Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gruner Veltliner Face-Off: 2012 Hahndorf Hill (Adelaide Hills) vs 2012 Lark Hill (Canberra District)

A lovely dinner at the Brown household last month proved a great opportunity to try some interesting wines both single and double blind. With the recent emergence of Gruner Veltliner, and having received samples from Hahndorf Hill and Lark Hill, we thought a good way to kick off the evening would be with a Gruner Face-Off. Below are our notes and thoughts

2012 Hahndorf Hill Gruner Veltliner - $28 (Tasted Single Blind)

Red: Quite a mute nose. On the palate there is some generous citrus fruit with hints of more tropical fruits. Some nice spice and interesting herbal notes as well. Good acidity balances the fruit nicely and it finishes with decent length. Good drinking over the next few summers, and fair value at $28. 90/91pts

Postscript: I got to drink this over subsequent days and it drank very well. Lovely aromas of apple emerged, as well as an interesting rocket lettuce note. Good wine. 91 pts

Brown: Subtle tropical, floral, pear and mixed spice nose, texturally fine boned or even dilute. Nice, crisp acidity. Spiced pear and a touch of lemon/citrus on the palate. Not an intense wine, more light and fragrant when tasted. Not much discernible white pepper, though some mixed spice. More in the citrus/pear spectrum than vegetal. 90pts

Postscript: Lean but not mean. Struck me as a little closed when opened, and happy to hear it evolved in subsequent days.

2012 Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner - $40 (Tasted Single Blind)

Red: Immediately reveals a nose of pears and some more tropical fruits. The palate follows this up with some nice richness, including notes of apricot. It’s a touch oily and has some nice spice. What’s missing though is the acidity to provide balance and restraint. Finishes with ok length, and is decent drinking, but a touch too broad for mine. 87/88 pts

Postscript: Was surprised to see it revealed as the Lark Hill as it bears little resemblance to previous impressive vintages. For those that talk about embracing all the vagaries of vintage variation this wine represents an opportunity to walk the walk.

Brown: A nose of ripe pear and lycee, preserved lemon with some florals, more spice and less pepper than previous vintages. Pear, lemon and a trace of lycee once again show up on the palate, the texture is nectar-like (I jotted down mango nectar as one of my initial textural references).  The acidity is fresh and clean, but not as prominent as previous vintages, and is rounded in step with the fruit.  The minerality is calcium-like. Finishes with some spice and a bit of oiliness. 88pts

Postscript: The wine held up well over 2 days, and developed a more nuanced nose. Still, texturally different to previous Lark Hill GV's. I personally preferred the Lark Hill Viognier from the same vintage (to be reviewed soon), though given the wet vintage, this is still a solid effort. It is promising to see our Austrian new arrival can handle tough Australian conditions..

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