The white wine called Gruner Veltliner most often is associated with Austria, where the grape of that name flourishes and dominates more vineyards than any other single wine grape. The resulting Austrian wines are quite often superb and have recently emerged from relative obscurity in the United States to become a darling of sommeliers.
Now, New Zealand's Marlborough wine district, best known for its world-beating sauvignon blancs, is getting into the act, at least in a small way. The 2011 Jules Taylor Gruner Veltliner, which we picked up for about $15 at a big-box store, is the first we've seen on local shelves. It is a thoroughly agreeable wine, especially well matched with fish and shellfish, but as yet poses no threat to the more celebrated Austrian GVs.
This newcomer leads off with light apple and lighter pear on the nose. On the tongue, however, the apple is so big it almost crunches. There's a bit of honey in the mix and a smidge of white pepper on the nice clean finish. Overall, this GV has a softer mouthfeel than its Austrian elders and lacks their very distinct pepper. Still, the fruit is bright and crisp, making it well worth a try the next time you throw a shrimp on the barbie.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.