It’s a hot, hot summer and white wine is on deck. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a jarring white to knock your salmon-colored wardrobe into the next millennium. Oh hello Grüner Veltliner.
The Grüve. Grüner Veltliner
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love Grüner Veltliner. It’s an Austrian treat that tastes heavier than it looks. The wine coats your wanting tastebuds in layers of punchy pepper and tartness. You’ll also likely find a bit of funk in good productions of it: a sign of solid, cold-climate grape that doesn’t give a shit about your ability to properly place an umlaut.
Grüner Veltliner is unexpected. Although grown in the “north”, it comes across like a refreshingly crisp lager pulled from the tap of a desert saloon. It’s dry and acidic with spice sprinkled over fleshy summer fruit.
I particularly dig Stift Göttweig’s legacy of Grüner Veltliner. And I do mean legacy. They’ve been making wine since the year 1083. In other words, tons of time to cultivate the land and the lovely grapes it produces northwest of Vienna. One of my local wine spots consistently carries Stift Göttweig and it’s a total steal at $18 a pop.
What I’m extra keen on with Stift Göttweig’s production of it is, again, that bonus of funk which you can both smell and taste. Similar to that flavor you get from spontaneously fermented beers using wild yeast, Stift Göttweig evokes a sense of drinking nature straight from its tap. It adds a really great complexity to an already unique varietal of grape.
At once dry, and straight down the line of fruit intensity, its slap of funky twang will throw you for a loop. Love. That. Funk.
I couldn’t think of a better partner to Grüner Veltliner than the band Graveyard. They’re equally surprising, peppery and funky – rounded out by the subtle sweetness of cold, seasonal fruit.
The 4-piece comes to us from Gothenburg, Sweden, a city many say birthed melodic death metal. Legendary artists like At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and Soilwork wave the flag of what’s known as the “Gothenburg sound”.
But that ain’t Graveyard’s flavor. They buck the expectation, instead producing some of the most amazing bluesy, revival hard rock you’ve ever heard. You’d think they hail from Laurel Canyon in the 60’s, not present day Scandinavia. Tracks like “Can’t Walk Out” and “It Ain’t Over Yet” make you want to boogie the fuck out, clad in all black with electric boots.
What a great marriage for the summer. Kindred spirits from the north delivering the sensual goods on a pleasant summer’s night.
I’d put Graveyard’s latest release, Peace, on the outdoor stereo – preferably breaking out the vinyl for that warmer, crunchier sound. Twist off a couple bottles of Stift Göttweig and bask in the evening glory.
It just goes to show you, geographical bias only creates an opportunity lost in both drink and sound. Thank you, northern compadres.