears, green apples, a breeze of grapefruit, bell peppers, honeydew, winter melon, and a few blades of fresh cut grass. It’s a bit of a steamy night here so it’s a welcome refreshing sip of peach, pear, apple, again that grapefruit drop & melon along with cool cucumbers. This glass is just begging for a dozen  oysters.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: brings out the crisp

Oh this wine co-op resides in such a perfect setting. Valle Isarco’s steep verdant vineyards is just so naturally breathtaking and beneficial. As they say, “In these winegrowing areas, the northernmost in Italy, where glaciers meet the gentle rolling hills of the Mediterranean, vines have been grown for centuries producing wines of great character. Thanks to variety in soils, cultivation areas and sunlight exposures, as well as to the particular microclimate, each vineyard develops a personality and special character of its own.” There’s another “character” I have to point out…the town of Chiusa (Klausen). Its tiny streets are wedged between colorfully painted medieval looking buildings that are varying to the point of a pastel rainbow and make me feel like I’ve dropped into a period piece flick. It’s a vision of sheer romance; and I can only imagine how much that is heightened with their Christmas Market where you’ll walk by candlelight & strands of holiday lights, sip mulled wine, and maybe even run into a night watchman.

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Devotion to Pure Tradition

Illahe Vineyards
Estate Grüner Veltliner 2019
Willamette Valley
Sustainable, hand harvested, mature plants are dry farmed, family owned, certified salmon safe, and horse-powered vineyards
Dallas, OR
Owners, growers and pioneers: Lowell and Pauline Ford; Winemaker, owner and president: Brad Ford

Shimmering light gold. Super inviting scents of honey, crisp apple, a smidge of light allspice (light but pie worthy), firm pears, slate, and a whiff of cedar. Flavors like a pear apple pie with a honey graham crackers crust, some gooseberries, a smidge of a fresh green garden shoot, and pinch of white pepper. It’s a light and dancing and just darn good.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: well, it just stays refreshing and delicious

This truly is a full on family affair that started with an immigration from Russia to Canada and then finally Oregon. They strive to make handcrafted wines with great respect to the land, the water (and salmon) and tradition. Some of the wines don’t even have any electricity used during their creation. The majestic Percheron horses, Doc and Bea (now in retirement), deliver the grapes from the vineyard and mow between the vines. In the case of their 1899 Pinot Noir project, there’s even more. Brad had visited France and wanted to embrace the traditional ways, so he got the horses, made the harvest and winemaking all by hand and foot, including the bottling process. Yes even putting the wine in the casks and bottling, by sorting out a bicycle powered pump. Please watch the video. Then when it comes time for it to go to the distributor, it gets loaded on a mule driven stagecoach, then into canoes on the Independence River (3 day trek) and then the last 11 miles are on bicycle. That’s romantic devotion to pure tradition.

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It’s All in The Family

Weingut Steininger
Grüner Veltliner
Ried Loisium
Kamptal Reserve DAC 2018
Langenlois, Kamptal, Austria
100% Grüner Veltliner
Sustainable farming and vegan
Winemakers: Karl Steininger and his son-in-law Peter

Deep rich gold color. A fresh breath of Golden Delicious apples, pears, apple blossoms, grass, granite, and a dreamy and elevated feeling. First sip and it is like truly biting into a fresh Golden Delicious apple just picked from the tree (sweet and some tart/fresh), then poached pears, honey, granite, dried sage, white pepper. All this in the party and a dry ending. Why do I want a thin crispy slice of fried bacon? It’s an elixir of love.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: more sweet. Less dry, but still addictive

I’m going to admit, I’ve had some pretty crappy Grüner Veltliner’s by the glass in restaurants in the past. I was nervous but happily surprised. This one is awesome. From what I’m reading it’s partially indebted to where Weingut Steininger is located in Langenlois in the Kamptal region where it sounds like the area revolves around wine in all aspects of its culture. This is another tale of wine passing down through the family where Karl and Brigitta inherited the vines/farm from his parents. Realizing if they were going to do this right, Karl went to oenology school and they both decided to focus on local grapes of the highest quality (that also played well with the land and climate) if they were going to make it. Didn’t hurt that Brigitta grew up in a wine family too. They have passed their knowledge on to their daughters and each has chosen their own path. Eva and her husband Peter are already hands on in the winery. Lisa studied tourism but came back to the winery, married João Fonseca and they birthed Steininger Kraftvoll which is a port style wine, and I really want to try it if I can find it. Lastly their daughter Anna didn’t stray from wine or Kamptal either, but she and her husband Martin Arndorfer forged on and opened their own winery. I guess it truly is all in the family.

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