Niel Joubert Gruner Veltliner 2021

HANSCORE: 15.5/25 

🍇 Gruner Veltliner is a Austria’s most widely planted grape variety. It contributes to almost half of all white wine produced in the country. But given that Austria couldn’t be more different from the Cape winelands, it’s fair to ask, Qui s’en soucie, ma petite fouine?
💰 Well, from a commercial perspective, Gru-V (as in “groovy”. Get it? *chuckle chuckle*) has had some rather impressive little streaks as a trendy grape amongst uppety somms and tatted wine hipsters in the cosmopolitan East Coast cities of the United states, which immediately makes any winemaker ask the question, “…but could I grow it *here*, and then sell it there?”
👅 Secondly – and certainly of more interest to us – it has rather a fascinating flavour profile. When made with quality in mind, it can be remarkably textured and weighty. In cooler climates, it offer notes of lime, lemons and grapefruit, but as it gets riper (or grown in warmer regions), it can also display lovely stone fruit and ripe citrus.
BUT, the reason for its intrigue is not that “it tastes kinda like a chewy savvy bee” but rather that it exhibits fascinating herbacious elements, which include distinctive celery, white pepper, and green bean notes.
To which you might, say, “No thanks, Jeeves; if I wanted salad, I’d have ordered it…” but when it’s done right – with a trifecta of a chewy texture, herbaceous savoury elements, and some fresh, clean fruit – the end result is supremely satisfying.
👹 HOWEVER, for every Jeckyll, there is also a Hyde. Only, with Gruner, the characters are the other way around. The one you really want to end up with is intense, somewhat wild, complex, and even a little scary. Whereas, when Gru-V is at its worst, it’s mild-mannered, vaguely pleasant, and utterly forgettable.
If your jam is “light ‘n easy savvy bee”, then this Niel Joubert bottling provides a relatively risk-free chance to try something new. But it should, under no circumstances, be used as reference point for the potential of Gruner Veltiner in South Africa.

👃🏼  Vanguard presents moderate winter melon notes, touches of tropical fruit, floral honeysuckle, and very faint, herbaceaous elements.  

👄  The palate is decidedly white collar; admirably crisp, but rather a little non-descript, with an air of “nine-to-five” about it. Admittedly there are some pleasant pithy textural notes, like the white part of a honeydew melon, chopped up with white peach and green pear…but it is all a little too reticent. The modest tail holds mildly refreshing lemon zest elements with a faint hint of white pepper…wait, I’ve forgotten what we were talking about?

🔬 Wine of Origin Paarl. All fruit was tank-fermented using Anchor’s VIN7 yeast. It’s a strain of yeast that is known to boost volatile thiols.  These thiols often lend to tropical fruit aromas like passionfruit and pineapple in aromatic whites. The downside of using such a distinctive yeast strain is that it begins to obscure the varietal characteristics that might set this wine apart from other South African white wines.

💸💸 ZAR70.00 (as of October 2021)

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